Accepting, condoning, and boundaries


How do you accept what you can’t condone? what is it that your are accepting?

we love people and we want them to behave in ways which will lead to the permanence of things… permanence of our relationship with them. People behave in ways that can hurt us both by insulting our systems of belief and quite literally to our physical-ness.

so how to we heal ourselves from the self imposed mental/emotional burdens resulting from trying to change the unchangeable? from the burdens of trying to find solutions without consequence?

We want to be able to control suffering and yet our suffering is mostly from our attempts to control things which are mostly, if not totally, out of our control… such as other people’s emotional reactions to our truth.

but if we cease in our efforts to control, have we then moved to a position of condoning… a position which caries with it an almost equal amount of suffering?

hopelessness settles on us as the reality of this double-bind enters our consciousness

I can not condone the unacceptable without suffering the inherent discomfort of being incongruent and yet I am being no more honest if I simply engage in repetitive attempts to control chaos.

prior to achieving a state of transcendence from dualism it seems that our best option is finding a place of emotional grace – a place where in the moment of setting a boundary we hold the deepest faith, compassion, and acceptance for the emotions and truth that we hold.

In the process of honest contemplation, presence and/or self-reflection we can arrive at congruent direction… we arrive at a truth as to what action must be taken to best promote dignity, balance, harmony, authenticity and safety.

in the context of setting a boundary in a relationship there is almost always a fear that builds from the reality of the inherent double bind – the double bind is having to choose between your truth and causing another discomfort.

of course we want for comfort to be ever present, for our decisions to be always validated, for our truth to be enacted with confidence.

We resist accepting that in this life of dualistic perception we can not always have all that desire… we cannot always be liked by everyone and maintain our dignity, we can not always make everyone comfortable while also promoting safety, we can not always validate everyone’s viewpoints and expect efficient change.

so then for the sake of emotional grace we must authentically accept the reality of the double bind inherent in setting boundaries.

we can accept the discomfort of the person receiving our boundary without enmeshing to their emotional response… without defensively resisting their right to an unwanted reaction… and if we are congruent we can build hope through trusting that our authentic presentation and action is not really something that should have ever been a choice. Choosing to be inauthentic in an effort to control suffering is ironic – and quite pervasive and seductive

I can not control life – I cannot control other people

I can be authentic in my actions and beliefs – I can have trust that it is ok to do so

this trust and hope connects us to something grounding which offers us the regulation we need to be true – even when doing so makes another experience discomfort.

So then there is a choice

we can condense to try and make discomfort go away

or we can expand and hold trust and acceptance


Joy erupts in an infinite beauty that is only to be seen because of the contrast of suffering




William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

William Hambleton Bishop
William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

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