How do we become as loving and kind as possible?
This is a question posed by U.S. researcher and PhD. Brené Brown. In her work, she interviews thousands of people to find out the important answers for how to have the most meaningful and fulfilling life we possible can. Her research has led her to some answers which are both fascinating and inspiring.
Sustained Kindness and Generosity Come From Setting Good Boundaries
Setting boundaries has a vacuous meaning. It is one thing to declare and another to implement. What is interesting about boundaries is that their need seems to appear out of nowhere, like a mirage. They arise as a function of situations we are in and how it is rebounding off our ideas, feelings and personal traumas. When a personal line is crossed we can feel it: discomfort, anger, sadness, aggitation and rebuttal. When a boundary is crossed we are triggered. While triggered we are in a state of reaction, and mostly likely an ego-storm. Regardless of exactly what happens after a boundary is crossed, we are definitely no longer able to give love or act kindly.
"Boundaries are not separation or division, they are respect "Here is what is good for me, and here is what isn't".
Brown's research shows that good boundaries enable us to provide sustained loving kindness and generosity, by staying within our comfort zone.
But what about personal growth?
Personal growth is a time when we leave our comfort zone and embark on learning new things about ourselves. It is a time to fall deeper in love with who we are. The reason it is uncomfrtable is because we live with 1) ideas about who we are 2) ideas about who we should be 3) programmed afinities or aversions to certain traits, in us and others. These human characteristics prevent us from accepting and loving ourselves fully in moments when we are perceiving ourselves to be incongruent with the aforementioned ideas and pre-programming.
Growth happens in the space between the boundaries. These spaces undefined areas (situations) where we haven't yet seen a need for a boundary. And luckily for us, those situations are always arising. We couldn't possibly set up enough boundaries to never be triggered because triggers are a function of new experiences. And new experiences are happening all the time. So growth is guaranteed.
The Benefits of Boundaries: Sustainable Generosity
Empathy is not feeling for someone, it is feeling with them. With proper boundaries it can be sustaining. - Brené Brown, PhD
Dr. Brown describes compassion as " a deeply held believe that we are inextricably bound together. and empathy as "the skill set to bring compassion alive. It is how we communicate the deep love we have for people so they know that they are not alone".
Setting boundaries is integral to being able to offer compassion and kindness to those around us in a consistent manner. Perhaps the most beautiful part of this practice is that since we are all "inextricably bound together", we are, in turn, offering that empathy to ourselves.
My Wish For All Of US This New Year
To explode into compassion with empathy for ourselves and those around us. Explore the concept of boundaries and let this video be an inspiration or stepping stone to something bigger. Lets start 2017 off "B.I.G" having boundries with integrity for sustainable generosity!
Thank you to Dr. Brené Brown for her ongoing researach.
Dr. Ariel Jones, ND
Dr. Ariel Jones ND