So many ideas...so little understanding.
I was working with a team staff and we were trying to figure out the service response to ideas like self determination, personalisation and individualised services. This team works for an organisation that is committed to striving to provide excellent services. They wanted to wrestle with the gap between some of the rhetoric that's around and the failure of most services to deliver on what they say they do. So, self determination came in for some discussion and we were trying to figure out what it means. We started with ourselves...what does it look like for us and then moved on to thinking about who or what supports us to be self- determining.
There was a long list...partners...family...colleagues...faith...experiences, good and bad...some money...work...to list but a few.
So we recognised that this self-determination thing actually hinged on relationship and experiences and was rarely a solitary act. Major decisions are frequently made in consultation with others. Advice is frequently sought and given and, depending on the relationship, it is sometimes given without being asked for.
It seems that we come to know ourselves best in relationship to others. We figure ourselves out in the conversations and the interactions and the falling outs and the making ups and the whispers and the shouting and the tough talk and the gentle whispers. They mould and shape us.
It seems too that knowing what we want for our lives and deciding the course we will take involves being out there and trying things out and letting things go and adventuring and sitting still and wondering and taking action.
It is hardly ever about being left to your own devices. Sinking or swimming. Waving or drowning.
There's a delicate and gentle balance in being who you are in your own way and remaining connected and influenced and watched over.
It can never be enough to say to someone in a potentially tricky position, 'That's your choice.'
Choice. Control. Self-Determination. Self Direction.
They often take a bit of practice. They often require just enough support.
They always need relationships and experience.