I am heading to speak to about 60 pastors and counselors in my area on Thursday to teach them how to counsel individuals and couples in destructive marriages. I’m very excited that all these professionals are gathering together for 5 hours of teaching on this important topic. Pray for ears to hear and a great time of encouragement and instruction.
Then on Sunday I’m heading off to France and Germany for some vacation time and teaching in Germany. My niece and nephew are missionaries there and I will be teaching a few classes at Black Forest Academy on healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Since I will be away, I will be having a few guests blog for me over the next two to three weeks. I will check in as I’m able, responding to your comments.
This week I thought I’d do something different. I want you to watch a short five minute interview with Brène Brown, a leading researcher on topics of shame and vulnerability. She makes a powerful statement. She says, “The most compassionate and generous people I know, have the firmest boundaries.”
What do you make of that? We typically think of generous and compassionate people as selfless, having weak or no boundaries. Dr. Brown disagrees. She doesn’t use the word CORE strength (that’s my phrase) but she does talk about the last two components of CORE strength.
R – I will be responsible for myself – Dr. Brown defines this as a personal boundary stating. “What’s okay and what’s not okay for me.” Once you have defined this clearly to yourself and to others you can then be more …
E – Empathetic and compassionate towards other without enabling destructive behavior to continue.
What she says is that without clear and sometimes firm boundaries, you are generous but end up resentful because you give more than you wanted. You attract takers who use you and abuse you but you’re too “nice” to say that’s not okay. That approach simply wears you out and destroys your empathy and compassion often replacing it with cynicism and resentment.
Instead, she advises, to be generous with your compassion and empathy for others, with strong boundaries. That way you won’t get worn out or burned out or lose your loving heart.
What do you think? Do you think you can be more generous and more compassionate with others as long as you have strong boundaries? Share a time when you found that to be true.