The conversations that happen in our 10-week sessions go beyond the expected. Such as how does compassion and boundaries come into the same conversation. First, the definitions of each are below.
Compassion is having a sensitivity to those struggling with challenges, painful situations and emotionally overwhelmed with life. When you have lived through challenges, painful, emotional situations, you can relate to where they are at and how pain hurts when struggling to get through it. Showing compassion is also empowering others to think through what they can do to change painful situations. Everyone has capabilities however limits of believing it is possible slip in. Facilitating sessions, I have witnessed the power of individuals who have faced their fears who found they were more capable then they thought to find a way through their struggles. What we do at the sessions is ask questions around what they are thinking such as thinking that if you are compassionate you are letting your guard down to have boundaries when necessary. The question asked; what makes you think that you can’t be compassionate and not have boundaries? Compassion is understanding how a person feels about their situation, knowing someone takes the time to listen and hear them, is what they want. It isn’t about fixing their pain, it is allowing them to release their pain and share what they are feeling. This gives relief to a person it can be said and have their emotions flow without judgement. Expressing what they feel and think instead of stuffing it can allow to free the mind to find ways to figure out what else they can do to help themselves. You have empowered someone with listening, understanding and a chance to get some clarity about what to do.
Now with boundaries. Boundaries is having limits of what you will tolerate or not tolerate “to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits”. You are compassionate being there for someone and the other is setting boundaries that tells others what your limits are. Use each accordingly in what situations appear. Showing you care about others when they are struggling will make a difference for someone. A person sees you caring about what is happening to them has them feeling comfortable they can safely share their struggles without judgement. At this point, it is not about boundaries. Your boundaries are there for you if anyone crosses your limits so you can activate them accordingly. Compassion and boundaries are part of you, people will appreciate and respect you for both.
To share with you, I was honored to be presented with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award ( now Sovereign Award) in 2015 which is having compassion for others who are struggling yet I have set boundaries when necessary to let others know what I will tolerate or not tolerate. Both are necessary. Great work is done through compassion and boundaries have guided others through chaotic times. You can have both to make a difference in this world.