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Can You Be A Kind Person With Firm Boundaries?

Sophie Benbow is a self-development coach, Mindfulness and Meditation teacher who holds various qualifications in Health & Fitness.

 
Executive Contributor Sophie Benbow

Can you truly be a kind, compassionate person while also setting firm boundaries in your life? The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, these two qualities go hand-in-hand on the path to living the life you desire.


An intimate capture of two people holding hands.

The myth of the pushover

Many people associate kindness with being a pushover, someone who lets others walk all over them. This creates a false dichotomy: kind or assertive, compassionate, or self-respecting. But here's the truth: setting boundaries is an act of self-compassion. It's about honouring your needs, values, and time. It allows you to show up authentically in your relationships, with more energy and enthusiasm for the people and things that truly matter.


The art of the kind "no"

Saying "no" doesn't have to be harsh or unkind. It's about clear, respectful communication. Here are some tips for delivering a kind "no":


  • Acknowledge the request: Show you hear them by saying something like, "Thank you for thinking of me."

  • Explain your boundaries: Briefly but clearly explain why you can't take on the request at this time. This could be due to time constraints, conflicting commitments, or simply not being the right fit for the task

  • Offer an alternative (optional): If appropriate, suggest another way you might be able to help or connect them with someone who can.

  • End with kindness: Thank them again for their understanding and reiterate your positive regard for them.


Setting boundaries with compassion

Boundaries aren't just about saying "no" to external requests. They also involve setting healthy limits with your own energy and emotions. Here are some ways to do this with compassion:


  • Identify your limits: What activities drain your energy? What situations trigger negativity? Once you know your limits, you can start to avoid or manage them.

  • Practice self-care: Prioritise activities that replenish your energy and nurture your well-being. This could be anything from exercise and relaxation to spending time with loved ones.

  • Learn to say "no" to yourself: Don't overload your schedule or take on commitments that conflict with your well-being. Saying "no" to yourself can be just as important as saying "no" to others.


The power of "because"

Sometimes, simply saying "no" isn't enough. Adding a brief explanation with a "because" statement can help people understand and respect your boundaries. For example, "I'd love to help with x, y, z, but because I have a work deadline this week, I won't be able to make it."


Kindness with boundaries is a gift

By setting boundaries with kindness, you create healthier relationships, reduce stress, and ultimately, have more to give to those you truly care about. Remember, kindness isn't about sacrificing yourself. It's about creating a life filled with authenticity, respect, and yes, love – for yourself and others.


Setting boundaries will be enhanced if you are embodying other mindful practices in your routine such as journaling, identifying your personal values, mirror work and meditation. Enjoy the journey.


 

Sophie Benbow, Self-Development Coach and Mindfulness Teacher

Sophie Benbow is a self-development coach, Mindfulness and Meditation teacher who holds various qualifications in Health & Fitness. She aims to guide you on a journey of self-love, healing and compassion. Head on over to her website to enquire about coaching, listen to her meditations and follow her social channels.

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