And what we believe…
You know how sometimes you have those moments where you feel deeply inadequate or have this belief you are unlovable, undeserving or worthless or some other similar feeling that comes from a place deep down inside of you? A place that no one else really knows about.
Maybe a dark place, where you feel completely alone because you’re pretty sure you are the only one that feels that way.
You might wonder how you came to feel this way, and what it means. Worse yet, when you do experience this feeling, you believe it’s true. It feels so real, so it must be true.
Well I’m here to, hopefully, set your mind at ease.
First, let me reassure you that you are definitely not alone. We ALL have those types of feelings to some degree.
Many of these feelings come as a result of our core beliefs about ourselves.
So what are core beliefs?
Core beliefs are “deeply held beliefs that influence how we see the world, other people and ourselves.” They are usually quite rigid and inflexible.
Think of core beliefs like a pair of sunglasses. Depending on the “shade” we will view our experiences in the world based on that shade. And everyone has a different shade. This is often what contributes to arguments, as we are all seeing the world through our own lenses.
Where did they come from?
So how did you get these core beliefs? These different “shades”?
Core beliefs are developed early in life. They are often based on two things:
- Our early childhood experiences and,
- the way our memories have shaped and stored those experiences.
Simply put, they shape how we look at life. Our experiences are filtered through these core beliefs. And our interpretations of life come through these filters.
So, you might be wondering, are our shades or filters or core beliefs always right?
Absolutely not. They are often faulty and wrong.
Why? Well, it’s because they were based on your interpretation of an experience that you had as a child when you didn’t yet understand the world.
Many people have negative core beliefs that cause harmful consequences.
Sometimes core beliefs can cause a lot of distress in our lives. These beliefs are so entrenched that when we experience certain events, we tend to focus on evidence that we feel supports the belief and ignore the evidence that contradicts it.
So, can you do anything to change your core beliefs?
How to challenge our core beliefs
First, it begins with awareness. We must first identify what our core beliefs are. It’s not necessary to find out how it came into existence, just what core beliefs we have, and then determine to what extent this negative core belief is impacting our life.
Second, we must become aware of situations where we experience these deeply held core beliefs. If they are negative core beliefs, then we want to be able to pay close attention to these situations. What about this situation is triggering this particular core belief? What would it mean if it was true? If it is true, what can we do about it now?
Third, we must challenge these negative core beliefs. We do this by:
1. Holding the core belief up to the truth–find some ways to test this core belief and bring someone into the test that is neutral and more objective;
2. Determining not to accept these beliefs as truths;
3. Coming up with new core beliefs.
Doing these 3 steps will take some time and practice. You have held onto these old core beliefs since you were a child. They are deeply held beliefs, and they won’t easily be challenged. But don’t give up! Be patient with, and kind to yourself. You can develop new healthy core beliefs.