The Power of Consequences
Consequences can teach us a lot. It never occurred to me until a few years ago that there are some people who don’t experience the results of their bad decisions. Life tells us that our decisions will generally have some kind of impact whether positive or negative. When I started to put down boundaries in my life, consequences were something I became more aware of. The negative reactions I received from my choice to protect my boundaries and avoid my creating my own consequences showed me how those who were trampling on my boundaries were using me to shield themselves from the consequences of their own choices.
Sometimes we try to help others avoid consequences when we bail them out by stepping in the way of cause and effect. When we do this we remove a powerful tool of learning and actually prevent them from growing in wisdom. People know when they’ve messed up. If we step in, time and time again we enable recurring negative cycles because the people we are “helping” don’t have to learn how to figure out a way to end destructive cycles.
Parents can sometimes interrupt this learning in their adult children. Whether out of love or guilt they keep running to the rescue only to reinforce dangerous lessons in life. For instance-bailing your loved one out of a financial situation they created causes you to experience the effect of the consequence instead of them. They don’t learn and you can become bitter and resentful.
Spouses and friends can be guilty of this. There will always be things we can cover for each other and ways to support, but I’m talking about giving space to allow needed consequences to correct destructive patterns. Do not be party to the demise of someone you love. We have to learn that our financial decisions matter, how we treat those around us have consequences and choosing wrong over right can have a negative outcome.
When a person makes a decision, they need to be prepared to deal with the outcome. Those who are not accustomed to this might use manipulation, guilt and bullying to force others to bail them out of the problem they created. They might have a “why me?” victim mentality when they should be honest about the part they played in their outcomes.
When you are growing in your boundaries you must stay aware of this. Someone else’s last minute poor planning is not your responsibility. Someone is not entitled to your money or time. You don’t need to stay awake all night to fix their problem. You can be a positive support to someone but if they are choosing not to listen or take advice and responsibility then you need to get out of the way of their impending consequences!
Have you ever interrupted consequences in a loved ones life? Have you ever tried to avoid consequences you knew you caused?