Have you ever found yourself getting wound up for no reason around your mom or dad, and reverting back to a much younger version of yourself?
Or compared yourself to your highly accomplished cousin, and started questioning everything you’re doing with your life?
Or let yourself get stressed out when your aunt or uncle asks you about your job and gets a quizzical look in their eye?
What if I told you that the source of all of that doubt, worry and negative self-talk is negative disempowered programming?
And that you are missing the most important element required, which is to re-wire your self-worth so you can feel total ownership of your value, your inherent worth, and who you are, especially around your family?
In this episode, Nicole shares three lessons she has learned about re-wiring self-worth around family — you are gonna want to keep this episode handy for the next few weeks!
“Reprogramming my self-worth really allows me to enjoy my time with my family over the holidays. On this past trip, it really allowed me to be present with my loved ones and to treasure the time with them and to feel grateful to have time with them, rather than being in a reactive state. Most importantly, it has actually helped me feel really clear and confident that I know who I am. And no matter what happens and no matter what circumstances I’m in, I know how to be myself.”
“When you stop outsourcing your self-worth to anybody, family or otherwise, you are really clear and confident and can be yourself in all circumstances. I want to be me everywhere that I go. That if you ran into me in the street, I would be the same as if you saw me at a party or ran into me at the gym, or were hanging out with me and having a drink, any of those things. I want to always be myself, everywhere.”
“If I do not set boundaries, there’s a long-term effect and impact. And that long-term effect is I feel I am sacrificing who I am. And that feels awful. It feels like I am giving up myself because I am just letting things go. I’m letting things slide. I’m saying yes to something that doesn’t actually work for me, and it feels horrible.”
“I don’t want to feel resentful or angry or mad or hold a grudge against somebody because they didn’t respect a boundary that I didn’t set right. If they don’t respect it, it’s because I didn’t set it.”
Welcome to the School of Self-Worth, a podcast for ambitious women who know they are worthy of an astoundingly great life. Join us weekly as we get on the right side of your intuition, redefine success, and reclaim your self-worth. I’m your host, Nicole Tsong, an award-winning journalist who left it all behind to become a bestselling author of three books and work/ life balance expert, helping ambitious women unlock their intuition and step into a life of fulfilment and radical joy.
Every single week, I will bring you diverse and meaningful conversations with successful women from all walks of life who share insight about what it takes to be brave, joyful, and authentic every day. Every episode is thoughtfully designed to leave you feeling empowered with tangible tips and advice that will lead you to your next breakthrough.
Have you ever found yourself getting super wound up for no apparent reason, around your mom or your dad and reverting back to a much younger version of yourself? Or have you compared yourself to your highly accomplished cousin and started questioning everything you’re doing with your life? Or you’ve even let yourself get stressed out when your aunt or uncle asks you about your job and then gets a quizzical look in their eye? What if I told you that the source of all of that doubt, worry and negative self-talk is negative disempowered programming and that you are missing the most important element required, which is to rewire your self-worth so you can feel total ownership of your value, your inherent worth, and who you are, especially around your family and the holidays. Or if you’d prefer, you could keep looping in the same cycle of worry, fear and constant anxiety that keeps you from stepping into your true self around your family. But this is something you can actually transform permanently, and this is what we’ll be discussing today. If you struggle to feel ease, presence and actual joy around your family, then this episode is for you. Also, if you’re a high achieving career woman who wants to permanently rewire your self-worth, DM me ‘worthy’ on Instagram and let’s chat.
Okay, are you ready for this rich conversation today? Let’s do this. Hello friends. Welcome back to the School of Self-Worth.
I’m your host, Nicole Tsong. I am so excited to talk to you today about rewiring your self-worth around your family. This topic, I feel, is so essential, especially around the holidays, because it is one of the most potent places to work in life, let alone around this time of year. It’s where most of my clients truly have the biggest breakthroughs in my course year. Clear calling, and it’s the place where, if they can truly feel ease and stop being upset over the small things with family, that is a sure sign of major growth and progress. If, however, you’ve been feeling anxious and stressed about time with your family, I’m going to share a little bit later about the biggest mistakes that you are making and a way to look at all of those things. And how do I know about these mistakes? Well, they are the ones that I used to make.
Recently I came back from a week helping my dad when my mom was out of the country. My sister also lives close by, with my niece. So not only was I there to help my dad, I was also saying yes to a full immersion into family time. Like I’m talking five year-old birthday parties. I was there during Halloween, and I was also there during my own birthday, which is an important celebration for me.
I used to feel constant anxiety around my family. I probably didn’t think of it that way back then, but it actually is true. When I really look at it, I really worried all the time about what they thought of me, from my weight to what I was wearing for my clothes, how I was doing in my relationships, how I was doing at work. And even if they never said anything, I always, always wanted their approval. And feeling that way also meant that I constantly felt stressed. I never really enjoyed my time. Never. Deep down, I was often pretty reactive, and I would get into little fights. Anyone do that? Get into little fights all the time. Any little comment like, ‘you’re so sensitive’, would totally set me off, thus proving that I was actually being sensitive.
So one year, I had a really, really tough holiday. It was insanely stressful, and I thought there must be a better way. During that time, I realized that it was actually not about them. It was actually all about me. Have you ever had that moment where you were so crystal clear about what was actually going on? I knew I had to stop acting like the youngest in the family and actually figure out what would let me spend time with my family and have it be joyful and fun. Because I knew spending time with them was really important to me. So I started the journey of rewiring my self-worth around my family. And since then, I honestly have not looked back. Reprogramming my self-worth really allows me to enjoy my time with them over the holidays. On this past trip, it really allowed me to be present with my loved ones and to treasure the time with them and to feel grateful to have time with them, rather than being in a reactive state.
Most importantly, it has actually helped me feel really clear and confident that I know who I am. And no matter what happens and no matter what circumstances I’m in, I know how to be myself. So today I wanted to share a few important lessons I’ve learned along the way, that might also be able to help you if you are struggling with the same challenge.
The first thing that I learned, and that is really important, is I’ve stopped outsourcing my self-worth to my family’s opinion of me. This is the mistake I always used to make. I really wanted their approval for everything. Now, these days, my family doesn’t know a ton about my coaching work, although they’re curious. And the last time when I was there, my dad actually wanted to know what I was doing when he heard me on coaching calls with my clients. And I have to say it was so sweet that he was so curious. I shared and talked about how I help people with their intuition and with their purpose, and he actually really understood that. He’s like, “That’s a really important thing because otherwise you go through life without really…, you just do it automatically. Like what? You just take a job and go?” And I was like, yeah, that is exactly right. And so we had this really beautiful conversation about it. But if they don’t understand, and I would say when I was younger, I often would feel stressed. What if they don’t approve of what I’m doing? What if they don’t think that it’s interesting or impactful? And that used to really give me a lot of anxiety. But now if they don’t understand or like it, it doesn’t faze me. Not only because, let’s just be real, I don’t have a very traditional job, and I don’t have a very traditional pathway.
Those of you who are new and listening, I was a journalist, and then I was a yoga teacher, and now I’m an entrepreneur and a coach. So I haven’t had a very traditional journey, but I’m also not fazed. And this is very important. If people are not interested in what I do, isn’t that always a tough time when people don’t pay attention, or ask you about what you do for work, or the places where you tend to source your self-worth? I am more than my job, so I’m totally happy to be an ā yí, which is Chinese for auntie, to go to the library with my niece, and to hang out and not be identified in any way.
I don’t care if people know that I’m a leader, that I have books or have been on television. I don’t care about that stuff. I don’t care if people know that I’m married or not. And I don’t care if they know how I spend my time, like, what I love to do, lift weights or do yoga or dance. I don’t care if they know any of those things, because those are all things that I do. They are not who I am. I am clear in who I am. And I long ago have gotten very comfortable in being myself, everywhere that I go. So when you have that energy of not needing to prove who you are, you don’t care if people are interested or not, and I include my family in that sentiment.
It’s not that I don’t care to be connected with them. It’s just not fundamental to the conversations and experience that I have with them. I’m simply present and I’m myself. And that, to me, is the most important thing I want to have around my family. So for you, if you’re waiting for approval, and the approval could be from parents or from a sibling, or from a cousin or an aunt or an uncle, or wanting every last relative or person you see at a party to be impressed by what you do, or to congratulate you on a promotion, or to say, “Oh, wow, I heard about this latest cool thing that you did!” You might want to spend some time here and be curious about why you care so much about what they think about how you spend your time, and the things that you do. You might want to start looking at what you believe about who you are and your self-worth, and why other people’s opinions have power over you, that those opinions impact how you feel about yourself.
When you stop outsourcing your self-worth to anybody, family or otherwise, you are really clear and confident and can be yourself in all circumstances. I want to be me everywhere that I go. That if you ran into me in the street, I would be the same as if you saw me at a party or ran into me at the gym, or were hanging out with me and having a drink, any of those things. I want to always be myself, everywhere.
Okay. So then this leads me to the next mistake I used to make, which is, I did not regulate my nervous system. So I was working in that week that I spent with my dad, and I really was purposeful every day, about doing things that supported me. I previously would spend time with my family, and I actually didn’t do any of these things. I didn’t do anything that regulated my nervous system, that would leave me clear and grounded.
In this past week, I had some practices. I have elevated energy practices. I went for walks really consistently. I prioritized going to the gym, and I set a schedule that actually really worked for me, and I got a lot of sleep. You can listen to other episodes that share more; there was one just a couple of weeks ago that’s all about regulating your nervous system during the holidays, and I’ll share that. I find when I regulate my nervous system, even if people want me to do other things (and this is leading into the next one), I always prioritize regulating my nervous system so that I can be present, grounded and loving. Because if I am anxious, if I am stressed, which is how I used to always feel around my family, I would get wound up, I would get upset. Like, little things would bother me, they would make comments which would not just roll off my back. It would ruffle my feathers. I would just get worked up and then I would start to pick fights, I would get upset, we would have breakdowns, or I’d do silent treatments, whatever. I would do things that I never was very proud of, and really the worst version of this for me is I would go into deep people-pleasing, and make sure everything was taken care of. I was going to the store, I was running around for everybody, and if I was going into that deep people-pleasing, it typically meant that I wasn’t taking care of myself. And I would sacrifice the things that made me feel good, and when I don’t take care of myself around my family, I find myself actually wanting to spend less time with them, which is not my goal.
So if this is you, where you are not wanting to spend time with your family, where you’re dreading time with them, even if you’re flying distances to see them, or they’re flying to see you, and then you’re wanting them to leave your house as soon as possible, or you’re wanting to get out. This is a really important place to look. Why aren’t you spending time to get connected and clear with yourself before you spend time with them? If you can’t wait until it’s over, this is a place to be curious. And I’m not talking about every family dynamic by the way, there’s a lot of different circumstances and time with them, but you’re still struggling to have a really good experience with them, this is the place to be curious. This is the place to investigate. Particularly if you go for like a ten-day holiday stretch. You’re eating things like lots of sugar, lots of alcohol, not sleeping that well, lots of rich foods, and you’re not taking care of yourself. And then you’re wondering why you’re grumpy and you’re wondering why you’re so irritable, and you can’t handle it and you can’t wait to get home? This is the place to start to investigate. Why am I not taking care of myself? Why am I not regulating my nervous system consistently, even when I’m traveling or when people are traveling to see me?
Okay. And then this leads me to the third piece. Because when you regulate your nervous system and you’re grounded and clear, this allows you to skip my mistake, which was not setting boundaries with my family. I was the queen of not setting boundaries with my family, for a very long time. If you struggle to set boundaries with family, by the way, make sure you always start with number one and look at self-worth. You really need to be super anchored in your own worth and value to start to set boundaries. If you are just trying to set boundaries without doing the work on self-worth, start again with number one. When you do have self-worth, when you have really anchored into who you are, that is when you can set clear, firm boundaries. These can be the most challenging things for people to do. Setting boundaries can feel really difficult with family.
You may feel guilty because you traveled to see them or they traveled to see you, so you think you should spend 24/7 with them. Or there are plans all day long, like you’re super scheduled out, and so you don’t set any boundaries, even though you know that you’re going to need them. You’re afraid that if you skip out, someone might judge you or think less of you, or you might even be worried that they’ll be offended if you set a boundary. All of these things can crop up for anybody in a boundary setting situation, and particularly with family, it can get pretty potent.
So one thing I have learned over time, is if I do not set boundaries, there’s a long-term effect and impact. And that long-term effect is I feel I am sacrificing who I am. And that feels awful. It feels like I am giving up myself because I am just letting things go. I’m letting things slide. I’m saying yes to something that doesn’t actually work for me, and it feels horrible. So I’ll give you an example. In this week that I was gone, it was my birthday. And during that time, I was asked a few times to do things that I didn’t want to do, because on my birthday, it’s important for me to celebrate myself, to honor myself, and to do things that really work for me. So during those times, when I was asked to do other things, I said no. I said no, that doesn’t work for me. I’m doing other things instead.
I’m going to be honest, it’s not easy for me to say no, because I want to support people. I want to help people. I also knew that if I said yes, and I didn’t do the things I wanted to do, I would be resentful, and that would be nobody’s fault except my own, and I did not want to have an experience where I felt resentful. And that’s actually a big reason I set boundaries. I don’t want to feel resentful or angry or mad or hold a grudge against somebody because they didn’t respect a boundary that I didn’t set right. If they don’t respect it, it’s because I didn’t set it. And if I set it and then they don’t respect it, that’s something for me to look at, to reinforce as well. So in that time, I really was looking at it. And also, by the way, this is almost a step ahead, you have to even go back a step before that to say, what do I need? And I asked myself that question many times over the course of the week, like, what do I need? And then I would set that boundary every time if I needed to go to the gym, to stay regulated in my nervous system, to support my clients, I chose that. Sometimes I made adjustments. I’m not saying I was rigid about it, but I was really clear. If I didn’t adhere to it, it was really clear if there was a reason for it.
I made up for it in other ways though. For example, there was a Halloween night, and that was really fun. So I went out for Halloween, and then afterwards, I made dinner for my dad and I, then went for a walk to help myself regulate again. So we’re always just looking. We’re not here to say boundaries are the only way, but really, to be clear, clarity is so essential and so important in the circumstances. Because I set those boundaries in advance, while I was there, I had a really beautiful birthday. I really enjoyed myself, spent time with everybody in my family and had a really great time. I had the best birthday I could possibly have. And that is what’s possible when you set the boundaries. I was present. I was grounded. I was joyful. And those are all the things I really desire deep down for my experience with my family.
So if you are struggling to have that experience, if you’re feeling like you’re stressed by them or you feel anxious or don’t know how to handle them, this is also an interesting place for you to look at what boundaries you need to set with the family? And if you are struggling to feel like you can even set those boundaries, look at the work you can do on your own self-worth journey, in terms of valuing yourself so that you can actually start to set those boundaries for yourself? It’s just a really interesting place to look. It is a powerful journey to take. So if this resonates with you and you’re like, “Yes, I know that it’s time for me to start to look at that”. Take a moment, send me a DM on Instagram, and let me know what spoke to you first about this episode. I would love to hear what you’re seeing for yourself, because once you start to put these things into practice, it’s really cool what starts to open up.
My client, Kim, used the self-worth system, and really, it made a huge difference when she was moving into retirement. It’s helped her because her husband was going through a severe sickness, and it actually allowed her to both manage what was going on with him, and her own emotional state, and then also to still pursue her own goals at the same time. It was so lovely for her to say, “Oh, wow, challenge can come into my life, and I know how to handle it. And then I also still know how to forward my life”. It was a really beautiful pairing together.
If you are listening and you know you want to rewire your self-worth using the self-worth system so you can step into a future and a life that you always dreamed of, make sure to DM me ‘worthy’ on Instagram.
All right, everyone, thank you so much for such a powerful episode. I’m so grateful to be here with all of you whenever you are listening to this. I hope you have the most joyous and beautiful holidays with your families and the people that you love. Thank you so much for tuning into today’s episode. Before you go, don’t forget, if you are a high-achieving woman who wants to uncover your biggest blind spots preventing fast intuitive decisions, I’ve got a 72-second assessment for you, so make sure to DM me ‘quiz’ at Nicole Tsong on Instagram and thank you for being here and for listening. We read every note that we get from you about how the podcast is making a difference in your life. Please know how much we appreciate each and every one of you. Until next time, I’m Nicole Tsong and this is the School of Self-Worth.