|  Blog Post   |  Sometimes they don’t have what we need.

Sometimes they don’t have what we need.

It is true that when people show you who they are, believe them.
It is also true that people can also learn, grow, and change.
I’d do something else for a living if I didn’t believe and know this with everything in me.

Sometimes, though, they don’t want to learn, grow, and change.

For me, one of the toughest things is realizing that someone we love or care about or work with doesn’t have what we need or want.

We can’t make someone be someone they aren’t.
We also must stop expecting something from them that they don’t have to give.

Stop going to empty well looking for water.

Still, we must ask for what we want and need from them.
It is our best chance of getting it.

And if it turns out they don’t have it or don’t want to, which means they don’t have it, we must wrestle with what that brings up in us, feel it all, set boundaries, have hard and courageous conversations, and go find what we need for someone and somewhere else.

Don’t forget though, all of that comes with grief.

It is hard when someone doesn’t turn out to be who we needed them to be.
There is loss there.

And yet, I know with everything that when I love people within their limitations, when I stop blaming people for not meeting my expectations (especially the expectations I never even stated out loud), and when I sometimes must love from afar resentment can’t grow from me between us.

And so I live with boundaries, loving you within your limitations.

As Brené says, the most loving people are also the most boundaried.


Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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