Episode 32: Why Operating from Emotional Childhood is hurting your Confidence

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Episode 32: Why Operating from Emotional Childhood is hurting your Confidence

Everyone wants more confidence but there’s a common practice that so many of us do on a daily basis that limits or blocks our ability to create confidence. This is showing up as emotional children instead of learning how to operate as an emotional adult. Choosing to be an emotional adult is your ticket to confidence, freedom, and a life without insecurities. Tune in today to hear how you can graduate from emotional childhood to adulthood and being able to create confidence for yourself no matter what’s going on around you. Tune in with LDS Life Coach Hannah Coles

Thank You for your responses!

Welcome back, everyone! I just want to pause for a moment and say thank you for your emails and reviews and just reaching out to me. I know I say this each week but I genuinely mean it. I just have to share this little snippet from an email I received this week because I just have so much love for this girl. Her name is Dejia and I was so touched by her email that I wanted to share just a teeny bit, she writes: 

“I’ve been listening to your podcast, 2 episodes a day and writing notes. I know I have more to listen to, but I just wanna say that I love what you’re doing. I know

there are other podcasts for self-confidence, but I think with yours, you really go deep, and I can relate. You talk about things not only me, but other people go through. I gave you 5 stars… So with that, I thank you for helping people like myself with issues on being confident.”

Isn’t that the best? Isn’t she the best? Thank you again. I have lots of love for you, sister!

Join the membership! It will uplevel your life!

For all y’all that have been listening and applying and seeing changes in your life I want to invite you to join the Catalyst membership. It’s an incredible community and a safe place for you to dive deeper into this work and learning to create a confident life. It’s only $50 a month and you get so much content, courses, mini-courses, weekly emails special and specific to the group, and weekly coaching, not to mention access to ask questions at any time with anything you’re struggling with. This is an incredible program and I’m so proud of it. I’m so proud of the members in it and I just love, love, love each one of them. I think about them, I think about you and how I can help, what I can offer, and what you need. 

This month we’re talking all family relationships and it’s huge because it’s an area that a lot of us feel inadequate or insecure in. Maybe a parent or a sibling said unkind words to you and you were hurt, maybe they didn’t show up how you wanted them to and so you feel like it’s an unsafe environment or unstable relationship. We talk about all of that because every family is different, each of us is different and it is possible to show up confident within your family, no matter what’s going on. So come join us. Learn to put the past hurts behind and move forward with light, and love, and confidence.

Go over to the website, members.thecatalystcoaching.com and join me. I’d love to work with you.

Hurting our confidence

Okay, let’s dive in today. This is actually a great Segway into our topic the week because we’re talking about emotional childhood and how that hurts your confidence. This isn’t literal. We can’t hurt the feeling of confidence just like you can’t hurt your sadness. But you can thwart and limit it. You can prohibit it yourself from creating it and feeling it. 

So let’s start by defining what emotional childhood is and what we want instead.

Emotional Childhood

Emotional childhood is when you’re operating from a place of blame and dependancy. As children, we didn’t have the full mental capacity to fill our own needs. We needed our family to take care of us, to hold us as babies, to feed us, to teach us, to offer support and love. 

But as you grow and your brain develops there are a great many people that still reside in the state of blame and dependency. Think about what you blame. Some people blame our family, we blame our parents for doing or not doing things the way we’d hoped, for not loving us like we think they should have, for not offering us opportunities we think we needed to advance in life. We blame them for not teaching us certain things and now we have to learn them as adults. So we think things, like, “I was never taught how to connect with others. My parents were detached and unavailable and it’ because of them that I’m the way I am.” Things like that. We’re blaming them for how we’re acting today.

Other people blame the government, they blame their genetics, they blame their ex-husbands, they blame their bishop for how the ward is being run and who has what calling. They blame their job, their boss, their difficult co-worker, they blame other people or friends. We blame anything and everything for the way we’re feeling and the things we’re doing. It’s clearly not my fault. Who can I pass the buck to? 

Blame Game

Think for a moment about who or what you’re blaming?

Confidence if you remember from my previous podcasts is defined as, “knowing and embracing all the parts of you and being able to trust in yourself and in your ability”

Operating as an emotional child, not taking responsibility for your emotions, for your actions, for your results is directly hurting your ability to create and to feel confident in your life. The last part especially, being able to trust in yourself and in your abilities to take care of yourself, to get what you need and what you want. 


As children we’re limited. We can’t go and do all the things we think we want to do and for good reason because their brain isn’t completely developed yet. They’d eat candy for every meal, they’d stop going to school, or doing anything difficult. Children need teaching, boundaries, and guidance as their brain develops and grows. We also need others to fix things for us because we don’t know how to fix it ourselves yet. We’re taught things like, “Don’t say that to Sally or you’ll hurt her feelings” or things like, “apologize to Johnny and make him feel better.” Even positive things like, “You make me so happy – these messages are so engrained and teach us that other people still have power over us to make us feel a certain way or that we need them to fix things so that we can feel better.


It’s so disempowering to believe these things and to operate from this stance. It’s limiting and it puts us in the role of a child where someone has authority and power over us. I wish there was a class in high school and college that would teach our teens and young adults how to evolve from emotional childhood and into emotional adulthood but there isn’t and so we have a lot of people that grow up still operating as emotional children and because of this they can’t create or cultivate confidence because they’re unsure of how they’re going to feel or if someone is going to say something or do something and hurt their feelings. It’s a very unstable and scary position to be in.

Adulthood is unlimited

Being an adult is amazing. It’s amazing because of the freedom that comes with adulting. As an emotional adult, there is a freedom that comes from recognizing that other people cannot hurt you, that the reason you’re hurt is because of your thinking. It’s taking ownership and responsibility for how you feel at all times, regardless of the circumstances.

Rats in the cellar

There’s a quote that I love from C.S. Lewis that speaks so beautifully about this. He says, “When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. 

And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind (did you catch that? Blaming) is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. (like, it’s not my fault, I was tired, I was overwhelmed, I had a lot on my plate – right? All the excuses). He continues, 

“Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. 

On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth?

 If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. 

In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.”

I love the works of C.S. Lewis, he was a brilliant man with an amazing insight.


We want to make excuses. Children make excuses. It’s not their fault, the teacher didn’t tell me I had to do this. But if you asked, was it on the syllabus? yes…Okay then. Or they yelled at me so I yelled back. They took someone of mine without asking so I yelled at them.It’s like Lewis said, these provocations, these circumstances, triggers didn’t suddenly make you ill-tempered. They only showed you what was already there. They showed you an unbridled character. 

Think about this, if you had a cellar and you saw rats in it, you’d want to get rid of them. You’d call an exterminator or whatever to do something about it, to fix that situation. But you couldn’t take any action without awareness of it first, right?


So in these moments, take these as little gifts. I’m not saying be ill-tempered or unbridled, I’m only saying instead of beating yourself up for these natural man moments, use them as awareness. I didn’t know I would react that way. Now that I know, why did I do that? What was I feeling? What thought am I believing that created that chain reaction? 

And now that I know this, I can be aware of it and I can choose deliberately who I want to be, what I want to think, how I want to feel and show up from now on.

Envy and Insecurity

Let me give you an example, I worked with a woman that was extremely envious of one of her friends. This particular friend was well off and had things that my client wished she could have. So when my client went pursuing through Instagram and saw her photos of her trips or her home or whatever it was, she felt triggered. She was happy before and now she’s not. 

She blamed her for her envy and unhappiness. Then, as a result, she would try and lower her in her mind, talk down about her even to herself and look for reasons to find fault in her so that she could elevate herself and feel a little bit better about herself. 

She felt triggered. It’s like the rats in the cellar. The pictures didn’t create the envy or the insecurities. They were already there and now that she was made aware of them she could stop and do some thought work about them.

It’s going back up the model. Why did I want to mentally bash her? What was I feeling? What was I thinking that created that feeling?


She was thinking, “It’s not fair. She has what I think I need to be happy.” When she believes that she feels envious and unstable. That’s kind of a scary feeling and as a means to protect herself her natural man, subconscious, auto-pilot brain tried to lower her so that she could feel better.

But as an emotional adult, you take responsibility for all of this. I’m feeling envious because I think I need something else to be happy but I don’t. Here’s where confidence fits into emotional adulthood.

Get to know yourself in each occasion. Like this example, as you dissect it further you see that a part of your brain believes that you would be happier with more means, more money, and going on trips. It’s embracing that about you instead of shaming and telling yourself you shouldn’t feel that way. It’s like okay, that’s where I am at, now what? And the now what is a crucial element because it’s trusting yourself that you’ll give you what you need.

Trust that you’ll give yourself what you need

In this case, it’s not more money. It’s how you think you’d feel if you had that. Maybe it is happier. So this trust is being able to create that feeling for yourself. So you take care of your own needs. It’s being able to peruse back through social media and see that friend and no longer have envy towards her because you know and trust that you can have exactly what you want, which will always be the feeling. 

But because you’re happy, because you’ve created that feeling for yourself you can now go and do, take action to create the money if that’s what you want.

It’s not the other way around. You know, embrace, and trust. This is how you develop confidence. It’s not after I have the thing then I’ll feel confident. It’s trusting that you can feel confident now and because you’re confident you’re going to go and the thing. 

Take responsibility

Emotional adulthood is using your agency to take full responsibility for your life. Taking responsibility for every emotion that you feel, for your actions, and for your results in your life. It’s not needing to blame anything or anyone because those things are Circumstantial, they’re neutral. We don’t blame the cellar for housing the rats, it’s just a cellar it’s neutral but as adults, we take responsibility for taking care of the rats and doing what we need to to get rid of them.

Operating as an emotional adult is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself. It separates you from being at the mercy of anyone else. Not your parents, not the RS president, not your friends. It’s knowing these people are not making you feel upset, sad, angry, offended, and the like. Those people and their actions don’t determine how you feel. They can’t make you feel anything. It’s always you.

They can’t make you feel anything

It’s your thoughts about them and your interpretation of them or the situation that is creating the negative emotions. Being an emotional adult means owning that, owning that you’re creating that by the thoughts you’re thinking. This is so good you guys because if you’re the one creating it, you can uncreate it when you’re ready.

It doesn’t mean that you don’t feel. Or that you only feel daisies and rainbows all the time. It means that you own and take responsibility for all of your emotions. When you’re frustrated, own it. When you’re offended, own it. When you’re insecure, own it. Owning it takes a level of maturity. It’s really easy to blame, to pass the buck, it even feels temporarily good because you’re justified that it wasn’t your fault. But when you’re not owning it and instead you’re blaming you’re just giving away your power and you need them to fix it so you can feel better.


When you own it, you don’t have to wait. It’s all you. You get to make choices. You get to use your agency to choose how you want to feel, who you want to be, what you want to believe and focus on.

I see this in a lot of relationships, whether that’s a friendship, a marriage, a family. We think they need to show up a certain way so that we can feel how we want to feel. We might even tell them what we need. I need you to listen to me. I need you to do these certain things so I can feel loved, listened to, thought of, appreciated, seen. And when they don’t do those things we feel hurt, disrespected, offended, and uncared for. But this is a terrible way to operate in these relationships. Because no matter what they do or don’t do, they can’t make you feel anything.

When we try to MAKE others happy

I remember this one time my husband and I tried to do everything we could think of to make this family member happy. We went above and beyond and we spent a great deal of time thinking about it and paying attention to detail and I was so mad and indignant when this family member was still unhappy. I was thinking, “We did all of this and still it’s not good enough!” It didn’t matter what we did or didn’t do because we couldn’t make this person feel anything. It was their choice. Likewise, I was then blaming them because now I was unhappy too. It was not a fun time for either of us because we were both operating as emotional children. We needed the other person to do, say, feel, show up a certain way and when they didn’t we blamed them for our unhappiness.

Here’s the thing though, most people are terrible at managing their own emotional well-being so when we put ourselves on this position of, “you need to show up a certain way so I can feel happy” we’re asking them to manage our well-being as well and it’s not a good fit. Don’t delegate your happiness to another human being, not your mother, not your spouse, not even your bestie.

It was always you

Emotional adulthood is being responsible for your emotional state, that’s happiness and unhappiness.

In order for you to create and cultivate genuine confidence, you have to operate as an emotional adult. You need that stability and trust to know that you’re going to be okay, taken care of, and moving towards what you want.

It’s not relying on other people for your emotional state because that’s limiting. You need the freedom and trust that comes along with emotional adulthood and being able to create how you want to show up in any circumstance.

Confidence in all things

You can walk into something entirely new, not knowing anyone and still feeling confident because you know that they can’t hurt you. You’re going to have your own back at all times through the negative feelings. It’s being confident that you’ll meet your own needs and if your needs are always met there’s no need for insecurity because you have that built-in security. You’re not afraid that others won’t accept you, because you don’t need them to – you might want them to- wanting is different than needing, but you can still show up confident in yourself.

Think about that insecurity. It’s all our doubts and fears and worries and think about what those are for you? What are you insecure about and why are you insecure about that?

What are you worried about? What do you fear?

One client felt insecure in her relationship with her father. He didn’t extend approval often and as a child was quick to reprimand. So she felt insecure around him because she was still operating from emotional childhood. She needed him to approve of her, offer her validation so that she could give herself permission to believe that she was good and worthy. But when she started learning to operate as an emotional adult she could give that love, acceptance, validation, security to herself. She could show up confident around him because she didn’t need anything from him. She still wanted that. She wanted him to offer kind words but she didn’t need it.

She could show up confident in herself and liking herself enough to give her what she needed. To create the feelings she needed.

Confidence is directly connected with responsibility

This is how to create confidence. It’s taking responsibility for your emotional well-being. It’s kicking the habit of blaming and being a victim. It’s getting to know yourself, instead of quick close the cellar door, it’s like, let’s look even deeper, how many rats are we talking about here? Then examining each, doing your thought work so you can get to the root of it, which is always an unmet need and then trusting that you’ve got you. That you’ll create the feeling you want and when you get what you want – which is to feel how you want to feel you’re not residing in insecurity anymore.

You don’t need anything from others. Wanting, yes. But not needing.

You can feel confident in yourself and how you present yourself to the world. It’s such an amazing space to be in. 

I want to offer one last thing. Sometimes people hear this like, “other’s can’t hurt you” and they automatically go to, then we just get to do and say whatever we want because I’m not really offending you, you’re choosing to be offended so I’m just gonna say and do whatever I want. And that’s not what I’m talking about at all. Showing up as an emotional adult is still taking responsibility for your actions and how you treat another human being. You need to be responsible for who you want to be and who you want to show up as at all times.

You are responsible for your actions

Just because you can’t hurt them emotionally – it is their choice, you are still responsible for your actions and how you treat other people. 

People that operate from emotional adulthood can afford to be honest, humble, generous, and kind because they’re not acting from scarcity or doubt or insecurity. They can be more of themselves because they know they’ve got their own back.

It’s really an incredible space to operate from. It’s the foundation of confidence. It’s offering you trust and security to meet your own needs so you’re not relying on others to do that for you. 

More effort but worth it

I will say that operating as an emotional adult does mean that it requires more effort, more intention, more focus. Just like being an adult in the world requires more effort, more planning, more responsibility but any adult will also agree that the freedom is amazing and worth it. 

Dig deep this week, look at areas you’re still showing up in emotional childhood and see what those needs are that aren’t being met. See how you can take responsibility for that need and how you can trust yourself to get that need met without relying on other people to do that for you.

Take responsibility for your emotions and see the transformation that takes place in your life. It’s incredible.

Okay, that’s what I’ve got for you this week. Come join the memberships – you will LOVE it and it will up-level your life entirely.

Talk to you next time!



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