Free Yourself from Negative Core Beliefs
“To build self-esteem, you have to outface your negative beliefs about yourself and change them.” ― Asmaa Dokmak
Belief - an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially without proof.
This week we want to talk again about core beliefs, and we do this unashamedly. Negative core beliefs are the chains holding us back from the life we truly deserve. Reframing them is what it is all about. When we have positive core beliefs we know we can accomplish anything.
Let us recap. Our core beliefs make up the fundamental understanding we have of how things are. They are how we view the world, and they are absolutely, unique to us.
Core beliefs develop from birth onwards and are influenced by our genetic make-up, how we are parented and our life experiences. As we grow older our core beliefs solidify and come to define us. They are the things we believe about ourselves; our model of Self. Everything that we experience is filtered by those beliefs and so they contribute to our every thought, feeling and subsequent action.
When a situation develops, we check it against our core beliefs to help us understand why it happened the way that it did.
Our core beliefs can be either positive or negative.
Negative core beliefs can develop directly as a result of a traumatic experience. For example, a child who is told that they are not good enough will begin to believe it. Someone who is shouted at for not being top of the class, or first at sports day, may well develop a similar core belief. If a child is told they are stupid over and over, they are likely to develop this as a core belief. If a child starts to develop a particular trait or characteristic and is teased and laughed at by significant people in their life, this can result in them constantly trying to supress this characteristic, and in time the negative core belief of being ‘broken’ may develop.
Sometimes, negative core beliefs develop insidiously. There may not be an obviously traumatic event and the person may have loving, present parents. Despite this though, through misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of things that are said and done to us, unhealthy negative beliefs can emerge.
Later in life we strive to re-affirm our belief systems. We do this out of a need to feel safe. Where we are now, and how we currently think, feel and behave is familiar and comfortable. Anything else is unknown and therefore ultimately terrifying. Even when we recognise that our patterns of thinking are negative, it is hard to move out of our comfort zone.
Every time we tell ourselves who we are, again, we are reaffirming our core beliefs.
For example, we both consider ourselves to be disorganised, despite running our own businesses, bringing up children and writing. At some time during childhood, we both accepted that label. Our friends, family and colleagues would agree with us. This is because we point it out at every opportunity. We ignore our achievements and assume responsibility whenever things do not go to plan.
When we describe ourselves in a particular way, we are re-affirming our core beliefs. When we do this with self-deprecation, we are confirming our negative core beliefs and in doing this we give permission for others to treat us in certain ways. Ways that ‘bed in’ those negative beliefs.
Remember that those beliefs or labels that we have accepted are NOT who we are. They are roles that we have been playing up to this point. We can be whoever and whatever we want to be. We only have to believe in ourselves.
This week we want to introduce a practical tool to help you to uncover the labels that you have consciously or unconsciously accepted
Take a moment to think about yourself and your life.
Make a list of the roles you play or have played in life so far.
Next write down a list of words that you would use to describe yourself.
Now ask significant people in your life to do the same. This may be a partner, a parent, a colleague, a friend. Ask them to be honest. You may even want to make it anonymous.
Prepare yourself for what you might receive.
This exercise needs to be done with openness and honesty. You may not like how others see you but the knowledge you gain will grant you great power. Remember that they way that we are perceived by others, is often dictated by our own beliefs about Self.
Compare those lists:
How do you see yourself?
What do the words you have written say about you?
What do the words written by others tell you about the Self that you show to the world?
What roles and labels have you accepted from others?
What roles and labels have you given to yourself?
Now make a list of descriptions you want to fit, the things that you aspire to, and the roles that you truly love.
Compare your lists:
Where are the contradictions?
Which of these roles and labels no longer suit you?
Which of them feel like a good fit?
Which of them drain you and leave you feeling depleted?
Which of them sustain and nourish you?
Now, narrow down the lists to the perfect, ideal fit.
When you know what you want your list to look like and how you would like to present to the world, spend some time creating positive mantras that affirm those beliefs.
Keep them simple and positively worded:
“I am healthy”
“I am assertive”
“I am organised”
“I am confident”
“I am calm”
“I am loveable”
Repeat your own personal mantras every day, and as you begin to reframe your beliefs; new thoughts, feelings and behaviours will follow, creating a ripple effect throughout the universe and changing the way that it responds to you forever.
For a deep dive into self-awareness and over 60 tools and techniques to help you transform your mindset, manage anxiety and improve your mental health read our book:
'How to Rise - A Complete Resilience Manual' from Sheldon Press.
Now available for pre-order