Boundaries are not only hard to set but we often get confused about roles and responsibilities. 

& we are easily frustrated when we create a boundary but it’s quickly broken. 

That’s why I found this trick so useful. 

I have TikTok to thank for it. 

I came across a fantastic video that spoke about the difference between a request and a boundary. 

Because often, we think we are setting a boundary but in reality, we are making a request of someone. 

A perfect example in my life (and perhaps one you can relate to) is when I ask my mum to not comment on my body or weight. I say “Mum, from now on please don’t comment on how I look or if you think I have gained or lost weight”.

And my mum would agree. 

& then either soon afterwards or when I see her next, she will comment. 

Now here’s the thing that I learnt in this video. 

A request is when you need the other person to do something. In this case, it is my mother not commenting. 

A boundary is when I don’t need her to do anything, I do all the heavy lifting. 

So when she comments, I am responsible for shutting it down. This means I need to say “Mum, remember I said that from now on, you can’t comment on how I look. So let’s talk about something else?”

Now if she continues to want to discuss how I look, I can then try and stop her, shut down the conversation or walk away. They are all my choices and they require nothing from her. 

However, if I expect my mother to take responsibility, I haven’t set a boundary, I’ve made a request and I am hoping that she will pull through. This leaves a lot of power in her hands and leaves me on edge, not knowing how it will go. 

It’s not ideal. 

It creates a lot of worry and anxiety. 

It leaves me on guard.

& all that could be avoided if I turned the tables, took on the responsibility and made it a boundary. 

So next time, you are setting a boundary, make sure it’s not a request. 

You’ll know because you will be the one in control.

No guesswork.

No hoping. 

Just ease.