So, I’ve been talking about boundaries quite a bit as part of this 30 day video challenge, and I noticed that some questions came up in the comments. What’s the difference between setting a boundary and just plain being defensive? You’ve heard me say that in order to defend a boundary, you have to be willing got walk away. But how is that different from just running away? Do boundaries keep people out?

These are all amazing questions! And I answer them all, and then some in today’s video. Enjoy!

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  • I run out of things to think about in those 15 seconds let alone 2 minutes.
    How do others fantasize to bring about those feelings.
    All responses are welcome with me (I wont see you as condescending)

  • I have an interesting situation related to this that I’m hoping you can comment on, Melody. But I’ll caution you, it’s a long one as it spans about a 2 year period.

    A few years ago, after being very close, I started to notice a very negative reaction to being around my brother. I was turned off because he seemed to be very self-involved and not sensitive to some things I was struggling with at the time (making comments and such, perhaps innocently, that were very triggering for me). He’d also entered into a relationship and for some reason was communicating with me almost exclusively through his girlfriend whom I did not really have a relationship with. Most of their points of contact were evites/emails to invite me to social gatherings they were having. I felt hurt that I no longer had a personal relationship with my brother and declined to attend most of their events (we’re talking once every few months probably), though I’d see them occasionally on birthdays and at other family events. At first, it was an angry withdrawal with lots of anxiety because my brother did not seem to process the strain I felt on the relationship, which made me not want to be around them more. At one point I asked if we could talk because it got so awkward. Evidently there was a miscommunication in that regard so we never ended up having that conversation.

    Over time, I was able to make peace with what I felt was a deterioration in our relationship and actually enjoyed spending time with him and his girlfriend (now wife..and yes, I attended the wedding) at a recent family dinner. I thought perhaps this was a sign that I’d worked through my negative response to them and a rebuilding could begin; so when our cousin’s wedding came up in a hard to reach location shortly thereafter, I decided to text my brother about a week in advance to ask if I could catch a ride with him (he lives very close to me). He responded by calling out what he felt was my inability to be punctual and said yes, but that he would leave me if I wasn’t in the car within 5 minutes of his arrival. Even though he has waited on me in the past (you can imagine my older brother has given me a lot of rides in my lifetime), it’d been quite some time since I’d gone anywhere with him and this was by no means a regular/typical thing for him to be picking me up by this point, so I didn’t feel it was necessary to preemptively shame me (the assumption being that I would be late on purpose because I’m inconsiderate and don’t respect his time). I was put off by this response and let him know that…and that quite frankly, a no would have been preferred to a threat. That set him off and he then sent me several text messages saying I was rude and calling me out for numerous things that he’d never raised with me before. Then he wrapped it up by saying that I was a spoiled, entitled, whatever and that we didn’t need to speak anymore. So we didn’t. (and I ended up taking a cab, being the first family member to arrive at the wedding, no less)

    …but then I got engaged and had to decide whether or not to invite him. I stressed over it for a while, but eventually decided to send a text (maybe texting was the problem??) to let him know I was getting married, to say that it would be nice for him and his wife to be there, and to ask if he would be interested in attending. He didn’t respond for weeks; I was disappointed, but ok and able to let it go. Then, out of the blue, his wife called me and suggested I reach out to him because he was just hurt. So, I called, we talked and aired our respective grievances. Nothing got “solved” as we had very different viewpoints on almost every topic, but I felt so much better to be able to finally share my feelings. I thought I could put this whole thing behind me and just let the relationship be whatever it was going to be now that we’d been open with each other. But then he went radio silent on me for a few days and followed up with a lengthy email saying he felt I took no responsibility for my actions (I guess he was expecting me to be more apologetic or on side with his point of view), declining to attend my wedding, and telling me (after he listed out the things that I said when we spoke for the purposes of rebutting or refuting them or otherwise insulting me) that he would not respond to anything I said in reply because he “knew who I was now.”

    The 2 year period was an emotional roller coaster and brought up some really nasty self-loathing stuff for me, especially around the time of my wedding. I thought I was enforcing some of my own boundaries, but then I got confused when it got turned back around on me and I ended up being the one who was cut off (twice!). The difficult parts about this for me were: 1. he’s family, so being completely estranged was not an ideal outcome for me and 2. that each time I spoke up rather than withdrawing/holding in my feelings and he didn’t like what I had to say, not only did he cut me off, but he felt the need to leave me with a scathing review of my character that definitely made me question myself. This certainly wasn’t a gentle gravitating out. While I’m happy to no longer worry about declining those evites (ha), I do feel sad that we now have no relationship and that he places the blame for that solely on me. Any thoughts on why I might have manifested this/what I should take from this experience?

    • Hey Anonymous,

      Ok, so it was great that you spoke up, but you weren’t yet completely setting a boundary. When you set a boundary, it’s not about them or their response. It’s about you. So, he doesn’t need to agree. You can’t control that. When you need someone to agree, you’re still asking them to give you permission to feel the way you feel. And. He. Can’t. No one can defy your vibration.

      He accused you of not taking responsibility. But it feels like you were taking responsibility for your emotions; just not for his. And he’s refusing to take responsibility for how he feels, and prefers to continue to blame you. That’s ok. That’s where he is. But it’s not your job to clarify that for him, or convince him otherwise. You can’t anyway. This is his journey.

      So, see him as the powerful being he is, who is dealing with his own shit the best way he can right now. Focus on who he really is, without that shit. It’s not about you. It’s not your fault. It’s not your responsibility. Believe in him and his ability to find his way as you are finding yours.

      And let it be ok that he’s feeling the way he’s feeling now. He doesn’t have to agree with you in order for you to be right in your reality, from your point of view. Stop asking him for permission to let yourself off the hook here, and just let yourself off the hook. It sounds like you’re doing a great job of self-reflection. You’re not stomping on people and in total denial about it. You’re open to listening and willing to have conversations. And you’re taking responsibility for how you feel. Keep doing those things, but also, start owning your own awesomeness. Your value doesn’t come from other people agreeing that you’re valuable, or that you’re right, or that your arguments are valid. It comes from you agreeing to those things – for you.

      The more you step into your power, the more he’ll most likely come around (this is often the case with family), but you can’t make it about him.

      I hope that helps.

      Smooshy hugs,


  • Hi Melody,
    Your Kindle special is available worldwide, or at least in New Zealand.
    edit: to clarify, I did one click on

  • This video was practically right on time for what is currently happening in my life. Several hours before I saw this video, I had an anger release about some issues I’ve been having around money and love. I’m currently trying to figure out how to manifest a new way of making money into my life [not sure if that means a new job right now or something on the theme of entrepreneurship], and I’ve noticed some heavy, heavy beliefs that I’ve been releasing. The only thing I’ve had to set a boundary with were people using drugs around me, which honestly hasn’t happened in years. It’s just not part of my reality anymore.

    When you got to the subject of letting things gravitate out of your reality, this made me think about my issues with love and money that I’ve been releasing. I’m not sure if I need to figure out WHY I hate my current job, but I’ve just been focusing on the general concept of more wealth and money, and seeing what comes up. I will get certain images, which have been positive, but nothing too concrete yet. Hope I made sense, and thank you for your videos. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I’m open to them.

  • especially in the past I have not been valuing my time much, getting stuck for ages in the wrong job, relationship until it gets really wonder I had problems with people. Thank God this is changing a lot, like I am not scared to leave my job anymore, even if I am doing this without any other alternative ..I could not pull up the energy to look for any as I am stuck in a routine loop that sucks me dry…anyway I am so glad I put my foot down with my employer about wanting to be only part time or leaving …I know I am doing the right thing and I will be fine as I am not getting anything out of feeling that low and fed up.
    …I am working with my energy around men ..I still tend to stick around as I have got very little hope , no to mention confidence in that area.. when I have a crush is always over somebody that gives me little consideration, yet I stick around..this is something I need to set a boundary with ..I want to be open and I am working on my own filters and perspectives , however I also badly want things to be easy ..a boundary to me is synonim of “what I am willing to put up with” ..I totally realise the work is all down to me ..same goes for the defensive mechanism ..I know the moment the fear goes the issue goes too both cases , constructive anger, like realizing my own value as a person and as a woman , really helps tremendously. Sometimes it is SO hard..I still come up with all the reasons why I should only deserve /expect little ..but really this is only fear and not true..I look around and realise these are only limiting habits of thinking and feeling..hard work to break them but I will get there.. ..thank you for this other great video xxxx

  • This month is so full of insights! I keep realizing that I don’t know what I’m doing. Or I’m pretending to be doing better than I’m doing.

    I don’t struggle too much with controlling people. I typically feel moderately okay with other people having their own freedom. (Which I didn’t always, so I really credit studying LOA teachings with being able to be much more okay with the magnificent diversity of humans being weird.) But I think I often get stuck believing that I can’t have what I want. For example, my family lives in a dense, loud, huge city. We want something else and it should be possible for us to get it, and yet… clearly something is stuck. I don’t struggle so much with “People who live near me should not be so loud!” I recognize their right to live how they want. I recognize that for many people, this kind of urban experience is energizing and exciting and fun. But I do really struggle with the thing you mentioned, where you get focused on what you do want, and that feels so good, and you get to a place of newborn hope about it, maybe you could actually have it! And then, because I am clearly really still hanging on to this environment in ways I don’t fully understand, I will have another experience, almost to the point of it being comical, of really smacking into the parts of this city I don’t like.

    This is a hard thing for me to understand in a deep, real way. I will grasp it for a few seconds while watching your videos, for instance, and then lose it again.

    PS, I hope your new course thing starts soon! As a longtime member of the very slow learners club I think I need some intensive study!

    • Hey Cordy, I suggest that you read this:
      Basically, it’s not necessary that negative beliefs are blocking you. Your subconscious is used to living in this city, so when you focus on living elsewhere, it will bring events to you that evoke even stronger emotions within you, towards the city. So I think that you ran into those parts of the city you don’t like, so you would emotionally react to that (negatively), and once again tell your subconscious that it should hold on to living in the city. It’s a mechanism of the subconscious.

      So, first you focus on the positive emotions of living elsewhere. Then your subconscious rebels, and makes you run into parts of the city that will trigger stronger negative emotions within you. You need to be mindful of those emotions, and not react to them. When they dissipate, focus again on where you want to live, generate positive emotions, and choose that goal with your will. The article explains it better. The subconscious will try its best to hold onto what is >familiar< to it, regardless of whether you like it or not.

  • This sparked some questions in me. “If you’re not holding on to people, they will just gravitate out.” Since I’ve raised my vibration, old friends have either distanced themselves or no longer feel good to me, which makes me happy now because its awesome evidence. What about those people who you don’t feel connected to anymore, but really like you and are still come around? I have a few people (more like family friends or acquaintances) that I feel guilty about not responding too, because it’s not the “right” thing to do. I can’t though, for the life of me find a way to respond to them without dishonoring my feelings. I say, I’ll call today or tomorrow, and I just don’t want to at all, because they don’t feel good. If I were to engage in this, is this a way of holding on too?

    I also have people, who have more negatively focused conversations, of which I engage in in ways that are not 100% authentic to me. They’d say something that they believe, that I don’t believe. But I’ll say, “right or sure!” or try to avoid it via a light joke. I’ve never said, oh no, I’ve changed and this is who I am now. Maybe, if they seem open, I’ll try to sense if they’re open to a new perspective, but usually not. They’ll have a problem in their lives, I can see exactly what they’re doing, because I did it. I’m not being myself in that conversation or voicing my truth as much. Other relationships I do. But these, I guess it’s a fear of loss. Am I holding on here too? Am I holding on to a past version of myself that resonated with them to keep them in my reality?

    I’d love to hear a blog about these topics. Like how your reality shifts and we all think it’s going to be all roses and candy, but you have people who leave you and moments where you’re in the void on a island all by yourself….and you have to let go…daily, hourly, and secondly!

    • Hey Amber,

      If you are forcing yourself to interact with people you don’t want to interact with, yes, that’s a way of holding on.
      However, you can have conversations with people who think differently than you do, and you can keep your opinion to yourself, because it’s not appropriate or helpful in that moment for you to lecture them, or convince them of something else. And that doesn’t mean that you’re not being authentic. Authenticity doesn’t mean you always have to express everything. It’s the energy behind what you’re saying that counts. Your reason for saying it.

      For example, when someone dies, I will tell their loved ones “sorry for your loss”. Except, I’m not really sorry. There is no death. And as someone who can talk to the “dead”, that’s pretty clear to me. But, I am acknowledging their pain, and using the words that will be acceptable to them. I can’t make them feel better in that moment, and it wouldn’t help at all for me to go on and on about how there is no death (could even be seen as a dismissal of their pain, like they shouldn’t grieve because there is no death… which is not productive at all). People have to be allowed to grieve, or to feel the way they do. And it’s not up to us to MAKE them feel better. So, if you can keep that stance and know that they will make it through this, that they are going through a process of their own that has the power to serve them greatly, and that this will happen without your help, then you can still be authentic.

      Conversations with people we disagree with can be incredibly enlightening. Because you might find yourself getting defensive, or angry. Why? Because you’re forcing yourself to be there? Or because of something else? That’s for you to explore. 🙂

      Smooshy hugs,


  • Hi

    Great vid , after watching I got to thinking , how does it work with children , when you explain to them you can’t do this or do that , say this or say that etc etc , that is said in a controlling manner . Is this wrong ? I don’t want them to say or do this or that to anybody , not just me . On the flip side , I could be subconsciously teaching them how to control which has no value in their lives , I don’t know …what do you think? But loved the vid and totally get it thanks Melody

    Thank you

    • Andy,
      There is a difference between telling a child what s/he can or cannot do and telling an adult. When we tell children how to or not to act, we are teaching them the “rules” of our society and how to interact with others. You are showing them where the boundaries are because they do not have enough experience in life to find them for themselves. You are not controlling them. You are teaching them how to control themselves, where to set boundaries in their own lives. These boundaries work two ways: letting them know what is or is not acceptable behavior FROM them and what is or is not acceptable behavior done TO them. You are letting them know that saying or doing certain things can hurt other’s feelings, can lead to others picking on them, or can just plain be dangerous (ex. playing in the street). You are also letting them know that when others say or do certain things to them, it crosses your child’s boundaries and your child needs to stand up for him/herself (and may need to seek the assistance of an adult) against the other’s behavior. As your children become adults, they will need less and less direct correction of their behavior as they begin to set and defend their boundaries on their own.

  • That made perfect sense rationally. Easier said than done, though. It takes A LOT of awareness for me to know when I’m just softly compromising, instead of really standing up for what I want And it takes a lot of awareness to catch myself in the middle of being triggered and being in full defensive mode. I usually notice it afterwards, and I’m starting to catch myself “on the act”, so I guess the next phase is noticing the triggering itself and choosing to stay with it and feel it, instead of acting it out.

    The boundary that I am setting now is putting myself first and asking for what I want. And also noticing when I’m just being “nice” or “complying” with something less than, instead of saying what I really want there. Thank you for the video. 🙂

  • This is really good. I definitely find myself wanting to control instead of setting boundaries. Sometimes I try to set a boundary – “if you’re going to be on your phone while talking to me, I’m going to walk away”, but I say it in such an angry way that it is actually defensive and controlling. Because what I really mean is “stop doing that!”. It’s so hard to get to the point of calmly asserting that boundary, especially with something that you feel very strongly about. But asserting the boundary is the respectful thing to do, for both people. It takes respect to say “I’m ok with you doing that thing, just not to me/around me’.

    I have a colleague who sits near me at work and he whistles during the day. I can’t stand it. There are building works going on in the next room and all the drilling etc doesn’t bother me, but the whistling does. It’s not just the noise, it’s the ‘how dare you make an unnecessary, annoying noise in an office?!’ I think it’s really rude. But when he starts, i huff a bit and then put my headphones in. How can I set a boundary there? He’s entitled to whistle I guess, but I can’t change where I sit at work. I could ask him to stop, but I’m worried about how to respond if he keeps doing it, after asking.

    I’ve seen my brother get like this on planes – he thinks it’s really rude when people put their seats back and so he sits upright on long haul flights, squashed in and irate at the person in front! Personally I don’t mind – i put my seat back and am fine with the person in front putting their seat back. Other people in my office don’t mind the whistling. So in this case, is it inappropriate to set a boundary? Should i instead do lots of work to not be annoyed by the whistling? These are the situations where it’s hard to know how or whether to set a boundary. When you’re physically unable to move and the other person is just doing something innocuous but it just happens to annoy you.

    • That’s interesting.

      I would say the reason we come from a place of anger when setting boundaries is because we feel wronged and attacked and we are wishing that people act in ways that they *should* without us having to outright tell them.

      But how people behave has nothing to do with us. I don’t mean it isn’t an energetic match. I mean that it’s not some sort of conspiracy against you (there are people who do things on purpose in order to annoy us, obviously, but even then… the intention behind it is more about them than us).

      So when we push against them because we feel wronged, they won’t respond well. Anger will be met with anger or defensiveness. You might resolve in that way, but it’s the hard way. Friction is present and nobody really feels good, even when one party got what they wanted… it’s more like relief.

      The right balance between setting a boundary and coming from a place of empowerment is somewhere in between making peace with the whistling and trying to control. I’d say we make peace with the FACT that someone is acting in such a way (not the act itself) and honor our needs by asking them to quiet down (asking them might not be necessary if you get your energy just right). It’s hard to do when you’ve built such angry momentum and haven’t spoken up from the beginning, since know you’ve let the resentment grow.

      I notice this in my own life with certain people who do (did) things that bother(ed) me. One of my sisters is a huge gossiper. I hated it and every time I would see her, I’d kinda think to myself “great, not this again” EXPECTING it and allowing myself to get riled up before it even happened, creating this wall of resistance. Like I had to prepare and protect myself because I had decided “yep, this really bothers me” and I didn’t want to let go.

      Guess what? I’ve let go and she has stopped gossiping around ME. I still hear her doing it with others though. And sometimes, she might start talking badly about someone even around me, but I’m literally poker faced and respond like it’s no big deal, not on purpose… it’s not part of my grand plan or something, but because I don’t FEEL like it’s a big deal! Her entire approach changes right before my eyes, she softens, and moves on to another topic. It’s like putting out a fire just by BEING.

      • thank you for sharing this Deb. I do the same thing saying “great, not this again.” way before the the person acts or says the thing i know they r gonna say. Sometimes i will create the unwanted dialogue in my head or the unwanted scene in my head weeks , months before it is supposed to happen. So i have these bad feelings and anger festering that are only in my head things that never even happened. I will try to catch myself doing it and let go.

      • Hi Deb, just wanted to say that today I suddenly felt able and inspired to ask my colleague to stop whistling, without anger. And it went really well! He said he knows he’s a whistler and he’ll try his best to stop. And then he started telling me a story about how he used to be in a choir.. the story isn’t important here, but what is important is that we had a little conversation and connected a bit. And I felt so much better (and less distracted!). I think perhaps I did come to a sense of peace about the fact he was whistling first. Xxx

  • Hi Melody,
    I’ve been listening to your videos with great interest and analysing my feelings over where I currently am. Last night I came to a very uncomfortable self realisation. I accepted that a huge part of me is very ugly. I’m in my 30s and this is is the first time my brain has not been in denial about the fact that I am a pathological liar. I’ve lied about so much since my early teens. All really stupid stuff from saying I have a better job than I do, that my family and background are different than they are, to saying I have a lot of money saved etc. You get the just, essentially making myself appear better than I am. I’m in a loving and wonderful relationship and I’m afraid these lies will cause damage I can’t correct. Though I’ve never done anything “bad”, I’ve put distance between me and people I love by deceiving them. It’s so awful! I feel fear, guilt, shame. Does this all stem from an energy of powerlessness? I recognise that I think I’m boring…which must be why I do it. It’s not really a conscious choice….in fact, I had a conversation with you once when you told me that my energy said “I’m boring”. I’ve read your book. How do I go up the scale from this? I’m a loving person. I want good things for everyone, including myself.

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