Have you ever had something that you wanted to do that you knew would cause stress or anxiety to someone close to you? What did you do? How did you make a decision in light of the other person’s anxiety?
I was listening to a podcast this week where a married couple was talking about life stuff and sharing some recent examples from their own marriage. One of the spouses was planning on getting a tattoo, while the other was really anxious and struggling with the decision, hoping their spouse would not go through with it. The struggling spouse realized that it was not their decision to make and acknowledged that they had no right to tell their spouse not to get the tattoo. The spouse getting the tattoo also agreed that it was their decision alone to make.
What struck me about the spouse getting the tattoo was how they didn’t seem have any concern for the anxiety or concerns of their partner. There didn’t appear to be any consideration given to struggle and stress their other-half was having, and the message that was indirectly communicated multiple times was, “you’re just going to have to deal with it.”
I’m not saying that we need to make all of our decisions based on what other people think. That would be ridiculous. However, when we know in advance that our decisions will have a negative impact on those closest to us; I think it warrants some extra thought on our end, and certainly some honest discussion with each other.
Those closest to us are close for a reason. They’re important to us. We like being around them. We love them.
When faced with a decision that could negatively impact a loved one, be sure to spend the necessary amount of time communicating, which is both talking AND listening, so you know exactly where they’re coming from. Based on the feedback you get, and the importance of what you’re considering, you’ll be able to make a decision that, although it may still cause the other person stress and anxiety, will communicate that you wanted and considered their point of view as part of your decision making process.