TLS #124: How to Compassionately Set Boundaries in Relationships with Brené Brown


It’s Brené Brown Day on The Lively Show!

I’ve been dreaming about this interview since I started this show… and it has finally come to pass — at the same time that TLS turns two years old (TLS’s 2nd birthday was February 6th)!

In this episode, Brené and I discuss Rising Strong, why compassionate people are most capable of upholding personal boundaries in relationships, and how we can initiate difficult conversations about boundaries in our own lives.

This episode is perfect for anyone who is facing emotionally tough stuff, who wants to understand how to lovingly set boundaries with loved ones, or anyone who is a fan of Brené and her work.









  • Brené tells us about how Rising Strong became the focal point of her current research.

  • She figured out that she needed to write a story about getting back up after falling down.

  • Brené talks about how helpful it is to be honest about what you are in now and what you’ve been through.

  • She reviews the physics of vulnerability and how it relates to Rising Strong.

  • Brené discusses how many of those who were able to rise strong recognized emotion, understood being hooked by emotion, getting curious about emotion and rumbled with emotion.

  • She tells us how our brains are “wired” for a story and has the needs the story to understand pain in our lives.

  • Brené discusses her personal practice with the struggles of tough conversations and overcoming them.

  • She tells us about what the term “emotional high centering” is and why its one reason we deny our feelings to ourselves.

  • Brené tells us what a boundary is and what it means to our feelings, especially our compassion.

  • She describes how living big is about boundaries, integrity, and generosity in our lives.





The Jess Lively Shop

The Gifts of Imperfection

Daring Greatly


The new Santosha shirt and other Style + Spirit collaboration shirts!








Photo by Felix Sanchez.


This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. cris villa

    OMG Jess this is great! I have been a big fan of Brené and try to remember to dare greatly everyday. I can’t wait to listen to this! Thank you for being such an inspiration and greetings from Spain! (Puts life on hold until TLS episode is done).

  2. Jeremy

    The expression on your face must have been priceless as you shared the concept of “Santosha” with her! Congrats on fulfilling this dream with enthusiasm, vulnerability and grace:)

  3. Aimee McEwen

    After listening to this episode it’s clear that I really need to go back and re-read Rising Strong. Last year I didn’t “get it” or maybe “get into it” is a better phrase. I’ve been thinking that maybe it was way over my head (and that I’m basically inept.)

    So, I’ve made up this story of my own that I’m not smart or emotionally mature enough to understand why SO MANY others love and recommend the book.

    When Brené started to explain it, though, and give the examples – and your own examples – I realized I CAN relate to this process, I am NOT “hopeless” to grasp the concepts in the book and apply them to my own circumstances (heavy sigh). Thank you, Jess. Also…do the shirts run true to size? 😉

    1. Jess Lively

      I hear you, Aimee! Rising Strong hit me so differently when I was reading it from a place of being able to use it directly in my life vs. reading while I wasn’t “in the fall” if you will.

      As far as the shirts, I’d suggest reaching out to Natalie at – I am not really sure what “true to size” really means anymore since there are so many brands out there with such different sizing, you know?

  4. Rachel T

    This was a great podcast! Brene Brown is such an insightful person. I had to stop and rewind a couple times to copy down her wordage on how to approach a good friend about a boundary. Good stuff! Oh, and I live in Ann Arbor too! Small world. Big shout out to Kristen and Rachel from Clarity on Fire who sent me to your page! -Rachel

    1. Jess Lively

      Wonderful, Rachel! So glad that Brené’s boundaries part helped you in particular. : )

  5. C Scott

    It’s finally come to pass, you got Brene Brown on your show!!! Awesome. Great interview.

    1. Jess Lively

      Thank you for the kind words, C Scott, it’s wonderful to hear you enjoyed the interview!

  6. Joel

    Great discussion and I really appreciate Jess and Brene’s examples of boundary setting. Vulnerability, compassion, and boundary setting all part of the same thing. About to embark on some boundary setting with a parent regarding interacting with my young family… definitely dreading it and doing some research (hence listening to this podcast). Thanks Jess and Brene, wish me luck.

  7. Megs

    “ The brain chemically rewards us for a story “ = we make up these stories. Making right by being brave. Get better at tough conversations.

    Brené gives us so much food for thought.

    “ Hey, this is what I’m making up in my head, I just want to get your take on it ? “

    I’ve been practicing telling people that I am not doing well and the response is overwhelmingly HELPFUL!? I constantly feel that I should be more grateful too! I love you Jess, for voicing your ideas of putting on heels, brushing your teeth, and SANTOSHA !

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