Summary: Reflections on ways I’ve realized I’ve grown, and how 2022 was one of the biggest years yet.

It’s been a loooong time since my last post. Thank you for still being here if you’re reading!

I’d been sharing on social media and within my private Facebook community Acceptsians: Self-Acceptance for Asians & Other High Achievers.

But I realize not everyone who follows me has social media. And many have commented they really resonated with my blog posts, so I shall keep them up!

Updates for me: I’ve been in Asia for 16 months, and loving it. Something about this side of the world spiritually feels like home. I’ve wandered around Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Korea, Japan, and also visited relatives in China.

Was I ready to face my family? I still didn’t have any of the “external” results they can understand (lucrative income, partner or kids), so it was the ultimate challenge.

I was shaken, and went into a slump for a few months afterwards, but I’ve re-aligned and regained my sense of self-worth and peace now.

They said things such as I am too weak to handle working as a doctor or a real adult job. That I’m dishonoring the family and all their sacrifices and investments in me by “not properly working” and making the money I could be making as a full-time doctor in the US.

And even living away from my parents who are in the US, is not being a responsible child by being around in case they need me for emergencies.

There was also a lot of judgment about “this little business of yours” not being “legit” because it doesn’t make enough money yet, and that most businesses fail anyway (99% of them).

And that why am I focusing on helping other people when I don’t even help my own family/flesh and blood first?

And they also commented on my intentional financial sacrifices of living simply in order to pursue this life of freedom and authenticity. They didn’t understand or think it’s worth it. I felt like a poor hobo next to their luxury lifestyles.

I really fell into this hole where I temporarily took on their views of me, and felt so guilty, ashamed, and selfish that I wasn’t doing more for the family. They certainly did not need me to send them money; I think if they were financially struggling, I’d be more inclined to do part-time medical work to share a portion of my paycheck to make their lives easier. I also had the thought of, if I had children to support, I would do that too.

I traveled with my younger sister for a month, and I felt embarrassed that my budget may have limited her graduation trip experience. I would’ve hoped to be further along with my business revenue by then, that I could have offered her a more luxurious trip.

I was fine with financial, lifestyle and comfort sacrifices when it’s just me, but I hated when someone I loved dearly was impacted by my choices that were supposed to affect only myself.

It took some time reconnecting with myself and other loved ones to see that this wasn’t fair or right, that them setting conditions for me wasn’t loving or respectful. And that I deserved unconditional love and support, as long as I was independent, self-sufficient, healthy, responsible, and not hurting anyone else.

Some friends reminded me that they are proud of who I am, and the courage it takes to go after my passions, risking the uncertainty and failure, and making the financial sacrifices and whatever else it took to keep going with relentless determination, focus, and devotion.

Living out my most aligned life has been far from easy, but I’m so glad it has built up my internal strength so that whatever others might say or do no longer deeply or at least permanently affects my sense of self-worth.

I see the value in myself now to a radically new level I hadn’t before. I feel more grounded, at peace, and genuinely in love with and PROUD of who I am, uncoupling that from what I do, what I have, or what I can “achieve” externally.

I’ve learned to be proud of all the wonderful traits and qualities I have, which took decades of blood, sweat, tears, and intentional growth to develop, and all that I HAVE accomplished. The smiles, new perspectives, inspiration, comfort, light, and life I brought to others, simply by being me and sharing of myself.

I see myself as the success/winner that I AM, that every human being is. We all have inherent worth, no matter what we do or have. Simply surviving another day is a success, especially if you take care of yourself, your well-being, and you don’t bleed on or hurt others.

Even if someone say lives like a hermit, keeping to themselves, they STILL are making an impact, in say the food choices they make are supporting certain farmers and businesses. This was something I had never thought of before but came up in my reflections and in a recent talk I gave on Re-defining Success (message me if you’d like a copy).

In my opinion, “success = the freedom to be exactly + fully who you are, (in a way that doesn’t hurt others).”

I’ve leaned into my inherent right to be alive and take up space unconditionally.

I’ve learned to re-parent myself because I didn’t have the stable parental figure in my childhood who supported me and delighted in me unconditionally. I didn’t know how important this was to developing a solid sense of self and self-worth.

(I highly recommend the books “The Emotionally Absent Mother” by Jasmin Lee Cori and “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” by Karyl McBride if you have also been under-nurtured most of your life, was raised in a strict or critical atmosphere, and find yourself with these symptoms!)

It’s never too late to be the parent you always deserved to yourself, someone who clearly sees you, knows you well, can attune to your moods, needs, and patterns, and loves and supports you unconditionally because every person deserves this secure base from which they can have the courage and energy to tackle life’s challenges.

I forgive my family for not being able to provide to me because of their own wounding, experiences, and lack of opportunity to even learn what emotional health is and how it impacts every area of one’s life.

What a privilege though also a great challenge to have this opportunity to be a cycle-breaker and focus on thriving in all areas of life rather than on just physically surviving. My ancestors didn’t have that luxury, and I will honor them by addressing what they didn’t have the capacity or opportunity to.

After a long battle of me vs. them, feeling selfish for honoring my own needs and lifestyle preferences over theirs, I have now found the win-win way to honor them AND me, too.

It’s a shame they can’t see that. But rather than wasting my energy trying to convince them to see it, I’m just going to keep quietly & tirelessly working towards my vision of a better world for everyone.

Intergenerational trauma is passed down not only by experiences & environment but actually biologically as well via epigenetics. It’s wild!!

Some ways that I’ve realized I’ve grown include:

1) When something bad happens, or someone rejects or is disappointed in me, it doesn’t feel like the end of the world anymore. I don’t automatically assume it’s all my fault, beat myself up about it, or use it as a springboard into questioning my worth. I know it’s a values difference and that we’re both trying our best.

2) I am kinder to myself and others, more loving, and more resilient. I know I can’t be perfect, and I’m quicker to forgive myself when I mess up and sincerely apologize. Because I can better forgive and accept my imperfections, I’m better able to hold space for others’ imperfections and messiness too.

3) I face my problems & struggles head on, and don’t shy away from difficult conversations or experiences. I try to express how I feel thoroughly and honestly but in the kindest way I can possibly manage. It doesn’t always go well or may be received poorly, but I at least always try my best.

4) I’m less attached to having certain “results” or “outcomes” in my life, and don’t feel in a rush to get to the fabled “there” anymore. I thoroughly embrace the present and am grateful for all that I have right now rather than focusing on what is still “missing” or “lacking.”

Of course I still responsibly plan for the future and take steps towards intentionally creating the one I want and the life I want, but I no longer shame or try to rush my current reality.

I feel at peace knowing I can create joy no matter what my circumstances, and that my health and happiness will not be dependent on anything outside of me. And if they are significantly affected by external factors, then I trust myself enough to remove myself or change my circumstances.

5) I think of what my ideal self would do and try to align my thoughts, feelings, and actions to her. If someone treats me poorly, I do not have to stoop to their level or retaliate; I’ve created multiple backup plans so I can safely remove myself from the disrespect. And on my best days, I can see the pain behind their actions and speak to and try to de-escalate that if possible.

I think of “What would the most loving version of myself do? What would love do? What decision honors everybody involved and would be a win-win?”

6) I make decisions more easily, with less overthinking or fear of making the “wrong” choice. I know that every choice leads to valuable lessons and goodies, no matter what path I take. I either succeed or I learn/”F.A.I.L.” = First Attempt in Learning.

I’m now better able to get in touch with my intuition and what my gut wants to do, and follow those tugs, and it’s led me to such beautiful and surprising places.

7) I noticed even some subtle shifts to a more empowering language. Example: I was staying at a hostel and around 11 pm, I asked my roommates “Are you ok if I turn off the light?”

Whereas past me would’ve asked “Is it ok to turn off the light?”

So subtle, yet such a difference. One is asking for permission and the other is acknowledging a personal preference while conveying my own.

I am now checking in with them on what they want, instead of asking for permission to exist and putting complete power into another person’s hands.

Instead of asking like a child ”Is it ok to do xyz?”, I now convey that my preference is to turn off the light but that I also care about yours, so I’m checking in with you on your preference.

Instead of having no preference because I was afraid to have a preference, due to the risk of offending or alienating anyone, I can now better identify my opinions, beliefs and needs and proudly stick by them.

As I’ve grown more in my self-confidence, I’ve also gained more capacity to add on even more offerings. Message me HERE if you’d like to stay updated or contribute to these!:

1) Podcast “Accept THEN Achieve” – so many of us, especially from high-pressure families or cultures, are taught we have to Achieve in order to finally be Acceptable, worthy & “good enough.” I propose the REVERSAL of this common concept – we can actually Achieve MORE if we wholeheartedly, genuinely Accept first. Guest speakers are welcome – apply HERE!

2) Asian Mental Health Support Groups ($20/session) – sporadic or quarterly, where we come together to share our challenges and provide insight, support, and advice to each other. I’ve been running monthly Women’s Circles. Sign up here to stay updated on events.

3) Relationship Coaching Certification – as part of this training program, there are few coaching-for-coffee spots left. Apply HERE.

4) Workshop – How to Not Feel Like Sh*t When Seeing Your High-Pressure Family: Maintaining Poise, Peace & Presence” – how to be loving, respectful, and still firm in your identity & truth. Sign up here to stay updated.

5) Wellness Retreat in Thailand by the beach December 2024 – immersive 6-day experience with workshops, art therapy, meditative dances, and more! <3

What ways have you realized that you’ve grown? Message me, book a chat, or join my Acceptsians: Self-Acceptance community for more love and support!

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Who am I?
Hi! I'm Dr. Toni, a carTOONIst. I empower, educate and advocate for women and minorities through my art and coaching, while traveling nomadically. I help others also follow our hearts and live true to themselves, no matter what others say!
Never Miss a Post!

Ep 20: What IS Success?! How to Detox from Achieveritis (i.e. After Tiger Parenting) - Accept THEN Achieve

My presentation I've given in 5+ countries on how to detox from over-achieving for the sake of your mental health. You'll learn: -a fresh perspective on success -how to feel better & finally good enough NOW without needing to change anything in your external world -tips for filtering out what YOU authentically want for your life -tips for honoring your family AND yourself too, finding middle ground & having more peaceful relations Video version of this webinar here: Tame the Tiger Program:
  1. Ep 20: What IS Success?! How to Detox from Achieveritis (i.e. After Tiger Parenting)
  2. Ep 19: The Myth of Productivity (for Mental Health Month!)
  3. Ep 18: Guest Dina Schmid on Overcoming Fear of Using Your Voice
  4. Ep 17: What Almost Drowning in Bali's Ocean Taught Me
  5. Ep 16: Guest Faye Lawand on Nervous System Regulation
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