Every choice comes with a cost. And naturally we consider how a given decision might impact us personally. But we’re not the only stakeholders of our choices, and maturity requires us to consider the shared cost of our decisions as well.
To be fair, a decision to wear a yellow shirt instead of a red one might not matter much to us or anyone else in the long run. In many ways, it’s just a personal preference. And we don’t have to give much consideration to how others might feel about our personal choice of clothing.
But it’s a mistake to assume that all our decisions are just a matter of personal taste, and that others have no right to be concerned about the choices we make. Our lives are more interconnected than we often realize. And the choices that we make and how we live our life will have an unavoidable ripple effect on all our relationships.
Perhaps this is easiest to see in family life. When we’re single, we pay the brunt of the cost for our choices. But once we get married, our wife is now also impacted by our choices. And this is true even when she’s not aware of all the choices we’re making. The very nature of the marriage union means we both must share the cost to some degree. Likewise, the decisions we make as husband and wife will have an inevitable consequence for our children as well. Even our private sex life will shape the atmosphere in our homes.
And whatever it looks like, this collective cost doesn’t stop at the boundaries of our home. Extended family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and the like all bear some of the cost in how we decide to show up in life.
We are stakeholders in each other’s lives, which means we have a shared responsibility, not just an individual one. To be sure, this does not mean we should passively allow others to control our lives. But it is a reminder our choices don’t happen in isolation.
In the end, continue to count the personal cost of your decisions. And remember you’re not an island and must consider how your choices impact the lives of others as well.