One of my favourite influencers and leaders I admire is Brene Brown. Brene has researched for about empathy, shame and vulnerability. Surprisingly, she has found in her research that boundaries are one of the most impactful ways to love yourself and show empathy.
That seems a little contradictory given what we know and how we define compassion and empathy. Empathy is that special and unique skillset that allows compassion to come alive.
As nurses, we are here because we were described as compassionate at some point in our lives.
“Oh, you are so great with people.”
“You have the best bedside manner.”
“Your ability to communicate is calming.”
We are also one of the most common professions to feel we need more boundaries. We get resentful and bitter when we are taken advantage of, feel overwhelmed or overworked.
But isn’t that because we always want to give to others? We compassionately continue to please and not hurt anyone’s feelings?
Compassion is a deeply held belief we hold to lovingly and generously wade through events and circumstances with others.
Empathy is the skillset to bring compassion alive – the actual “how” to communicate the deep love so others know they are not alone. We don’t want to say no to anyone. How can boundaries fit into that?
Brene describes boundaries as the ultimate form of compassion. She goes on to say that the most compassionate people are the most boundaried. The reason for this is that we can be genuinely loving and generous when we also can clearly state and know what is ok and what is not ok. It avoids that self-loathe of ourselves and resentment to others because of misunderstandings and assumptions about boundaries.
You can’t sustain anything without boundaries.
Add to that, if we adopt an attitude and mindset that believes most people are doing the best they can, we inherently feel better too. It becomes a way of being when boundaries are injected into our practice.
If you have done your work with determination and compassion, you and your business can soar while establishing clear boundaries. Respect is a powerful thing that is necessary in any professional relationship.
According to Brene,
“Empathy minus boundaries is not empathy.
Compassion minus boundaries is not genuine.
Vulnerability minus boundaries is not vulnerability.”
In other words, boundaries are not a foul and uncomfortable principle.
Rather, they are:
Awareness of their importance and then Establishing them will nourish your soul and grow your business. Stay tuned for further blogs as to how you can do just that!