I don’t believe that in general we make decisions that will hurt us. We tend to make decisions in the belief that our choice will have a positive impact on our lives. What seems evident by the result of the Brexit referendum is that a substantial number of people believe that exiting the EU will benefit them. This may or may not be true but the fact is, they believe it to be true. If there is a lesson to be learned I think it is this; people need to to feel safe and valued. If we neglect these people and create an environment where they feel threatened or unimportant, they will, quite naturally, react. Will we learn this lesson now? Most likely not.
Perhaps a simple way of putting it is that if I were in a relationship where the other person didn’t care about me, neglected me and ignored my concerns, would I want to stay in that relationship? For me, that’s what this referendum came down to. Feelings.