The Secret to Rebuilding our Self- Esteem and Inner Foundation
The consequences in adulthood of having a fragile inner foundation
Our adulthood is compromised due to our past adverse childhood experiences. From these past experiences, there is a common tendency to have low levels of self-worth and self-esteem. Meaning, deep down at the sub-conscious level we believe “we are not good enough”. Often there is a hidden underlying negative emotion such as anger, grief, shame, that consumes us and impacts our choices and life. We did not learn how to love ourselves. We did not learn how to nurture self-respect and self-care. Deep down we do not think we are worthy of having the life we dream of. Often we feel lost and confused. Confused about who we are, our life’s direction and purpose. Why? Because we never had the quality time with our caretakers and role models to explore and understand what we really feel, think and, believe – who we are, our authentic selves. We do not learn how to uncover our values, gifts and passions. We are not taught how to listen to our intuition, our internal guidance. We are not taught how to develop our Inner Authority and build a strong inner foundation. Today we are starting to recognize our health and happiness is shaped by the quality of our life experiences from childhood to adulthood– Human behavior shapes our society.
Having entered the 21st Century, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) we are witnessing an increase of chronic degenerative diseases and psychosomatic disorders such as stress, depression and suicide. Are we questioning ourselves and society about why this is happening? How did we arrive here and how can we transcend this current situation?
Science tells us that our brain develops to 90% within the first five years of life. Early life experiences deeply impact brain development and the formation of neural pathways that influence the functioning of all bodily systems. It is important to acknowledge that these early childhood experiences impact our adult life and how we relate to and perceive the world around us. There are many scientific studies that demonstrate the relationship between early childhood experiences and how they deeply influence the quality of our adulthood life. Evidence of this is the Kaiser Permanente ACE study, one of the largest most comprehensive scientific studies performed to understand this vital relationship between childhood and adulthood.
When Modern Consumption is a Parenting Style
In order for large-scale societies to function, systems need to be in place. The systems that have prevailed for generations are built to meet economic needs and demands often at the expense of social connections and unconditional love. Many of us have grown up in environments where this connection and unconditional love was absent or limited and often replaced by material needs and rewards. We have been educated with the belief that having the food on time, enough clothes and being well behaved is enough. For many generations the emotional connection of unconditional love has been neglected, not realizing this is actually a crucial element for fulfilling basic childhood development needs and so our human potential.
Could it be, that the excessive time and energy that we all give to the consumer economy, is actually a large part of the cause of these chronic degenerative diseases and psychosomatic disorders because we are not building quality social connection and love with ourselves and others?
If we observe carefully since the Second World War, the cost of living has steadily been increasing. This economic reality is a daily challenge and forces the majority of families to spend more time at work and on their careers or business and less time at home. So much so that the primary role of the parent in many cases has become to generate income as opposed to being an emotionally and physically available parent. Today, due to constant inflation and ultimately the high costs of living, the system as it is, is making it extremely difficult for parents to fulfill their duties as primary care providers and anchors of unconditional love. Instead parents are under constant pressure and stress to generate income to survive. The consequence of which is that they have less and less time to connect with, and become healthy role models for, their children. Due to a lack of parental time, genuine and unconditional love, the child’s developmental needs are compromised which severely impacts their brain development and later their levels of self-esteem and self-confidence. This current dynamic within the family units is negatively harming the inner foundation of both the children and adults. Dr. Garbo Mate explains this well in his book “Hold on to your Kids”.
“Children take their lead from their friends: being ‘cool’ matters more than anything else. Shaping values, identity and codes of behavior, peer groups are often far more influential than parents.” – Dr. Gabor Mate
What is the Inner Foundation and why is it so important to our well-being?
A strong Inner Foundation is our source of healthy self-esteem, vitality and well-being. Self esteem is our internal experience of how we accept ourselves or not. Self-esteem is our perception of ourselves. It is whether deep down we sincerely believe we are enough, we are worthy, and we do deserve a happy meaningful life and relationships. Self-esteem is that internal knowing that we are a precious human being, not more or less than any other human being. Self-esteem requires daily self care, self-love and self-respect. Individuals with high levels of self-esteem do not allow any one to treat them for less than they are. Self-esteem is like a muscle in our body. We must nurture and develop it for it to become strong.
Having a solid inner foundation enables us to develop strong mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. A solid Inner Foundation supports a strong immune system that can protect us from toxins, pathogens and the environment around us. But in order to have a strong inner foundation we need to have grown up in a loving nurturing family environment with healthy role models. If on the other hand, you grew up in a dysfunctional family unit with emotional immature parents then you may have a fragile inner foundation of which the characteristics will be explained shortly. Our Inner Foundation consists of four internal structures related to the brain and body development. These four structures develop according to the quality of all experiences and interactions from birth until death. The four structures are: Mental structure, Emotional structure, Physical structure and Spiritual structure
Mental Structure: Represents the cognitive function of the brain. It represents our capacity to question, to think independently, use logic, reason, plan, anticipate, organize, problem solve, prioritize, etc. It determines our level of mental resilience, our ability to focus, learn, adapt, preserve, and overcome challenges. It allows the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind to store and operate our societal programs, belief systems (learned since birth), our memories and our learned habits.
Emotional Structure: Represents the emotional part of the brain and its connection to the rest of the organs and gut through the Vagus Nerve. It is related with our parasympathetic and sympathetic system. It represents the quality of our emotions: positive or negative and the quality of our social & people skills. It’s includes our level of emotional intelligence and our ability to empathize, develop compassion and create rapport. The emotional part of the brain is directly related to our levels of self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. It also interacts with the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. Our belief systems, emotions and traumas are stored in the body and if left unhealed, cause blockages and disease. The emotional structure is also represented by the the function and active relationship of three important elements: the brain, gut and microbiome. Our intuition or Internal Guidance System and its effective operation, is directly dependent upon the collaboration of the brain, gut and microbiome.
Physical Structure: Contains the twelve body system functions and collaboration amongst themselves and it’s relationship with all organs. The physical structure contains the twelve body systems: Nervous System, Skeletal System, Digestive System, Lymphatic System, Endocrine System, Muscular System, Circulatory System, Urinary System, Immune System, Integumentary System, Respiratory System, Reproductive System (men & women). It represents the functioning and balance of our internal main organs such as the brain, liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, intestines, gut and it’s microbiome It also represents our cells function, mitochondria and DNA molecular structure (that contains 50% of our own our genes and 50% from parents and all the genetic information from our ancestor’s genes).
Spiritual Structure: Represents the quality of our consciousness, awareness and perception. It is related to how we are experiencing the world we live in. It represents our experience of us as being part of the cosmos as consciousness, energy and how we relate and connect to that experience and all other beings. It represents our internal connection with our intuition, internal guidance system and how we choose to develop a life with meaning and purpose. It represent the alignment of our authenticity with our values. This alignment is expressed as our Inner Authority. It also represents our conscious choice to become autonomous and caring of ourselves and other living beings, following the principles of Natural Law. This conscious choice is expressed as our Personal Power.
What are Emotionally Immature Parents?
If you grew up with an emotionally immature parent you may have observed at times that your parent was physically or emotional unavailable. This could have caused emotional loneliness due to the lack of connection and unconditional love. In some extreme cases some may have experienced forms of neglect, rejection, and or abuse (verbal, physical or sexual). Coupled with the pressurized demands of society, the two factors mentioned of, emotionally immature parents and the lack of emotional connection, are the root causes as to why we as adults now suffer from so many chronic degenerative diseases and psychosomatic disorders such as stress, depression and suicide. This fragile Inner Foundation is expressed in adulthood as low self-esteem, low self-confidence, low self-worth and low self-belief and if not healed, will most likely be passed onto the next generation.
The four types of Emotionally Immature Parents are: Emotional, Rejecting, Driven and Passive Parents
The Emotional Parent is the most immature of the four types. They are constantly in an emotional turmoil and can easily be upset. Parents drag their children with them into their personal meltdown and as a consequence the child experience their parents rage, despair or meltdown. These parents lose their emotional and behavioral control in situations where mature adults would remain in control of their emotional state. The child is traumatized by being part of such behavior close up, and at such an early age begins to develop fear, anxiety, and shame. Due to the lack of healthy role models and the experiencing of the parents polarity of extreme emotions, the child does not have the opportunity to learn how to manage their own emotions. Often these children do not have the opportunity to explore and understand their needs, wants and wishes because they are too occupied with pacifying the parents. The young child’s inner foundation is compromised from the beginning. Later in adulthood it will be manifested as a constant swings of emotional polarities such as passive-aggressive behavior, anxiety, panic attacks and other psychosomatic disorders.
The Rejecting Parent is the least empathic of the four emotionally immature parents. They are self-centered and have a barrier around them. They would rather be left alone than look after their children and develop an emotional bond. The rejecting parent does not have the capacity to provide unconditional love towards their children and instead may be distant or ignore the child’s presence. At an early age the child begins to believe that the parent would be better off if they did not exist. Consequently the child learns not to approach their parent due to fear of an angry reaction or punishment. This cold environment causes the child to develop feelings of abandonment and social inadequacy. Worse still negative beliefs of “I’m not good enough/I’m not worthy” start to be formed at such an early age. Unfortunately these early experiences do not allow the child to connect with their emotions and nurture their self-worth and instead their inner foundation is compromised. Later in adulthood these unconscious beliefs will have a direct impact upon the quality of relationships and lifestyle. A very common way that adults cope with their childhood rejection is to develop addiction such as alcohol, drugs, gambling etc.
The Driven Parent seems to have everything under control and looks the most “normal”. Any appearance of self-doubt is hidden because the parent has all the answers including what’s best for their children. The driven parent is worried that their child will embarrass them by not succeeding and yet is unable to provide unconditional acceptance to the child which would in turn support the child to create a stronger inner foundation from which to go out into the world and achieve their dreams. The driven parent is goal orientated based upon what the parent wants and not want the child wants. Instead of listening to, respecting and adapting to their child’s need and wants, the parent selectively praises what they want to see in their children and ignores what they don’t wish to develop. The child feels constantly evaluated and criticized which often creates fear within the child to seek help from their parent. The child does not have the environment to develop their communication skills and develop their self-confidence. Later in adulthood they grow up without learning how to develop mental resilience and emotional intelligence.
The Passive Parent, compared to other three types, is more emotional available, however they can withdraw emotionally when things become too intense. Specifically, they do not protect or defend their child from other abusive adults inside the family unit. These parents are unable to teach their children how to cope with life challenges and are unable to offer any guidance or boundaries for their child to navigate the world. Due to their own egocentrism and self-absorption, these parents use their children to meet their own needs. These parents may leave the family if they get a chance at a happier life. The child learns that to please their parents is the only way to have their attention and affection but deeply the child knows their parents can’t be there to help them. These relationships deeply impair the growth of the child’s inner foundation because the child does not have adequate opportunities to develop their own feelings and mental resilience, and instead experiences feelings of uncertainty, lost and confused. Later in adulthood they grow up without learning how to overcome challenges and learn from setbacks.
How can you identify if you grew up with an emotional immature parent?
What are the common characteristic of emotionally immature parents? These parents may suffer from diverse psychosomatic disorders such as bipolar or narcissistic personality disorder. Common characteristics of emotionally immature parents are as follows:
- Self-centered. They like to be the center of the attention.
- Often entertain superficial conversations.
- Are often subjective and not objective.
- Have rigid, single minded thinking. They know best.
- Have little respect for differing thoughts and opinions.
- Have low levels of empathy and compassion. Are often emotional insensitive.
- Have low stress tolerance levels.
- They have intense but shallow emotions. Are easily upset and, often display emotional extremes as a way to get what they want.
- Are inconsistent and contradictive in their views, positions and opinions because they ignore facts and rely on assumptions.
If you would like learn more about the emotionally immature parents, please research the work done by Lindsay Gibson’s book “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents” .
Common Coping Mechanisms
How do we handle these negative impacts upon our inner foundation and upon our lives, careers, relationships?
We develop coping mechanisms and in some cases we may develop unhealthy dynamics in our relationships such as codependency. Coping mechanisms are behaviors we employ to avoid facing uncomfortable feelings and emotions related to low self-esteem, past pain and/or trauma. Very common examples of coping mechanisms in our society are procrastination, self-sabotage and addictions. Addictions such as being workaholic, complaining, alcohol abuse, over-the-counter drugs, compulsive shopping, too much social media, etc.
The Secret to Rebuilding our Self-Esteem and Inner Foundation
As conscious adults, what can we now do to build a strong inner foundation?
It may seem hopeless, but having the awareness that all of these have taken place is a start. First, it requires having the courage and commitment to begin to rebuild our inner foundation and develop healthy levels of self-esteem. This internal work consists on an internal journey of Self-Discovery, Personal Development and later, Self-Actualization. Click here to learn about the Self Self Empowerment Journey.
The Self-Discovery Module uncovers challenges that are adversely affecting your life today and blocking you from living in alignment with your Authentic Self. By taking an inventory of the often-undesirable influences of family, friends, society, and culture, you will gain a deep awareness and understanding of your current situation.
Ask yourself how was your childhood and how do you feel today as an adult?
The Personal Development Module is designed to help you dissolve the thoughts and behaviors that are preventing you from living your life purpose, so that a new and more effective mindset can be embedded. Rebuilding the Inner Foundation is vital to the success of having a healthy self-esteem and to overcoming limiting beliefs that are standing in the way of you owning and expressing your Inner Authority and Personal Power. Finally, you will learn about healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to correctly manage challenging dynamics with people that are afflicted with psychosomatic disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder.
Are you happy with the way you treat yourself and how others treat you?
The Self-Actualization Module empowers you both in your personal and professional life. Through completing a series of life and career coaching exercises you gain a deep understanding of who you are, your true desires and life purpose. A tangible plan of action will guide and empower you to create a lifestyle with more impact, meaning and joy, fully aligned with your Authentic Self. For example, a simple exercise to help you is for you to reflect and write down the main positive emotions and the motivation that you have right now towards developing a life with meaning. Reflect how this emotional state could help you to redesign your life. :
Are you able to visualize the life you want?
There are some important things you should consider when embarking upon this journey of healing and personal transformation.
- You must have the mindset and motivation to change your life.
- You will most likely need a mentor to support you on this journey.
- A solid healing & coaching structure in place that will ground you into practical daily steps to shift your mindset from where you are to where you want to be.
- You need a mentor continuation support program to help you to embed the new daily routines into your life. These new daily routines will assist the brains neuroplasticity activity in developing new neural pathways that represents your new powerful mindset.
- You will need to have a supportive community that respects you and is there for you when you need.
About the Coaches
Luke and Susana Hancock have 20 years each of global professional experience, working in London, Europe and Asia in areas of leadership, staff training and personal development. Since 2016 they have been delivering professional training and coaching courses to individuals, schools, business and governmental organizations. Luke is a Transformational Life Coach (ICF Accredited) and the author of the life changing book, “Burnout to Breakthrough”. Susana is a fully qualified Spiritual Counselor and practitioner of Holistic Therapies accredited by the Complimentary Medical Association (CMA). She is also a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist and a Detox and Clinical Weight Loss specialist, accredited by the International Institute for Complementary Therapies in the UK and Australia. About the Coaches https://coachingselfempowerment.com/about
About Coaching Self-Empowerment
Coaching Self-Empowerment is a legal entity based in Chiang Mai, Thailand that provides an innovative and a cutting edge framework of educational training and coaching courses to individuals and organizations. The company has three main areas of focus: Personal & Professional Development, Nutrition Detox and Urban Sustainability. The mission of Coaching Self-Empowerment is to empower individuals and guide organizations to become more sustainable by providing them with the knowledge, the tools and methodologies so they may develop their great potential and a lifestyle based on health and sustainability. About the company: https://coachingselfempowerment.com/