Brené Brown- Boundaries Are Ok!

As someone in the service profession, I find myself thinking about and talking about boundaries in relationships often.  Clients ask, “why are boundaries needed?” and “what would happen to my loved one if I stopped doing all the things I always have done?”  I have learned that, for myself, when I begin feeling resentful, I have allowed a boundary to be crossed.

Dr. Brené Brown, a well-respected author, researcher, and professor often speaks about the importance of boundaries. She states that one of the most surprising discoveries she has found in her over 13 years of research is that “the most compassionate people are also the most boundaried.”

Brown defines boundaries as “what’s okay and what is not okay.”  She believes boundaries are about respect for yourself, and the other person. Without boundaries, the healthy lines in a relationship will become blurred, and you may begin taking responsibility for what someone else should be responsible for.  Over time, these blurred lines can cause distress, affecting your ability to be compassionate. Brown states she was challenged to ask, “What if people are doing the best they can?”  This perspective allows her to assume the best about people.

Brown states nothing is sustainable without boundaries and believes you can be straightforward with what is acceptable to you, while still being loving and generous. In determining what boundaries to set, she asks the BIG question: “What boundaries need to be in place for me to maintain my integrity and make the most generous assumptions about you?”


Written by: Ann Sheerin