How to have empathy while maintaining the self; and why it is okay to say “no” to those you care for.

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As deeply feeling or empathetic people, we can often create a misconception in our minds that saying no, holding firm boundaries and acting in our best interest is hurtful to others. In reality, healthy and successful relationships can not exist without boundaries.

I’m here to help you create that new story. Empathy WITH boundaries. Empathy while maintaining the self.

 

As empathetic creatures, our empathy is there to give us information and attune us to others experiences. Being able to understand other’s experiences and emotions helps to facilitate relatability, depth and connection. 

However, some of us feel so deeply for others that somewhere along the way, the experience of over-identifying with and carrying their struggles becomes a familiar practice. Here- bending over backwards, being too accessible and over-working ourselves for others is often disguised as “being there for others.” We find ourselves unable to identify and practice where our healthy boundaries are.

Empathy without boundaries can manifest in the form of:

  • difficulty saying “no” to a parent
  • putting others needs before ours, personally and professionally 
  • inability to walk away from relationships that don’t serve us
  • enmeshment- where do my feelings begin and their feelings end?
  • rationalizing away our own desires and needs 
  • people pleasing
  • deceiving ourselves into thinking that abandoning our boundaries is the only way to maintain this relationship

Empathy without boundaries can show up in: 

  • Child-parent relationships
  • Relationships with narcissistic people
  • Romantic relationships
  • Friendships 
  • Professional relationships
  • Abusive relationships

A difficult part of these relationships is learning how to be okay with saying no. We are convinced that to say no could be damaging.

 

A difficult part of these relationships is learning how to be okay with saying no. We are convinced that to say no could be damaging.

For those that are resonating, I have good news.  This is a false and rigid narrative that gets created and reinforced over time for a multitude of reasons. And any time there is a false narrative- there is a different story floating around somewhere that could be more realistic and compassionate to ourselves. 

I’m here to help you create that new story. Empathy WITH boundaries.

Empathy practiced with boundaries includes identifying where our limits are, self-compassion and reframing what boundaries can mean for you (example: a boundary is not a wall, or pushing someone away). And it turns out, the kindest act you could possibly give yourself and your relationships is infact, boundaries. This is what will preserve, deepen and maintain them.

Let’s pivot the narrative that has been created for you over the years and lean into empathy with boundaries together. 

 

If you would like to work with Olivia, check out her upcoming FREE workshop on building better boundaries called, “Empathy While Maintaining The Self”, or contact us to learn more about her upcoming women’s group therapy beginning this summer.

  • FREE  Virtual Workshop Empathy While Maintaining The Self Tuesday, June 15th 6:30-7:45 PM
  • 6-week Virtual Women’s Group (TBD, inquire for more details)

To register, email: overhulst@villageinstitute.com

For individual therapy opportunities, sliding scales and more: contact@villageinstitute.com