Did you know that your core beliefs run your life? That’s right! Every day when you go out into the world, or even if you’re too afraid to do so, your core beliefs are the basis of your actions, reactions, thoughts, feelings, and they’re both positive and negative.
No one minds the positive ones, but the negative core beliefs that people manifest might be getting in the way of you living the life you want to lead. Identifying your core beliefs is an important tool to have as it’s the equivalent of a boxer getting themselves in shape. The training that is needed before you go to war in the ring. Boxers watch a video of their opponents to get to know their movements. They observe their strengths and weaknesses. Then they figure out how to attack. Getting to know your own core beliefs is identical to this type of training, except the opponent is yourself. So let’s get started.
Identifying Negative Core Beliefs
Our core beliefs are a product of our experiences. Growing up, if you believe you’re loved, then you are lovable. If you do well at things, or even if you don’t do well at things, but are praised, you’ll believe you’re competent. One way to understand your core beliefs is to think about what you experienced, and then ask yourself “Given this happened, what does this make me think about myself/abilities?”
Read the list below and ask yourself: a) whether you experienced any of these, b) what it says about you if you did:
- Not fitting in with a peer group at school
- Not being able to live up to your parent’s expectations
- Abuse or punishment – particularly if our abuser repeatedly told you “this is your fault,” or “I’m doing this because you’re a shit person.”
- Not getting enough of something – for example not getting enough praise
- Being neglected in childhood – not having our physical or emotional needs met
- Being treated differently from brothers and sisters
- Being the ‘odd one out’
- Bereavement or other losses
- Being told you’re not smart
- Being isolated or lonely
- Trauma – such as being attacked or hurt
- Being body shamed
Identify you Negative and Self-Critical Thinking
Now that you know what you’re looking for. Create a sheet with the following seven categories in a row.
- Emotion or Feeling
- Automatic Negative Thought
- Evidence That Supports This Thought
- Evidence That Does Not Support This Thought
- Alternative Thought
- Emotion or Feeling
By going through this process, you will identify your negative thought. Link your thoughts and emotions. Examine evidence for and against those thoughts. Then you will challenge those thoughts. That’s important, so don’t forget to challenge. And lastly, you’ll create new alternatives to your previous beliefs. Truly breath in these new beliefs and create new emotions and feelings on the real truth.
Use a More Compassionate Tone
It’s not just what we say to ourselves that can get us down; it’s the way that we say it. Practice speaking to yourself as if you were your own child. Be the protector of yourself by speaking to yourself with compassion.
Identifying Your Positive Qualities
Even though you have negative core beliefs, you might also have positive ones too. It’s during your battles, and your practice against the negative, that you should hang onto the positives for strength. Negative core beliefs can distort the way we see the world which can lead you to feel very stuck. You might not be able to overcome your negative core beliefs overnight, but with consistent practice, you can chip away at them. You will always have one step backward after the two forward ones. Remember to grab onto your positive beliefs to get your footing on the step back. Once you get your footing, you’ll be able to get another two steps and so on and so on.
If any of these negative core beliefs are too overwhelming, that they’re paralyzing you, and you feel that you need to talk to someone, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the amazing people at BETTER HELP.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.