53. Boundaries and Kindness are BFFs

boundaries and kindnessYou may have heard (or even thought!) that setting boundaries is unkind.  I am here to tell you that this is a myth!  In this episode, I have the pleasure of speaking with Loreé Beamer, also known as the Queen of Kindness.  She shares her story of discovering happiness in her life by extending kindness to everyone and also by setting boundaries for herself.

During our conversation, we discuss the similarities between the practice of kindness and the practice of boundaries.  Both are about empowered decision making.  Both are learned skills.  Both help us live more authentically, establish healthier relationships, and experience more joy in our lives.  Listen in to hear how boundaries and kindness go hand in hand.

Main Episode Takeaways

  • There is a difference between being kind and being nice
  • Kindness and boundaries are both learned skills that we acquire through practice
  • We all have our own power to choose what we will and will not participate in
  • Boundaries are Kind

Want to learn more about boundaries?

– Boundaries quiz HERE
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53. Boundaries and Kindness are BFFs with Loreé Beamer

Mary: Let’s talk boundaries. I’m here with Loreé Beamer and we are discussing boundaries and kindness. Hey, Loreé. 

Loreé: Hi, how are you? 

Mary: Good. Thanks for coming. 

Loreé: Thank you for having me.

Mary: You’re welcome. It’s good to talk to you and I would love to dive into this topic of boundaries and kindness and tell us a little bit about you and how you got to be the queen of kindness.

Loreé: Well, I grew up in California, San Francisco. It was where I was born, raised in a Fresno area and then moved out to Colorado with a few stops along the way here and there. And I was married for 20 years. And within that time of being married and, you know, getting out of my home, as a kid, I learned a lot of things about boundaries and about being kind. And I learned that being kind is not the same as being nice. And sometimes it’s hard to be kind to yourself. It’s really hard actually. And so I think that as I was going through some of those challenges, I realized that I needed to focus on that kindness factor in a lot of different ways, and in some that are more commonly known and some that are not as commonly known. But for me, surviving and wanting to be a happy person and not being drug down into the depths of despair or anger and self pity. I didn’t want to be in that place. So I knew I had to be intentional on how I was going to move forward and behave not only for myself, but also for my children. 

Mary: I love that. Can you share maybe a challenge or two that you experienced and you were able to overcome with kindness? 

Loreé: Sure. Well, I think the first thing I’ll start off with is when I was young we lived in California and we lived in a really poor area of Fresno and it wasn’t safe really. And my parents were pretty poor and there were times that we didn’t even have food. And I found that very frustrating as a teenager and having three younger brothers, I expected more from my parents. And of course, when we’re teenagers, we expect a lot. But I think my, my thoughts were reasonable, you know, food and electricity were the basics that I thought were fair for us to have. And my dad and I, we, I was a daddy’s girl for a long time, but then as I got older I had put a lot of things together. He had been abusive physically to my mom when I was younger, like really young. And then he became more mentally and psychologically abusive and I did not put up with it. So him and I would be like water and oil, right? We just did not get along and I was not going to put up with his you know, behavior in any way, I was not going to let him intimidate me. So it ended up in a lot of fights with that being said one day I had found some inappropriate magazines in the house and I had three little brothers and I had told him that this was not okay and it was not appropriate. And he told me that I did not have the leverage to say that because I was just a kid and it was his house and he could do whatever he wanted. So he kicked me out and I agreed. I didn’t want to be there anymore. He didn’t want me there anymore. So it was done. So I was 17 and moved out and figured out where to go and what to do. And it was kind of crazy. I’d already graduated high school, so that was good. But I decided that as time went on, I was sad because I still love my family and I still even love my dad. I just hated his behavior, and I really don’t use the word hate. You know, on a regular basis, I really don’t like using it at all, but truly at that time, I hated him. I hated how he treated my mom. I hated how he thought he was always right. He was so narcissistic, you know, so many things that I didn’t like about him and it really frustrated me. But on the other hand, I still have this love for him. He was funny and he was smart and he, you know, was just a wealth of knowledge. And he also was my dad. 

And then of course I had my siblings and my mom that I really got along with and I loved, but there was this tension. So there became a point in this journey while I was trying to figure out like, well, I have this hate and I have this love, how do I reconcile it? And I just had really meditated on it for a long time and realized or had an epiphany maybe, that you can love someone, but you don’t have to like them. And that was a really big thing for me because I didn’t like his behavior and I didn’t like him for some things, but I did love him for other things. So I was able to separate that out. And with that, that was a kindness that I was giving to myself, allowing myself to build that boundary saying, you know what, I love him and I can go visit and I can go talk to him as long as I set these boundaries up, as soon as it becomes unhealthy, then I’m not going to, I’m going to walk away, I’m going to leave. Or he also was a person that always, like I said, was always right. So if you started talking to him about something, he would talk to you till you’re blue in the face about why he’s right and why you’re wrong, doesn’t matter what the topic was. He would, I think, choose the opposite side on purpose. And so I would always engage in that for a very long time I did that. And it was so frustrating to me. Like, why wouldn’t he listen to me? I finally realized that he was never going to listen to me like it wasn’t going to happen. And if I wanted to have a conversation with him that I just needed to stop engaging in that conversation. So instead, if you want to say something you know that it was cloudy outside and he’s saying the sky is blue. I would say, I can see how you could see it that way, dad. That’s, that’s cool. You know, I wouldn’t say, I wouldn’t give him my opinion because it wouldn’t matter to him anyways. And that way I still get to have my opinion. I don’t have to fight for my opinion or what my thoughts are, because we all have the right to have our own thoughts and opinions. And I respect that, but I want to put my thoughts and opinions around someone who’s also going to respect my side of things. I’m totally okay having a conversation with someone who has a different opinion if they want to talk about it and explain why they think it is and respect my side. But if they’re not going to respect my side, then there’s no reason for me to engage in that. And so that’s, I think my first step when I really realized I had the power to choose how I was going to interact with somebody. And so it happened to be my family and it was hard, but then I’ll tell you, my relationship got so much better. It was so much better for me. I felt better about it. I was happier. And then I was able to also engage with my family some more. 

Mary: Awesome. Awesome. So I heard you mention the difference between kindness and niceness. Tell us a little more about that. 

Loreé: Sure. Well, I think that being nice is awesome, right? We all want to be nice, but I think, first of all, I think as women, we’ve kind of been trained to be nice. That’s kind of like how we’ve been conditioned to be since we were little girls, like, you know, be a nice girl and sit down and don’t talk or be a nice girl and help mommy with this or whatever it might be. And it was about listening and doing whatever someone told us. And, and then also being nice and saying something nice, not telling anybody something that might be true, but you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Right? And I think being kind is more like if I’m your friend or someone that I really care about you, I want to be kind and letting you know, like, Hey, that behavior that you’re doing when you roll your eyes at blah, blah, blah, or whatever it might be is really not very pretty. You know, it’s not a really nice thing to be doing and it kind of puts you in a bad place. So, you know, being kind is me letting somebody know that they may or may not be in the right place doing the right thing. I still can love them. 

And I think the other part of nice is as well as sometimes I might be making some bad choices. And to be nice or I need someone to tell me to be kind. I mean, I need someone to tell me like, Hey, Loreé you know, that wasn’t cool. If they were nice to me, they’d say, Oh, Loreé you know, you did a great job. That was awesome. And not mention the things that I did that were out of line. I think there’s that, that place where there’s niceness or where we want to just kind of wash over everything and not really be truthful a hundred percent. And kindness is I guess setting that boundary of this is our friendship and this is important to me, but I also need to let you know that there are some issues or whatever it might be. Is that that make sense? 

Mary: Yeah, For sure. So what I’m hearing and what I think is that niceness is about people pleasing, that it’s about putting on whatever kind of persona, whatever kind of appearance, whatever kind of behaving in whatever kind of way that a good girl would right? So, or a good person would. Doing it from a place of, we think we should 

Loreé: Yeah. Right. And we learned that we shouldn’t even have that word in our vocabulary. Right? None of those should haves.

Mary: Yeah. And the kindness on the other hand is being genuine, that it’s about being authentic, that it’s about living in your truth and treating people and ourselves, like we’re humans, that we have thoughts and feelings and needs and that we want to have a genuine connection with people and we want to be authentically ourselves. And so kindness is about showing up authentically that way. 

Loreé: Yeah, absolutely. You explained that very well. And I think the other side of that is just being kind to yourself, right? When you are in a situation, which I know you’ve helped me with a few of these, but you’re in a situation where the other person isn’t really holding up your values, the things that are important to you, they’re kind of stepping all over you in that way to be kind is to say, to be kind to yourself that is is to say, this is my boundary. Like, I am not okay when you talk about this around the rest of my family, you know, we need to keep this out of our conversation if we’re all going to hang out and have a good time. Otherwise, it’s just not going to be a good fit. And it’s a hard thing to do, because these are people that you care about are people you’ve had really close relationships with. It’s very difficult. It’s not easy to be kind sometimes, but in the end you’re standing up to your truth and you feel better about who you are because none of us want to be in a situation like, you know, the old Thanksgiving family get together and then you have the people who are talking that make everybody else uncomfortable because trust me, I’ve been that person that’s made everybody feel uncomfortable being in an argument with somebody else. I don’t like myself being in that situation, because I’m getting frustrated and angry. And then it makes everything else, the whole atmosphere of the event really just go down, right? The energy is way low. I want to have a high vibration, high energy all the time. 

And it’s funny because I find it much easier when I don’t have a person that is frustrating for me, of course, right? Like, you know, but of course there’s people like that, doesn’t have to be a family member. It could be anybody. It could be a coworker. It could be a boss. It could be whoever. And so we, we have to learn how to deal with that. And I think it’s trickier, even probably when you’re at a job. And you still have to set your boundaries, but in the end, like you talked about having your truth, you’re going to feel happier that you are standing up for the things that are important to you, because I do believe that, you know, if that’s not right, then you probably need to go to a different place and you need to find a different job and you need to find a new friends, whatever it is, because we are, we’re here for a very short time on this planet and we deserve to have joy and to have fun and to be able to build relationships. And building relationships doesn’t mean it has to be hard, we shouldn’t have to be fighting. There should be no physicality in that. There should be no yelling. But I grew up in a household where we yelled. I mean, that was kind of how I grew up. So that’s all I knew. 

And I’ll tell you, this was really a eye opener for me. You know, I got out of this 20 year marriage. Towards the end of the marriage, I had set boundaries. I was done with yelling. I did not want that happening with my kids. I didn’t want to be a person like that. So I, you know, tried my best to stop that. And so I felt pretty good about it, you know, but it’s a work in progress. I believe kindness in general is a practice, like you have to practice it every day, probably the same as boundaries, right? It’s something that you just doesn’t necessarily come easily because sometimes it’s really easy to react to something and not be kind. That’s the easy way. But to have revenge or to get, you know, whatever, but to be kind, that’s hard. It’s not weakness. It’s a very strong strength. So when you are in that process of trying to establish those boundaries, it’s not always easy. So after I got out of my marriage and I met my current partner, he, one day we were talking about something and I got frustrated and I raised my voice. And I hadn’t done that for a long time. It just was kind of almost like this natural instinct. And he immediately put me in my place and it was weird, you know, but he was like, he was kind. Cause he’s like, Hey, if we’re going to be in this relationship, I will not be spoken to that way. And it was like, yeah, like it was cool. Like it was really cool and embarrassing at the same time, because I was like, wow, like he’s setting this boundary. Like this is important. And in fact, it’s important to me. I don’t want anyone yelling at me, but I had just gotten out of control for a moment, but it made me come back to myself and be like, okay, I get it. Like, you know, thank you for telling me your boundary. And, and actually it’s important to me as well. So it was kind of neat. I don’t even know how to explain it, but it was like this realization at that moment. Like, Oh yeah, I have power and he’s choosing his power right now. And now I’ve got to come back and decide how I’m going to react to that. Which of course I reacted in a, a kind way and said, thank you for sharing that with me. I will do better. And then I chose to do better because we, that’s one of the things I truly believe is that we all have choice. We all have power. And I think we forget that. I think we forget that we have the power. No one can make us feel anything. No one can make us do anything. We get to choose. 

Mary: Absolutely. I agree. And that’s one of the values that is in my work around boundaries as well is that we have the ability to make our own choices and choose what we’re going to participate in and what we’re not going to participate in. So I’d love just to kind of wrap up with a little bit more discussion around the relationship between boundaries and kindness and this myth that I hear out there that people sometimes get confused. And they say things like, well, I don’t want to be unkind. Like I’m hesitant to say something because I don’t want, I don’t want someone else to feel bad. I don’t want to speak up. I’d rather just kind of go with the flow or I’d rather just, you know, be nice. And that somehow there’s this idea out there that having boundaries is being unkind, and I’d love to know your thoughts about that. 

Loreé: It’s funny, like actually the first thing that came up when you said that, I just started doing this a self defense class. And in the self defense class, the first lesson we had was about, really about boundaries, right? Like if someone’s coming up to you that you don’t want near you, you have to set a boundary immediately. You need to stop and say, get back. Right? So we’re not going to be that bold in our everyday conversations with the person that we are interacting with, unless they are danger to us. But it’s the same thing, right? We want to protect ourselves. If we’re not safe, we can’t keep our other, other people safe. Right? So I think that when I look at that, it’s absolutely necessary that you are kind and you have the boundaries, so that way other people know how far they can go, right? If you don’t have a boundary, people will walk all over you and they do, and they don’t even mean to sometimes, right? Because if they always say, Mary always says, yes, of course. I’m going to ask Mary. I know Mary’s going to do it. Right? So poor Mary is always getting all the work, all the volunteer, everything. Cause Mary’s going to say yes.

Mary: In the meanwhile, Mary’s over there mad at you for always asking her cause she doesn’t know how to say no, in this scenario. 

Loreé: You won’t see it, right. There’ll be resentment. That’s building up and building up, but we’ll never even know it. Then one day she’s going to yell at us. And we’re like, what did I do? 

Mary: Yeah. And the fun part about it is when Mary comes to meet me and talk about boundaries, she is mad. She is angry underneath there that people keep calling and asking her to do things. And she’s kind of got this secret shame around her feelings of resentment towards people who continue to ask her to do things. And she continues to do the things. It’s very interesting. Yeah, it is. 

Loreé: So I think that it’s power to yourself, right? It’s being nice and kind to yourself. It’s, it’s the priority and it’s not selfish. It sounds like it’s a selfish thing, but it’s really not. And I truly had to get over that too, because I think it’s hard. It’s that again, it’s part of the conditioning that we’ve been led to believe. Because even with work, for example, if you start a new job and then when your boss calls you at six o’clock at night and you answer the phone, you’re telling the boss that it’s okay to call me at six p. m. and I’m going to answer the phone. If you say, you know, I cut off my work at five o’clock. Then you cut it off at five o’clock and you don’t take the phone calls until the next morning at 8am or whatever time you start again, because that’s your boundary. Now, of course, there’s times that we can step out of our boundary for certain circumstances, but in general, we have to stand up and hold those boundaries, right?

It’s just like when you have children, we can’t let children just go run across the street because they’re going to get hurt. We have to put a boundary up, a physical boundary sometimes right? But with ourselves it has to be this boundary that we believe in, right? We first have to believe in that in ourselves. We have to say yes this is my boundary, and I believe it’s important because we have to have reasons for it right? Then, it means that much to me I’m not going to let something get through it because now we have this sheltered this castle that has the moat and then it has the, the gate all around it and we don’t want that it’s protected in here. We want to stay happy and sweet. If we allow things to go through that, then we’re not being kind to ourselves right we’re allowing all that negative and the bad stuff to come into our sacred space. And I have found for me, when I have chose kindness for myself and kindness for others, truly being kind and not like getting angry about something, still setting my boundary, but saying this is the way it needs to be for me and if you want to have a discussion, we can talk about it, but this is my boundary, I have found joy. 

Like, you know, so after my divorce, I went through a lot of hard things, a lot of hard conversations with people. It was a very difficult time. And that’s why for that time I chose very intentionally that I was not going to get angry about the little things. I was going to have this boundary on me and my family, because there’s way too much negative stuff out there. And I wanted my kids to be raised in a happy household where they could find joy and peace. And so it wasn’t easy for sure, but by choosing that and choosing to forgive, that’s part of kindness, right? That’s part of being kind to yourself because when you choose not to forgive, and that’s a whole different conversation about just forgiveness, but to me, forgiveness isn’t really for the other person, right? It’s for me. I don’t want to have them have any power over me. Nope. No way. So I’m going to forgive them and let that crap go. So that way I can be in my own world. I’ve done what I can do. I’ve let that go. And now we get to have joy and happiness and move on. I’m not going to let them let me get angry about something, let it fester, and then, you know have this grudge because it only literally tears me down. Like physically it health wise, you know, you get higher blood pressure. You can have heart attacks. There’s all kinds of things that are out there to talk about these things. I didn’t want that for me. I don’t want that for my family. I don’t want that for my friends.

So I truly practice kindness every day. I’m not perfect at it because it is a practice, right? There’s going to be days that I fall or days that I’m not as good at it, but. It’s pretty easy for me because it’s something I do all the time. So I love it. And I get so much back from it. You know, I can’t even explain how amazing it is to go out in the world and be kind to people and how you get kindness back. And if you don’t mind, I’m going to share one more story. I went to New York last year and all I’ve ever heard about New York is, Oh, these people, they’re mean and nasty and they spit on the ground and if you look at them, they’ll punch you in the face. Like just this negative stuff, like really negative energy. I’m like, I’m afraid to go to New York. I don’t know our 

Mary: Our listeners from New York, I don’t think that about you. 

Loreé: I didn’t think that about them either, but that’s all I heard. Right? And then a lot of times on TV, they portray them that way too. Right? So, you know, I just had that in the back of my head. So I go there my first time. And of course you get off out of the airport and then you have to take a couple trains and subways to get where you’re going. So I have no idea. Someone tells me the first place to get on. So I get on the first train from the airport, get to the main central station to catch my next train and then you have to get on the right train, they’re all going different directions. And this guy came up to me. He’s like the guy who hands out all the tickets and stuff. And he got me to the machine, led me through it was super sweet. And I’m like, Oh, thank you so much. It was so great. Right. And I’m like, well, he’s super nice. That’s cool. So anyways, as I went along on this journey in New York, two more things that stood out to me. One time I was in Central Park and I saw this awning and there was a guy under there with a chair and another guy standing next to him, looked like he was cutting his hair. So I get closer and that’s what he’s doing. And it’s, his name is a Central Park barber. And he said, when I asked him what he was doing, he said, well, during COVID, no one could get their haircut. And so he opened up this area so he could have people come in and he did not charge them. If they wanted to give them a donation, they could. But he did that as a service and then he kept it open and you know what, he makes more money now than he ever did before and doesn’t even charge anything. 

And then the last thing was when I had to go back home, again, I have like all my luggage and I have to get back on all these trains to get back to the airport. It was confusing and I get on the first train and there’s this lady that I strike up a conversation with and I just ask her, Oh, do I have to get off on the next stop? And she says, Oh no, no, I’m getting off at the same stop. You just get off with me. Got off. She helped me with my bag, take it up the stairs and to whatever, to the next train, then she got on the next train with me and she goes, I’ll just get on your train with you and I’ll help you guide you the way I’m like, Oh, you don’t have to do that. She goes, no, I don’t mind. Then not only did she get on the train with me and help me get my luggage on, she stays on the train, which went past her stop just to help me get where I needed to go. 

And so I guess the moral of the story is when you look for kindness, you see it. But man, I didn’t experience anybody who was unkind in New York. I mean, they were all amazing people. One, one person at central park, he was one of the buggy drivers that does the horses and he asked my cousin, who actually lives there, if he wanted to ride. And my cousin said, no, we’re good. And he was like, he yelled and do whatever. Said some nice words, but other than that, I had such a great time. I never, like I said, never saw one person that was unkind. And again, I, part of it’s because I’m kind, you know, I, I try my best to, to do that. And if someone’s has a bad day, I try to put a smile on their face and I’m not funny. Ask Dan. He says, I’m not funny whatsoever. It’s more about being kind and just seeing people, right? Really seeing people for who they are and loving them for the human being that they are. You don’t have to like them, but for me, I choose to love everybody. I do my best to love everybody. I don’t have to like their behaviors. I don’t have to like them necessarily as a person, but I love them as their struggle as a human, right? We’re all on this planet to find joy and happiness. That’s why we have boundaries. That’s why we are doing these things so we can have that. And not everybody’s in the same place. So hopefully as we learn and grow, we can spread that. Like that’s my mission is to spread that. Like I wanted to spread like wildfire. I want people to be kind again. I feel like we’ve lost that. So I just am out there to spread that. 

Mary: I love that. Thank you so much. Okay. So if people want to reach out to you tell them the best way to reach you.

Loreé: Well, you can go to my website, which which is loreebeamer.com or you can email me at kind2ucoaching.com 

Mary: Awesome. Awesome. So I want to wrap up with a couple of takeaways that I heard during our conversation and for listeners out here, I would love for you to listen to what maybe resonates with you. But the idea that boundaries are not kind is a myth. That boundaries are kind. I would love for that to be kind of a tip or insight that you’re leaving this conversation with. And that a couple things that boundaries and kindness have in common are that we have a choice. We get to decide how we are going to show up in the world. Also living in our truth, being our authentic selves is being kind, that there’s a big difference between niceness and kindness. And kindness is actually going to feel much better. And so I invite you to consider that. Thanks so much for being here. Thank you. 

Loreé: And I’m going to say one more thing. I think that kindness and Boundaries are best friends. Like they have to be working together, right? They’re like the best of friends, kind of like you and I are. They really are like, they have to be together. You can’t, I don’t think you can have one without the other. I think you have to have both because if you’re not setting up boundaries you’re going to be miserable. Like that friend, you talked about who was resentful. You have to have that so you don’t become resentful. You want to have joy. So I think that’s important. 

Mary: Awesome. Thanks for being here.