Updated: Jun 10
The basic Webster definition of consequences is “something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions."
Consequences are neutral. They simply happen.
They are a result of something. They are the product of something else.
Why does this matter? It matters because of feelings. When feelings happen, especially negative feelings, we go searching for a culprit. We trace the emotion back to the source. When we experience a consequence that we don’t like, we believe that whatever caused the consequence must also be negative. Someone had to have done something wrong. But that is simply not true.
We must allow people to do things that are best for them even when it leads to negative emotions for us.
I don’t like it when someone tells me no. The consequence is negative emotion. I feel disappointed. But that does not mean their no was wrong.”
I don’t like it when friends move away from me. The consequence is negative emotion. I feel sad. But that does not mean moving is wrong.
I don’t like it when my spouse wants space. The consequence is negative emotion. I feel rejected. But that does not mean her wanting space is wrong.
Here’s an exercise. Fill in the blanks using your own experiences.
I don’t like it when _____________________. The consequence is negative emotion. I feel _______________. But that does not mean ____________________ is wrong.