Boundaries are Sooooo Tricky …


In this very short but compelling  video clip, Brené Brown discusses the notion of living a B.I.G. Life.  Her research has revealed that the most compassionate people are the most “boundaried” people. She begs the question of what Boundaries we would need to erect in order to live in Integrity and be the most Generous in our assumptions of others (i.e. believing that everyone is doing the very best they can in each and every situation). Makes perfect sense … intellectually. And, I’d venture to say we’d inhabit a world filled with expressions of compassion/empathy/good will if it were easier to actually do this in our day to day existence!

But, boundaries are so darn tricky to execute.  It is so much easier to erect a boundary once you are PISSED OFF.  There is NO second-guessing about putting up a boundary once you’ve been hurt.  We may not even think twice at that point … and then … we erect it angrily and often self-righteously.  But the problem with putting up boundaries in ANGER is that the meatiest part of our message gets lost in the perception of ATTACK.  When you put up a boundary with someone because you are feeling violated … they feel your anger … and may not be able to hear your justification for erecting the boundary.

In fact, many people who have been chronically wounded in their prior lived experience struggle terribly in their attempt to set boundaries … because – they often approach the boundary WITHOUT the assumption that people are doing the best they can.  Their perceptions that people in the present and future will be out to get them just like the ones in their past shift the energy and intent behind the boundaries.  And when we are coming from that defended space, our boundaries are like fences erected out of barbed wire … rather than compassionate reminders of how we need and want to be treated.

And so, we must learn to set the boundaries before we could shoot daggers out of our eyes …to  set them proactively … not … reactively.  We must learn how to set them kindly and firmly.  And then … lovingly hold them in place for the benefit of all of those concerned.

And to do so, we might have to sit in the discomfort of guilt rather than the self-righteousness of resentment.  This is the trickiest part to navigate.  Many of us are more comfortable living with the resentment directed at others than inhabiting the guilt we might feel in our own hearts if/when we have our own backs …before we get mad at another. BIG lives do not just happen … they are consciously and courageously created.

May we all commit to living BIG … Karen



16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Miriam
    Jun 19, 2016 @ 04:31:52

    She’s such an inspiring speaker and there’s so much truth in what she says, as there are in your wise words as well. Thanks Karen. xo



  2. Susan
    Jun 19, 2016 @ 06:47:33

    Thank you, once again, for making me think.I appreciate your authentic voice. Living BIG resonated with me, because I do believe that, for the most part, I am generous is my assumptions of others. Except for that one person. Looking back, after reading your post, I can see the part I played as I erected the barbed wire fence. Perhaps one day, when I feel particularly strong and invincible, I will reach out and clarify perceptions and misperceptions. I am not even sure the boundary needs to be there any more. One day, but not today……



    • Karen Lanser
      Jun 19, 2016 @ 07:25:58

      Thank YOU Susan … I appreciate the deepening of the conversation with your thoughtful engagement here. I’m staring myself down earnestly as well … it’s a humbling but liberating process isn’t it? Thank you again for your sharing. ☺



  3. stefanietravers777
    Jun 19, 2016 @ 08:09:22

    Gosh…how very timely Karen! I just went through aprocess of boundaries in regards to a new vehicle process and grave sfaety concern that was over loked. I managed to set firm boudaries, be clear about what I needed and defended myself without anger in a situation that was potentially very volitile. After facing high authority and being ‘hear’ and responded to with dignity and the beginnings of a resolution, I walked away 9 feet high in knowing deep in my core true strength and self integrity without wounding another. I am indebted to you for being apart of this self integrity journey, and this post just makes me happy and wishing I could hug you….much love, Stef



    • Karen Lanser
      Jun 19, 2016 @ 08:18:19

      I’m so glad to hear that you were able to move through those moments in such an empowering way Stef!! Eeek … good on you for holding the line. It takes such courage to live BIG like that! And … I can feel your hug and I’m returning it with a big smile in my heart! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Makes me notice how much I enjoy connecting with you … 💖



  4. my one life. today
    Jun 20, 2016 @ 18:07:16

    “we must learn to set the boundaries before we could shoot daggers out of our eyes” – love that! 🙂 It’s so heart-lifting what and how Bréne Brown communicates. And it’s really hard to believe that she ever had trouble showing her vulnerability or setting boundaries compassionately…



    • Karen Lanser
      Jun 20, 2016 @ 18:11:49

      I know! She seems so comfortable in her own skin, doesn’t she. I also love her humor and chuckled when she declares that fishin’ has no “g” in it. I completely agree with you! She’s truly a remarkable role model. And, thanks so much for dropping by and deepening the conversation with your share! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


  5. Val Boyko
    Jun 25, 2016 @ 14:28:01

    What a great share. Thank you Karen.
    Glad I came over here.



  6. Juni Desireé
    Jul 20, 2016 @ 06:46:53

    Wow, so insightful. Love that last paragraph. That guilt is something I’m trying to navigate at the moment. And I love the truth of boundaries and compassion, just trying to see that in action in my own life.



    • Karen Lanser
      Jul 20, 2016 @ 09:22:15

      So glad you stopped by Juni! And yes … I, too, was so inspired to find the connection between boundaries and compassion. And yes … harder to put into action than it is to hold in our hearts. Thanks again for deepening the conversation by sharing your thoughts … Karen



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