Decide to Make Decisions

In the United States, another Independence Day has recently passed.  Independence can be a difficult thing for those with disabilities.  My own disabilities are mainly physical; therefore, I need help with many activities of daily living.  In this respect, I will never be entirely independent.  But, it is important for me to be independent in all the ways that I can.  One way I can be independent is by making my own decisions and thereby guiding my own life.  Even though I need help with many tasks, my life should remain my own, and I should take ownership of it.  Every person with a disability is in different circumstances, but to the extent possible, all of us should make our own decisions.  Psychologists refer to this as self-determination.

Making your own decisions, large or small, can be hard. What if I make the wrong decision?  What if I don’t get the desired outcome?  What if someone challenges my decision?  What if I don’t know enough information to decide? What if my small decisions will ruin a bigger decision down the road? There are so many unknowns. There is nothing wrong with seeking guidance from trusted people, studying the pros and cons, and pondering.  But, don’t let yourself become paralyzed into relinquishing your power of self-determination.  I am an expert at feeling paralyzed, but as I choose to make small decisions daily, I feel better.  It can be as simple as choosing to write down my to-do list.  Writing it down helps me feel committed.  And when I feel committed, I usually stay motivated and follow through.

Here is an example.  I decided to start a personal blog a few years ago.  My topics ranged from living with a disability to my hobbies. When I chose to write about figure skating, which I love, I didn’t ask anyone for help in creating it or revising it.  I explained things carefully and provided timestamps in the post for all the things I was pointing out in the YouTube videos. If you’ve ever needed to provide an exact timestamp for fleeting moments in a YouTube video, you know what it takes. My point is, I decided to write about figure skating, and I explained it so a non-fan would understand what I meant, and I gave timestamps where needed.  It was a lot of work, but because I decided to do it and wanted to do it, I gladly took the time and effort necessary to accomplish the task. I discovered that my writing was a fulfilling form of self-expression.

Some decisions will feel scary to you and some won’t.  Start with making the non-scary ones.  The more decisions you make for yourself, the more in control you will feel.  Break harder decisions and projects into small ones that don’t feel as overwhelming.  Be realistic about your circumstances, but keep moving forward, one step at a time. 

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