Learning to Use Natural ConsequencesMar 13, 2023
Natural consequences are an essential aspect of the human experience, and a key part of healthy boundaries. They refer to the outcomes that naturally occur as a result of our actions or decisions. For example, if we decide to skip a meal, the natural consequence may be feeling hungry later on.
Consequences identify what something costs you. That cost could be an opportunity or it could be the respect or affection of someone we care about. Feeling pain as a consequence of our actions is often the impetus for needed change.
When we protect or guard others from the natural consequences of their own behavior, we have stopped them from being able to grow and mature. We have enabled their continued bad behavior.
In the context of boundaries, natural consequences can help us to ensure that others (and ourselves) maintain responsibility and accountability for our actions and choices. When we allow someone else to offload the consequences of their behavior to us, we have allowed them to cross our personal boundaries.
-Consequences identify what something costs you. We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.
-Guilt, shame, and feeling "bad" aren't real consequences.
-Relationships, feedback and boundaries allow us to see the real consequences of our behavior.