Hi lovely ones Welcome to Episode 38. I’m honoured to share with you today a conversation that I had with Nikki McCann on her podcast called The Dear Mama Project. Nikki is a matrix science educator and women’s life cycle guide. The Dear Mama Project is a space that she created to help women becoming mothers have a soft landing place to explore their own transformation in this new maternal world that we find ourselves in when we have kidlets. Nikki and I spoke about worthiness and how we define our self worth when we become mothers, and self kindness and self kindness practices that we can integrate into our daily habits to be able to come back to ourselves, especially during the initial periods of motherhood. I loved this conversation, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Nikki: In today’s episode, I’m going to be chatting with Dr. Rebecca Ray. Rebecca is an author and a clinical psychologist, her message centres on the task of living bravely in the truth of our experiences as finders and seekers of meaning and connection. Rebecca has been a clinical psychologist for the best part of two decades, and is the creator of radical courage, transforming fear into freedom, a digital journey for humans ready for their brave inspired life.
Nikki: She is the author of The Art of self kindness, the universe listens to the brave and be happy 35 powerful habits for personal growth and well being Rebecca can be found online daily interacting with her community and about finding courage and living expensive lives while going gently on yourselves. And isn’t that a message we could all get behind? Before we get into today’s episode, I want to just say a massive thank you to everyone who has subscribed to the podcast or left a written review on iTunes. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear how the podcast has impacted you or helped you in your day to day life.
Nikki: As you know, I’m so passionate about supporting mums and giving them the tools and the resources and the support that they need to really nurture themselves so that they can be in the best possible position to naturally families. And being able to hear your personal stories and the feedback of how you’ve been able to integrate what we’re talking about on the podcast into your own life. It really keeps me going and keeps me motivated, because it helps me understand the real life impact that this is creating. So thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to leave a written review. I really appreciate it.
Nikki: If you are loving the podcast the best way you can support me and the message that I am here to deliver is to subscribe to the podcast and to leave a written review on iTunes. Both of those things actually work with the apple podcast algorithm gods to show the podcast to more moms who would potentially benefit from this information. So if you could take a few minutes to do those two things, I would be so grateful. And yeah, as I said, I love hearing how you have been able to apply this to your life. So thank you for taking the time to do that.
Nikki: From time to time I love to share one of the reviews that have been left with you just as a way to say thank you. And today’s review is from Jackie zero dying to and she says Wow, I have been searching for podcasts for mothers since I had my daughter 10 months ago. And finally here it is tackling some big topics that will resonate with all months, Nikki gets real and gives us her own real life experiences and practical advice for all of us in the same boat. Gorgeous, intelligent guest speakers to amazing work. Thank you. Thank you so much Jackie.
Nikki: It just you’ve got no idea how happy it makes me to receive messages like that because honestly, it was pretty daunting when I first started doing Mama. The idea of sharing, you know intimate things about my own motherhood journey. But I do do it because I feel like that there’s so much power in sharing our stories and sharing our vulnerable moments.
Nikki: And that can be such a powerful connecting force between us. And I always love that saying one day, your story will become someone else’s Survival Guide. And that is definitely what has kept me going when I’ve had those real vulnerability hangover moments. So thank you so much. I really appreciate your message, Jackie. So last message before we get into today’s podcast, alignment, 2020 is currently open, but it is closing this week. So the course officially starts on the 18th of November, which means I’m closing off enrollment on the 17th of November.
Nikki: So this is your last week to decide to join me on this journey of self discovery and getting super clear about who you are. What’s most important to you. And what you want for yourself for 2020. and beyond. The line in 2020 will take you through a process of understanding what your true values are identifying where you living out of alignment with your values, and what is most important to you, redefining your definition of success setting goals and visions for your future and moving towards them without burnout. It’s a four week course that you will do, you do get lifetime access to all of the material though.
Nikki: So you can always complete it in your own time, or refer back to it whenever you need. You will have access to me as your teacher during that time. And you’ll also join a community of other beautiful moms who are during this course with you. And we have our own private closed Facebook group where we can talk about the training, talk about what we’re going through what we want for our future, you can connect with like minded women and that community will be there to support you as you go about implementing these new exciting things for 2020.
Nikki: This is who you are, if you’re feeling like you’re out of alignment, you’re stuck not quite sure what you want to call into your life or what you want to let go of. I’m your teacher in the course so you have access to me. If you’re interested in dreaming alignment 2020. I will link to the course information in the show notes. The Doors do shot on the 17th of November. If you have any questions about the course Feel free to flick me a DM I am at dm mama project and I can answer any questions he have. Okay, let’s jump into today’s episode.
Nikki: Hi, Rebecca, thank you so much for joining me.
Rebecca: Thanks for having me, Nikki.
Nikki: I’m so excited to have you on the podcast. I’ve been following you on social media for some time. And I just absolutely relate to everything that you talk about. And I feel like you’ve got such an inspiring message that our mums really going to connect with.
Nikki: So yeah, thank you so much for your time and being here today.
Rebecca: Thank you.
Nikki: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to becoming a clinical psychologist and now to becoming an author, speaker and educator.
Rebecca: Sure. Not a linear story. I wish it was a simple story, I decided that I wanted to be a psychologist when I was about 15. I remember being in grade 10. And thinking that studying psychology would be pretty cool because it would explain to me how and why humans did what they do.
Rebecca: And so I left school and went straight into uni studying psychology. And then somewhere in my undergrad, I also started learning to fly. So I got waylaid a little bit and decided that I was going to become a pilot for cuantas or ancestry at the time. And so I did a whole heap of Flying Training until it took me some time, some years of a lot of money and a lot of hours in the air to figure out that flying wasn’t the best fit for me as a human being.
Rebecca: And also as someone that just has some non negotiable needs for routine and knowing what’s going to happen next. And flying is not the best career if that’s what you want. But also it’s um, wasn’t a great time in aviation in Australia for women. So I was sexually harassed and had some quite uncomfortable situations with men occur.
Rebecca: And those types of things generally just contributed to push me away from flying and back to psychology. So I never left psychology altogether. I was still studying at the time. And then I went on to do my doctorate and entered psychology as a registered psychologist and quickly learned that studying for psychology, studying psychology for eight years doesn’t guarantee that you’ll figure out exactly why humans do what they do.
Rebecca: I mean, it helps, but it’s not a guarantee. And so then I was in private practice for about eight years, I guess not I worked for the Government as well. And I spent a lot of time treating police and military personnel, and specialised in PTSD and trauma.
Rebecca: And I ended up doing so much of it that despite the fact that I loved it, I ended up getting really quite emotionally burnt out. And so I came to a place where I had to make a decision about how could I continue to live by my values of contributing to the world in a meaningful way.
Rebecca: And I did that through helping people, but do it in such a way that it wasn’t going to damage my spirit. And so, here we are, I stepped back from clinical work and stepped into the digital space. And I’ve been finding my feet here ever since.
Nikki: And you have in that time, written some books and launched programmes. So that’s sort of primarily how you connect and spread your message. Is that right?
Rebecca: Yeah, that’s right. I’m sorry, I forgot you asked about the books. Um, I that’s a really long answer to answer just one part of your question. Sorry. I, I always wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl, I really wanted to be a writer, but I never thought it would happen.
Rebecca: And I never even knew how to make it happen. And it was just as a result of actually being online and developing a following online. That I ended up being able to connect with the publisher and I published be happy 35 powerful habits for personal growth and well being in was that last year? Oh, my goodness, I can’t remember how to I had a baby last year. So I don’t I don’t remember anything else that happened last
Nikki: It’s all a blur, yeah?
Rebecca: And then the universe listens to brave and the art of self kindness were also released this year. And so it’s through my books, and through my online presence, and now through my online courses, as well that I get to connect with people and I guess, pass on some kind of meaningful message that way.
Nikki: That’s amazing. And I think it’s, you know, it gives you an opportunity to have such a bigger impact when you do work in the online space, and you can spread your message. So far, and social media is so amazing for that.
Rebecca: It really is. And I you know, I was so hesitant to get on social media, Nikki, I mean, I was one of these people that I never had a Facebook profile even until about 2015.
Rebecca: I think the only reason I got one, and I got it very reluctantly, the only reason I set one out was because my wife is a musician, and I wanted to share her stuff to help her share her material and in the world. And, and then when I decided to step into the online space, I was like, Oh, he’s serious, does this mean I actually have to do social media.
Rebecca: And so I started doing social media in this really kind of hidden way, I guess I started under a brand, not under my own name. And I didn’t have any information that was personal on the pages whatsoever. And in the end, it just felt really inauthentic. And I just couldn’t, couldn’t do it.
Rebecca: Anyone can show up like that, because I didn’t feel like I was showing up at all. And I thought if I if I’m really going to have any kind of hope of continuing to make a difference in some kind of powerful way, I have to do it as me I can’t do it as any other brand. And then so I started my personal page. No, sorry, my brand pages in Rebecca Ray.
Nikki: Yeah, it’s amazing. And I feel like you’re so right, like people love to connect with who you are and your story. And I think that’s something that you do really well in terms of, you know, storytelling and sharing your own personal experiences as well.
Rebecca: Thank you, I try to I try to include, I guess snippets of personal stuff, so that people do feel like they know me and do feel connected to me in amongst sharing stuff that I think will be educational and also helpful. It’s kind of a, it’s an interesting balance.
Rebecca: You know, sometimes I catch myself going, oh, maybe I should talk about something personal. But I’m not interesting. What would people want to know? And so I sometimes really have to think good and hard about what to say. And then in fact, I think that stuff’s harder to write than anything I write about psychological concepts, you know?
Nikki: Yes, so true. For anyone who’s listening who wants to go and check you out. While they’re listening to episode you’re @Rebecca, Dr.RebeccaRay is that right?
Rebecca: That’s right @Dr.RebeccaRay on all the platforms.
Nikki: Okay, perfect. So I have heard you talk about some of the biggest issues that you have seen in your journey and with, you know, working as a psychologist and now with this in this sort of digital space as well.
Nikki: I’ve heard you talk about the biggest issues being a lack of self worth and also fear. Can you explain a little bit about self worth and fear and how they can how that can manifest in your life.
Rebecca: Yeah, sure. That’s, I guess, in my experience of putting my message out for a few years now, that’s what’s come back to me. And it’s certainly what’s reflected in my clinical practice as well.
Rebecca: If I put aside the actual clinical presentation, so I’m not talking about PTSD or, or severe and chronic depression, or a specific anxiety disorders like OCD and things like that I’m talking about generalised suffering that we have as human beings, the most common types of suffering that I see people struggle with, is fear.
Rebecca: So something is stopping me from doing the things that I really want to do, and self worth. And, for me, the relationship between those two things is that fear is the manifestation of somebody struggle with a sense of worthiness.
Rebecca: So if people, not people, let’s talk on an individual level, because it’s easiest to relate to, if you feel like, you’re not good enough, if you feel like your relationship with yourself is fragile, and not characterised by nurturing, and instead, perhaps characterised by self criticism, and focusing on mistakes and all your imperfections, then how that tends to play out is through fear.
Rebecca: Fear of judgement, fear of showing up face a fear of being your authentic self, fear of giving yourself permission to just go out into the world and do your thing. There’s so many different types of fear, fear of not having approval, fear of being rejected fear of being abandoned. And all those things sit on a foundation of wobbly worthiness within Oh, my goodness, I did not mean for that level of alliteration at the end there. You got the point, though?
Nikki: I thought it I got it. I got it. Yeah, it’s um, it’s such a big thing. I’ve actually, it’s something that I’ve been sort of working through myself. And I’ve shared that with my community, because for me, I’ve had some stuff happened when I was younger, and then motherhood was a massive catalyst for me, I guess, kind of uncovering some of those worthiness issues. And do you find it happens in childhood? Is that sort of typically where these wounds are formed?
Rebecca: Yes, but can I just clarify what I mean by that? So when, when we say something occurs in childhood, it can still come from a number of a number of avenues. So most people would think, Oh, well, then everything’s my parents fault. And that I’m not definitely not saying that I am saying that, yes, there is a strong chance that whatever wounds your primary caregivers, which is your parents, or whoever is looking after you carry, there’s a strong chance that in some way, they will play out in the parenting relationship that you experienced as a childhood, as a child, sorry.
Rebecca: But it can also come when we’re talking about self-worth. And particularly for women, it can also come from the culture that we’re raised in.
Rebecca: So we’re sitting here in Western culture right now. And Western culture is defined by, you know, big corporates making money off women feeling unworthy. And we don’t have to be very old at all, or be very far through our childhood at all before we start to become cognizant of the ways that we don’t measure up and how we might need to patch up those things that we see as imperfections in order to be worthy.
Rebecca: And so once we start developing those stories in childhood, they just continue to affect our experiences, colour our experiences, and be scripts that we live into unconscious scripts that drive us. So we don’t necessarily know that they’re there until we do some work, to be able to identify them. And by work, I mean, you might read a self help book, or you might go It doesn’t need to be full blown formal therapy, although that’s really helpful.
Rebecca: And then, as we get into adolescence, shaped further and then into adulthood, we tend to play out these scripts that are existing within us whether or not we know about it.
Nikki: It’s amazing, isn’t it? Once you start sort of, I guess, scratching the surface and questioning some of the things that we do or the thoughts that we think and then you can see how these patents are playing out is that sort of the first step in inhaling issues around worthiness is just the awareness that there is a wound there.
Rebecca: Absolutely. Awareness is the first step in everything. And I’m sure my people get sick of hearing me say because it can be really crappy. And so you know, like, when somebody comes to you and says, What, what’s the answer to my pain and you start with Well, let’s just unwrap it a little bit and make sure that we know What’s there can be incredibly frustrating.
Rebecca: People want relief, they want a band aid, they want some kind of certainty that they can move past it and not have that pain again. And yet unfortunately, because we’re human beings, we are biologically wired to be so concerned about belonging and fitting in, that it’s likely that all of us in some form or another will have some kind of I’m not good enough story for the rest of our lives.
Nikki: Wow, that’s a bit daunting.
Rebecca: It is daunting. But let me clarify that before, this gets really depressing, I just leave you with bad news. It’s not, it doesn’t have to be something that holds you captive.
Rebecca: It’s more something to be aware of that we’re always driven to compare with others, we’re always driven to make sure that we’re somehow keeping up what we’re somehow measuring up. And that those kind of drives in those kind of thoughts are likely should be present for as long as we think, for as long as we’re capable of thinking.
Rebecca: And so I guess one of my values is transparency and honesty. And I never want to set people up for failure in terms of having some kind of expectation that you can completely get rid of that. Instead, what you can do is focus on being able to nurture your relationship with yourself.
Rebecca: Because certainly, the more you nurture your relationship with yourself, and the more you spend time doing that kind of healing on how you relate to yourself, the stronger the foundations of your self worth get. And the less power the I’m not good enough story has over you.
Rebecca: So the unknown goodness story might still be there. But it doesn’t necessarily wield the same power over you when it comes to your decision making in your choices.
Nikki: That’s amazing. And I think, you know, that’s going back to the point around awareness, even just being able to go, Oh, hold on a second. This is a story. I’m telling myself because of this.
Nikki: And I’m going to choose not to buy into that or not let that control what my next step is going to be or the action that I want to take. I think, yeah, I think that’s a really awesome tip. I’ve also heard you talk about the importance or the benefits of writing in terms of healing, something else that you find is helpful for this sort of work.
Rebecca: Yeah, it can be incredibly helpful, especially if you spend time writing about this kind of stuff. So it’s not just writing about anything. But if you sit down and you spend time writing about what kind of stories come up for you what you’ve noticed how you relate to yourself, and then you can translate that into our healing work of yourself worth by doing things like writing yourself a letter of forgiveness, or writing yourself a letter of gratitude.
Rebecca: And these things have an impact for a number, what number of ways not just emotionally, but they also have an impact on the brain. So when you spend time picking up a pen, it kind of works with typing as well. But when you hand write, it’s slower. And so what happens is it forces your thoughts to slow down to kind of match the pace of your writing.
Rebecca: And that’s a really helpful thing for processing. what it also does is it engages the left prefrontal cortex in the brain, which is the part of the brain that’s responsible for all the smart stuff that we do logical rational thinking and problem solving.
Rebecca: And so when you engage that part of the brain, if you’re writing about something really emotional, like forgiving yourself, it really helps, excuse me, it really helps to be able to calm the emotional part of your brain down so that it doesn’t take over and you can’t, or you literally can’t think straight when your emotional brain has control.
Nikki: It’s an amazing, amazing tool, then I guess, for all of us to kind of use if you wanted to get started with something like that around, sort of trying to get some of these stories out into a piece of paper. Are there any other any specific formulas you can use? Or is it just sort of freewriting,
Rebecca: I do whatever fits for you. But my encouragement would be don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to write for a long time. So just give yourself like a 10 minute exercise, go somewhere where you’re not going to be interrupted, preferably somewhere that you feel quite inspired.
Rebecca: So might be somewhere with a nice view or might be your favourite chair in the room in the house where you feel nice and safe. And then just spend time writing what comes up if you prefer some kind of structure, you can always use the writing a letter to yourself structure and that will often bring up the stories that you’re trying to identify.
Rebecca: Particularly if you’re writing to your younger self. That’s one of my favourite exercises, to write back to your younger self what you what you wish she had have heard at the time.
Nikki: That’s really powerful. Really, really powerful. The inner child work I think is very, like bond vulnerable, but I feel like it would be quite healing as well.
Rebecca: It’s very, very useful, very powerful.
Nikki: We talk a lot on the podcast about mature essence and the experience of becoming a mother. And I mentioned before, for me there was I felt like I has had was covering had created a sort of an armour I could wear to protect wounds that I was caring about around worthiness, you know, I had a particular career that I’d attached my identity to I had, you know, a particular social circle, going to the gym, all of these things, and then motherhood is sort of like this catalyst that removes a lot of those exterior things that you might be attaching your identity to, or your sense of worthiness to has, have you seen that motherhood specifically can be a time when some of these worthiness wounds come out and can be, I guess, an opportunity to start healing this for, for the for yourself.
Rebecca: For me personally, for me, personally, it’s been an interesting experience. In terms of my relationship with myself, sorry, I just had to pause to divide that in my brain and think, no, hold on a second, I’m talking about my relationship with myself, not my relationship with my son.
Rebecca: Because my relationship with my son has been one of the most magnificent things that I’ve ever experienced a world that I have ever experienced in life. And it was totally unexpected. I didn’t know motherhood would be the scourge.
Rebecca: But my relationship with much with myself was so severely challenged because of a traumatic pregnancy, a huge amount of weight gain because of the physical trauma that I experienced. And being able to then come to a place where, number one, I didn’t recognise my body.
Rebecca: And then number two, having to reconcile who I was inside that body with a body that had essentially caused me so much pain and anger, and fear for so long. And so this time, this period of time, I think, for me, having a son was very confrontational in terms of not being lazy in my relationship with myself.
Rebecca: So rather than just giving up and going well, it’s all too hard and just self sabotaging and giving into what would be unworkable habits that I might have done previously. For me, it’s been a real kick to go, Oh, no, hold on a second, there is someone else involved here.
Rebecca: There is someone else that is watching everything you do, and someone else that is soon going to be able to verbalise what you’re doing. And so for me, it really was a centering experience where I’ve been able to come and almost fully transform my relationship with myself to reconcile it.
Rebecca: At any weight, I don’t, I don’t care about my weight. Now, my, the number on the scale doesn’t make any difference to me what I care about these hills, and how aligned I am in my values in terms of what I want my son to see. So for me, it’s it’s not, it’s not been a case of bring about wounds that I wasn’t aware of in the first place, it’s more been, oh, my goodness, I didn’t expect to have this shocking kind of rupture in my relationship with myself as a result of the pregnancy experience, and then have to deal with it in the, in the time of raising a tiny person who’s completely dependent.
Rebecca: So it’s been both challenging, but also just profound in in having a child and that being the focus of No, you. There’s, there’s no getting out of this now you need to come back and do the work on right now. Before he can speak right now. Come on, we’re on a time that you need to get this sorted.
Rebecca: So that what what you’re modelling is consistent with the values that you want to show to someone who’s only got you to be able to learn from and by you, I mean, my wife as well, but I had him so you know, it’s it’s one of those very emotional experiences, I think.
Nikki: Definitely. And as he said, I think it’s a real push to to heal those wounds and to make sure that you’re modelling the values that you want him to see into to witness as he grows out.
Nikki: We do talk a lot about as well that it is a transformative experience. It’s that time of becoming a mom. And as you said, you know, it’s shocking when it happens. But then there’s that opportunity for healing. And it sounds like that was what you experienced as well.
Rebecca: Yeah, I think motherhood has been healing in so many ways that I didn’t expect. But that’s because I also signed up to do the work. So I have obviously, this is the work that I do all day long.
Rebecca: So I have a lot of awareness. That doesn’t mean that I’m always good at getting out of my own way, though. I’m still human. And so I guess one of the things that I really wanted to focus on is, who am I now? And what does that mean for how I’m going to relate to myself and what I’m what I’m going to move forward with for my future self.
Nikki: We, in terms of, you know, becoming a mom, and obviously, you’re right in the thick of it now yourself as well. We talk a lot about how, as moms, there’s so much that happens, it is out of our control, and that we need to sort of surrender sometimes in practice six, practice acceptance, what sort of tools and strategies or advice would you have around practising acceptance?
Rebecca: It depends what you’re accepting. But overall, I think the most effective thing I can leave listeners with is to understand the definition of acceptance. So the definition of acceptance, as we talk about it in psychology is different to the dictionary definition of acceptance, the dictionary definition of acceptance would say that it means that you are okay or with whatever it is that we’re talking about accepting, it means that you approve of it that you potentially want it.
Rebecca: The psychological definition of acceptance means that you’ve just stopped resisting. So it doesn’t mean that you want it or that you approve of it, or that you like the circumstances, or the internal experiences, the thoughts, feelings, body sensations, memories, doesn’t mean that you like or want any of this stuff.
Rebecca: Or that you have to like it or want it or get to a place where you’re completely okay with it. What it means is that you choose to conserve your energy for focusing on the things that you can control directly, which is your actions. And so in order to retain your energy for those things, it’s about not giving your energy to struggling with just what is and kind of translate that into something tangible because I sound like I’m talking from a textbook Sorry, no good.
Rebecca: When, when we make this tangible, it’s kind of helpful to attach it to a story. One of the things that I’ve struggled with his sister and I both work from home, she’s a musician. And obviously, I’m a writer. And so we both work from home and Bennett is in daycare three days a week, and that we don’t live near family. And that leaves not much time, the rest of the time when you have a 19 month old who’s likes a lot of company and likes a lot of engaged activity as decent 19 year olds do.
Rebecca: And so one of the things that we have both struggled with is just not having as much time as what we previously did to be able to get our stuff done, get our work done, move forward with projects as quickly as we once would have. And so when we apply acceptance to that, I don’t necessarily like it’s this duality, right? I don’t like the fact that I can’t get things done with these huge chunks of uninterrupted time that I used to have.
Rebecca: But I do love mothering. So those two things coexist. I don’t like the symptom of it. The fact that it affects my schedule, but I love mothering. And so I accept that this is also just a period of time, and he will become more independent and our circumstances will change where we won’t be quite so busy as what we are now, like you say in the thick of it on from all sides.
Rebecca: And so acceptance is that you don’t have to necessarily like the situation but you stop resisting it, and then be okay with just what it is right now. And so for me, that means writing less things on my my to do list each day.
Rebecca: It means checking in with this to make sure that she’s getting the stuff done that she needs to get done so that we’re both getting at least a reasonable amount done to be satisfied, but we’ve changed our expectations dramatically. And that’s based on acceptance.
Nikki: I absolutely love that example. And particularly talking about how you can love mothering, but then not like the symptom of it, because I feel like that can be really hard to reconcile, particularly when you’re first, you know, becoming a mom, and you’re like, I love that I’m a mom, and I love my child.
Nikki: But I’m really struggling with this part. And I feel like there’s a lot of pressure on on moms to enjoy everything. And I feel like there’s so much power and just saying you can love mothering, but not like not having any time, or not having enough time, you know, that you can have both of those feelings at once. I think that’s really powerful.
Rebecca: And it’s just so human, this is what we are, as humans were so many things at once, not just one or the other. And I don’t think that anything that sends you a message that tells you that you should feel a certain way about anything, let alone mothering is helpful.
Nikki: 100%. And that can be I think we do get a lot of messages around around how motherhood should be. So it can be quite a confusing time.
Rebecca: Oh, I totally agree. And I think this is where working on your self worth, because part of self worth is being able to show up as your authentic self. So really getting to know who you are.
Rebecca: That helps so much when it comes to being able to mother based on your needs and your child’s needs and what you’re told, sorry, rather than what you’re told from some kind of outside source, even if that outside sources close to you.
Rebecca: I know Sarah and I were just having this discussion last night, actually, my mum has a tendency to just let she has no filter. And she just lets words come out of my mouth that she wants would have sent to my brother and I when we were kids, her intentions aren’t bad. But she uses language that we don’t like.
Rebecca: So she has a tendency that whenever Bennett is just exploring the world, or what I would consider exploring the world to call him a brat. And, and neither is and so we have discussions with her around, you know, the impact of that, and why that’s not acceptable to us. And this is coming from someone I love dearly, and also someone who’s one of my best friends.
Rebecca: So my mum is definitely one of my best friends. And yet, when you have a strong sense of self worth, and you get clear on who you are, as well as who you are, as a mother, it really helps to be able to come back to No, actually, this is what how I’m going to do it. And this is what works for me.
Rebecca: And then, you know, the more you work on the foundations of your sense of worthiness, the easier it is to be able to put those boundaries in place when they’re challenged by other people, even if other people are not doing not challenging those boundaries intentionally.
Nikki: And that’s so true. It’s not always intentional. Sometimes it’s, you know, that they don’t mean to be but it’s just different, different ways of being in the world, that might not match up to your values and
Rebecca: what you want for yourself and your family, absolutely different ways of being in the world, different capacities for language. So not everyone has a language to be able to express themselves, that’s broad. And so they just use the same words that they might have used a generation ago. And different levels of acceptance, but also different levels of anxiety.
Rebecca: So one of the things I think that is that I’ve realised in my experience is I’m a lot calmer with my child than other people are with my child. So it except for daycare who just angels on this earth.
Rebecca: But I find that when we’re with any kind of extended family, there are a lot more worried about Bennett’s safety than this, or I would be because we’re with him all the time. So we know what’s going to happen. And we therefore just relate to him differently and relate to the circumstances differently around whatever is happening.
Rebecca: And it’s helpful to be mindful that not everyone has that experience around your child and therefore their higher levels of anxiety might cause them to behave in a certain way. That is not intentional at all, but it’s actually driven from the need to protect and be okay. Hmm,
Nikki: it’s a really interesting point, actually, because sometimes we don’t sort of look behind the reason why they might be doing that. And there could be other things, you know, going on for them.
Rebecca: How people generally behave is a projection of how they’re feeling about themselves or what they’re experiencing. That’s Yeah, that’s Yeah,
Nikki: Thank you for that because I think sometimes we do need That reminder, especially with, you’re dealing with parenting across generations and things like that, as well, it’s quite a lot of quite a lot of differences between generations of parenting. And sometimes that can cause friction.
Rebecca: So different, so different. But also, I try to be really respectful of it, because I think, Wow, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, you know, my parents didn’t have the internet, they didn’t have Google to be able to find an entire forum at one o’clock in the morning that’s talking about sore nipples, to be able to see that other people are experiencing this true. Oh, thank God, I’m not alone, you know.
Rebecca: And they essentially just had to do it on their own and figure it out themselves. And I just think about that and think, Wow, like, You did such a good job with what you had. And I totally respect how you face the roadblocks and found a way around them. And you managed to produce pretty well rounded children like congratulations. But in today’s day and age, I’m doing it differently.
Nikki: Yeah, so true. When we’re talking about self worth, as well, yeah, I think another thing that comes up for moms is around self care and putting giving themselves time or permission to do things that are just for them. And for looking after their well being. That Do you find that that also comes can come down to self worth, like people, mums, feeling like maybe they’re not deserving of that sort of time?
Rebecca: Yeah, absolutely. And I was actually just gonna say time. So some people listening might say, No, it’s not self worth, it’s just that I don’t have time. But what’s behind not making time is self worth. So I, I don’t think I’ve ever been this busy in my life, or this efficient. I mean, I’ve always been pretty time efficient. But I’ve never been quite this efficient.
Rebecca: Now, I have such limited uninterrupted time in my life. But how you choose to use that time is then based on self worth. And I think it can be so easy to fall into this trap of only being okay, or giving yourself permission to use the time if it’s considered productive.
Rebecca: And I put in productive, you can’t see, but I’m doing air quotes. Because we make these decisions about what’s productive, based on what society says is productive. But sometimes the most productive thing you can do is lie on the bed and read your favourite book, you know, and into how we make that choice is based on our self worth, and comes back to our understanding also of the power of rest.
Rebecca: So some people don’t understand that it’s not an indulgence at all, it’s actually essential for the brain to be able to decompress. And so it’s that as well as being able to say I give myself permission to take this time just for me and not have to be constantly doing something for other people.
Nikki: Yes, thank you for sharing that. Because I do think that that comes up a lot. And, and the rest, that rest is self indulgent. When it’s really not, as he said, it’s an essential thing that we need. I feel like there are also some really strong messages and conditioning around motherhood equaling self sacrifice. And I think that that also is something we can rub up against, because you get this whole martyrdom, sort of messaging around.
Nikki: If you’re a mum, then you should be, you know, giving everything you have to your children, you have to be selfless, whereas that’s not in my experience. Anyway, that’s not actually the best way to look after your family if you’re just depleting yourself all the time.
Rebecca: Not at all. And in fact, I wouldn’t say so many clients or how their home probably put them in a whole subset of all all my clients was these women who would come in to see me and their kids would be you know, kind of in high school a little bit more independent now, and facing them leaving home and they will end up coming and seeing me and going well, I just I don’t know who I am.
Rebecca: I don’t know what to do with my life. I don’t know what to do now. Because my entire life for the duration of since my children have been born has been about my children. And it’s a very risky place to put yourself psychologically if you give up your identity to mothering. I’m not saying mothering can’t be part of your identity.
Rebecca: I’m just saying if you make it your entire identity, then what that does is really shakes the foundations of your sense of who you are and what your contribution is in the world.
Rebecca: Especially if you’re kids grow up to want to go overseas or, you know, want to move away or essentially go and explore the world in some way that doesn’t involve coming home every second night for dinner.
Rebecca: And I think this, this kind of underground messaging that is probably generational and started a generation before us, if not before, then that we have to sacrifice ourselves in order to be mothers, I think is not only not useful, but also quite unhealthy if we adopt it, and because what it stops us from doing is being able to be human throughout the process and meet our own needs.
Nikki: And I think it’s really important for us older, kind of challenge those, and it can be a little bit daunting to do that. Because when the messaging is so strong, and you’re, you know, being told you, you know, looking after yourself is taking something away from your kids, or, you know, you should be doing this or you should be doing that your kids should, should always be coming first. It’s really scary to actually say, Well, actually, no, I I’m valuable in this situation, too. And I’m deserving of those things. So
Rebecca: yeah, I think it’s, it’s quite a scary daunting thing to do, particularly if you’ve got people around you, you know, other parents and things who are maybe helping who are giving you those messages. But so important.
Rebecca: At the same time, I would say if you’ve got other parents around, you’re given those messages to really rethink how helpful it is to be spending time with those people. If those messages are causing you some kind of emotional discomfort that you can’t get out of.
Rebecca: One of the things that we really need to think about is that what are we modelling and if you only ever give to other people, and you don’t give to yourself, then how are you going to raise a child that understands, number one, what their own needs are, and number two, how to meet them for themselves.
Rebecca: And I’m not saying we have to be completely independent in the world. In fact, we human beings don’t function very well if we’re completely independent. But in order to have healthy relationships, we need to be able to look after our own needs within those relationships and not expect other people to do it for us.
Rebecca: And if you’re sacrificing your entire self for your child, all you are showing is that your you will meet all your child’s needs, you will solve all your child’s problems, rather than helping them to become independent in solution finding and understanding who they are and what their unique, unique needs are, and how they can then eventually make them.
Rebecca: And so I think it’s it’s part of developing your own process and your own philosophy as a parent, and then standing strong in that and being able to live into that without it being questioned by others.
Nikki: Yes, yes. But like, I think we need to get that message out a lot. It’s something we’ve been talking about a lot on the podcast, because I feel like for me at the start, I was very much to get caught up in that messaging.
Nikki: But then had reached this point where I was like, okay, that I can’t, I’m not going to be in a position to look after my family and to love them the way that I want to and to give them a mom who loves herself and is you know, happy and balanced unless I’m actually like looking after myself and then modelling that for them. So yes, thank you. It was amazing.
Nikki: I wanted to ask you, you just launched a new book, The Art of self kindness, what has your personal journey with self kindness been? And what was your inspiration behind the book?
Rebecca: My personal journey with self kindness has been one of self punishment. I got it, I got it the hard way. put it that way. I think that age has been my biggest friend in being able to learn to go gently and I truly have learned to go gently and now embrace that and embody it as much as I possibly can. And by going gently, I don’t mean copping out.
Rebecca:I just mean being able to respond in a way that is healthy and effective to what I need at the time, as well as talk to myself in a respectful, kind and courageous way.
Rebecca: So that process, though, has been me going through you know, complete identity shifts from someone who was a perfectionist and had really rigid rules and expectations about the world. And as someone who is very controlling, you’ll find that most people who suffer from anxiety, feel those types of things and I’m certainly one of those people and when What? I’m just so glad that I had my baby late in life.
Rebecca: So I’m 40 now and I had been at last year. And I think what age has brought me to a place that so much softer means that I’m so much more of a flexible parent than I would have been had, I’ve had him 10 years earlier.
Rebecca: And it wasn’t planned that way, by the way, I didn’t delay having a child because I thought I should sort my shit out. Although I did think that before we decided to have a baby, but um, I, I didn’t die intentionally, I actually never thought I would have a child.
Rebecca: So that was a bit of a surprise to meet somebody that I fell in love with enough to want to do that with. But in terms of the inspiration for the book, the book was based on the fact that I see nearly everyone that I’ve ever come in contact with struggle with this sense of worthiness. And so I wanted to write something that spoke exactly to that, because I think it’s such an important thing that we embrace.
Nikki: Yes, it is. And I think, you know, for most people, you said, you went and got there the hard way I think most people do, I think we’re all trying to try to find, you know, a way to to manage that. Because it’s so as you said before, and we’re talking about conditioning, it’s not something that we’re can, we’re taught to do, and it’s to look after ourselves or to be gentle with ourselves.
Nikki: So it is really a learning process that we have to go through. And usually that involves not getting it right at the start. If you had some book, I’ll link to your to the book. But if you had some sort of basic ways that we can start practising self kindness, like even just one sort of basic way, what would you recommend?
Rebecca: The most effective one, and probably the hardest one is to speak kindly to yourself.
Rebecca: So I think one of the ways that our self loving or difficult relationships with ourselves plays out is through self criticism and the tone and the words and the nature of the voice that we carry within. And when you make a concerted effort to change that voice into a voice that’s respectful and encouraging, it will completely transform how you see the world, how you see yourself and how you see other people’s.
Rebecca: So when we soften towards ourselves, the world softens towards us, because we’re softer in the world. I love that.
Nikki: I think that’s something, you know, it’s a good place to start. It’s not It’s not easy and easy process to change that dialogue. But I think as you said, it’s a really good place to start even just paying attention to that voice.
Nikki: Because once you do start listening, you go, oh, wow, she’s not very nice at all. And then can start kind of trying to take steps to to make her be a little bit Kinder. Thank you so much for speaking to us.
Nikki: So if our listeners want to have connected with anything that you have spoken about, and you spoke about so much and given us so much value, how can they connect with you? How can we learn from you? Where do we find you?
Rebecca: Sure, you can find me at Rebecca ray.com.au. And on all the socials, as at Dr. Rebecca Ray, my books are available in all good bookstores now in Australia. And we’re just about to have my second book, the University since you’re brave, and the third book, The Art of self kindness available internationally as well. And if you want to work with me a little more closely, then I have a couple of online courses that are released multiple times throughout the year. So check out my socials and my website for the next one coming up.
Nikki: Awesome. And I’ll link to everything in the show notes. So you can jump over there and check it out. Thank you again for all of your time. I know you’re so busy, and I’ve just been Yeah, really looking forward to speaking to you and super grateful that we can share your message with our community.
Rebecca: Thanks for having me, Nikki. It’s been a pleasure. Lovely ones. I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I enjoyed being in it. If you’d like to find out more about Nikki McCann and her work, you can find her at DearMamaProject.com.
And if you’d like to dive into self kindness and worthiness and the other topics that we discussed, I have a stack of free resources available for you. Just go to RebeccaRay.com.au forward/free.
Catch you next week women next episode of Hello Rebecca Ray drops. Lovely ones. Thank you so much for listening to Hello Rebecca Ray. If you’ve got something meaningful from this episode, and the most meaningful thing you can do is jump on over to wherever you listen to your podcast episodes, and leave a review.
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