“when we trust our own strength, our achievements increase and our well-being intensifies”
Hedi Hoka is a doctor of psychology, psychotherapist, author of “I love to be a woman” and mindfulness trainer. She studied mindfulness and neuropsychology at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society, Massachusetts, USA. She says that “the problems we have don’t always start with us.” That self-esteem travels from great-grandparents, to grandparents, to parents, and then to children. We invite you to grab your favorite mug and sip a steaming coffee or fragrant tea while reading the interview below. Hedi will have you open your notebook and write down some ideas.
We hope you find this interview valuable and convince you to join us at the conference on June 4th. More details about the conference can be found here.
What is self-confidence to you? Do you think there is a difference between self-esteem and self-confidence?
When I feel that I have confidence in my own strength, for me it means that I like how I feel in my own skin. I don’t want to be like anyone else. I wish to be like me. Do you know what I mean?
Sure, there is a difference between self-confidence and self-esteem. But one includes the other: that is, self-confidence is one of the components of self-esteem. But to simplify things a bit and make it easier for those going through this interview, let’s think of it this way: self-esteem is that feeling we have about our personal worth. Self-esteem answers the question: “How much do I value myself?” or “How much do I like myself, regardless of the circumstances?” Know that these are often difficult questions even for us adults. Most of the time, we wait for others to tell us how valuable we are. We define ourselves by the perception of the other. But there comes a time in our lives when we realize that the way we value ourselves matters most. I, too, have taken this journey of self-appreciation. To say now that “I feel good in my own skin” is one of the greatest achievements.
Self-esteem is a broad concept in psychology. Imagine that it is like a cocktail that has several ingredients. These are: self-confidence, the feeling of safety, the bodily self, the feeling of belonging and the feeling of competence. So, self-confidence is one of the components of self-esteem.
What does it mean that we have confidence in our own strength? It means trusting in my own success. When I say we can trust success, it means we give ourselves a 50% chance that something will work out and a 50% chance that it won’t. So it all starts with equal opportunities.
Self-confidence means that we believe that we can behave in a certain way in order to get something done. It’s like thinking, “Good. I don’t like doing this. But I’m confident that if I push myself a little bit, I can even make myself like it and I can get that thing done.” I want you to remember that when we have confidence in our own strength, our achievements increase and our well-being intensifies. And I’ll tell you why: because when we trust in success, problems are not threats. They are simply problems that can be solved. There is a solution to every problem. And the obstacles encountered turn into opportunities.
And we always find the best way.
How can we help our children become self-confident? How important is self-confidence in living a balanced and meaningful life?
It is important to point out to those who read us that, until around 5 years old, the concept of self-esteem, implicitly confidence in one’s own strength, does not exist. It is only after the age of 5, when the child begins to compare his performance with another child, that it begins to take shape.
I use to tell parents that 0-7 are the “programming years”. Therefore, children store everything they are told, are open to suggestions and are in a state of fulminant learning. These are the years when we gather our beliefs based on what our parents or caregivers say. But many of these will remain unconscious throughout our lives. But they can manifest in our behaviors, our work, how we choose our friends, lovers, etc. Therefore, as a parent, you will play a crucial role in these years of “programming” your child. So is the teacher.
What can we do to help the child to be more confident in his own strength? First, let’s show that we, as adults, trust ourselves. Let’s become a role model for the child. But a model that the child wants to follow.
How do you think the family environment in which we grew up, the words and the way of thinking of our parents affect our self-confidence? Moreover, how do you see the connection between the emotional and mental baggage acquired in the family from parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and how we view ourselves and how we relate to self-confidence or self-esteem?
Self-esteem has a hidden journey and dynamic. The self-esteem journey, I like to call it. Somehow, imagine how self-esteem travels from one generation to another, from great-grandparents to grandparents, parents and it reaches the children. We can say of a child that “he looks like grandpa. He was confident in his own strength.” Or, in other cases, we apparently can’t explain why we have low self-esteem. But if we dig deeper into the family’s collective unconscious, we can find connections with family members who have also exhibited low self-esteem.
Perhaps the grandmother did not trust her own strength because she was exposed to a trauma. And her emotional wound I can carry too. Whatever happened in our family can affect the way we think, feel and behave now. One person’s pain, fear, anger, lack of self-esteem affects the whole family. Because family members are connected to this collective unconscious that I talked about above, and they all feel the effects of things that happened to each of the family members, even if they are no longer alive.
You would be surprised, but know that we are very loyal to our family. Most of the time, this happens unconsciously. Hidden loyalties, we call them. And these can cause us to have patterns, develop habits and make choices that we cannot understand. That’s why the problems we have don’t always start with us.
Family is the first system we become part of. It has a strong influence on us throughout our lives. We all have “emotional family baggage”. The beliefs, attitudes and other patterns we have inherited from our parents and those before them. We receive more than physical characteristics in our DNA. We carry shame, guilt, sadness, fear, self-doubt that have no roots in our own lives. But beyond these aspects, the most important thing we receive from our family of origin is the gift of life. And life will always find a way to heal our souls. And maybe that’s worth trusting.
Any other thoughts for us?
I welcome your initiative with joy. It is the first time I am holding a public speech at a conference in Oradea. So, it will be a new experience for me that I am looking forward to.