Kind Mind
Compassionate Boundaries

Compassionate Boundaries

This week, I want to recognize an incredible human being and someone who has supported my journey in building empathy, compassion, and self-awareness. Stephen Andrew is a storyteller, trainer, therapist, author, and CEO of the Health Education and Training Institute. He maintains a compassion-focused private practice in Portland, Maine. He also has significant experience working with people suffering from addiction and mental illness.


This week, I wanted to share with you Stephen’s perspective on how to establish compassionate boundaries. 


Compassionate Boundaries 


Stephen and I agree that compassion and empathy are how we heal the world and connect with one another. These are skills we need to practice and nurture. Let’s hear Stephen’s perspective on how to establish compassionate boundaries. 


Compassionate Boundaries become much easier when you realize this.


Say your truth without shame or blame. Leaning in is uncomfortable and necessary for a “loving” relationship. 


You are not responsible for how other people react to the boundaries you set. 


Let go of the outcome.


Please do not expect anyone to love your boundaries.


Do not expect them to be grateful for you setting boundaries. You may have to practice more.


Don’t even expect them to respect or care for your boundaries. 


You will need to repeat the assertive, clear, compassionate statement.


Just set compassionate boundaries kindly, you need to keep yourself safe and healthy.


That is your work. That is your healing. And in doing so, you are empowering yourself. 


Set and gently keep the boundaries.


Their reaction is their responsibility. 


When you get “hooked”, mindful breathing is your next thought. 


Your response could be empathy for them and then a kind restatement of your needs and/or boundary.

If they get angry, that is a reflection of them and their historical residue, their relationship with boundaries.


It is not a reflection of you or your character.


You own your emotions. You can remind yourself, “I am 100% responsible for my actions.”


They own theirs. 


Gently stop the codependency of taking responsibility for other people’s thoughts & emotions.


Books Written by Stephen: 

  • Love In Action
  • Listening Deeply

Stephen is also the co-founder of Agape, Inc. which supports the Men’s Resource Center of Southern Maine whose mission is to support boys, men, and fathers and oppose violence and Dignity for People Using Opiates, a radical movement to change the conditions precipitating the opiate epidemic in our communities. MAKE A DONATION


This week, take one note from Stephen’s writing and let it guide you in setting some boundaries. Notice how you feel.


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