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Crossed Boundaries and Empathy

“Boundaries are hard and when you want to be liked and you’re a people pleaser hellbent on being easy, fun, and flexible, it’s hard. Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to say no. They say yes when they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.” – Brene Brown

This quote comes from a story Brene Brown tells which perfectly illustrates our emotional reaction to boundaries being crossed and why empathy is important.

Listen to this episode (or read the transcript if you prefer) that explores compassion and resentment in our personal boundaries. It’s a longer one but well worth it!


Now it’s time to reflect on your own reaction to crossed boundaries. Here’s a reminder of the self righteous – people pleasing loop…

Think of a situation where you feel your boundaries haven’t been respected.

You might like to talk this through with someone you trust, or note down the reflections for yourself. Consider these questions:

  • What happened?
  • How did you feel?
  • How did you react?
  • What would you like to do differently next time this situation arises?

In the next section we’ll be looking at how empathy can help us learn from crossed boundaries and assert them.