What Is Core Belief and How to Identify Negative Core Beliefs

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There was one quote I read that says “if our core belief is based on what other people think, then we eventually allow their opinions to become our reality.” But you might ask, “what is core belief?” 

Not all of us are aware of our core beliefs. Being conscious of them is crucial because it affects our assumptions about ourselves, the world, and others. 

Our core beliefs also significantly shape our reality and behaviors. So, in this post, let’s talk more about what exactly are core beliefs, how do core beliefs affect us, and how to identify your negative core beliefs.

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What is Core Belief

Like I mentioned earlier, the core belief is our most deeply held assumptions about ourselves, the world, and others. 

Core beliefs are our basic beliefs and what we believe is the absolute truth.

These are the beliefs that are cemented in our minds and it is something we consult and accept with no questions, no doubts, and sometimes, we aren’t even aware that we are living day-by-day with these core beliefs.

Being aware of your core beliefs is significant as not all these beliefs are positive and some of them could be very destructive. Sometimes, it could also distort how you view yourself, others, and the world.

Examples of Core Beliefs

We have already addressed the question about what is core belief, now, let’s take a closer look. 

Sean Clarke put up a great example of common negative and positive core beliefs that many of us have. Here are some of them:

Examples of Negative Core Beliefs

  1. I’m not as good as them
  2. I’ll never amount to anything
  3. People don’t like me
  4. I can’t do anything right
  5. They’ll leave me in the end
  6. Everyone just uses me
  7. The world is evil
  8. People only like interesting people
  9. I’m just an anxious person
  10. I’m stupid

Examples of Positive Core Beliefs

  1. I can do this
  2. I believe in myself
  3. My mind is capable of great things
  4. My hard work will pay off
  5. Failure does not exist
  6. Everything is temporary
  7. Learning is key
  8. I can change if I want to
  9. Others will help me
  10. Good things happen when you make them happen

Do any of these core beliefs sounds familiar to you?

Sometimes, we don’t realize that we believe these ideas or thoughts.

You might find yourself in a situation where you turn down a wonderful project offer but little did you know, you rejected it because your core belief says you can’t do anything right.

Or, you have a core belief that your hard work will always pay off. That’s why you are always determined to take on projects and committed to doing work no matter how hard it is.

How to Identify Negative Core Beliefs

Identifying our negative core beliefs is quite a challenge because as we know, we consult and accept these ideas with no questions. We don’t even categorize these beliefs as positive or negative, most of the time. So here are some ways you can identify your negative core beliefs:

Categorizing Negative Core Beliefs

Dr. Anna Schaffner wrote in her article for Positive Psychology that there are three main categories of negative core beliefs:

  • Helplessness –  these are core beliefs related to personal incompetence, vulnerability, and inferiority. 
  • Unlovability – these are core beliefs including the fear that we are not likable and incapable of intimacy.
  • Worthlessness – these are core beliefs that we are insignificant and a burden to others.

Knowing this category of negative core beliefs could help you recognize your core beliefs. Try to notice what you feel in some situations. 

For instance, you feel inadequate. Notice what thoughts come in with that feeling or what inner dialogue you might have so you can draw a solid line of what is a core belief underneath these thoughts or feelings.

Inspecting Automatic Negative Thoughts

According to the same article, Dr. Schaffner also wrote that “our automatic negative thoughts are the spawns of our core beliefs”. Noticing our automatic negative thoughts will help you trace your underlying core beliefs. 

So for example,  think about the time when you got a low score during an exam, what negative automatic thought did you have at that time? 

From that, try to look for patterns in your experiences and understand your own interpretations of these experiences.

What are your core beliefs?

I hope this blog post helps you understand what is core belief are and how to identify negative core beliefs!

In my next blog post, we’re going to learn how to change our negative core beliefs. In the meantime, try to contemplate or journal about what your core beliefs are and how it affects you.

Comment down your thoughts about this blog post or share some tips on how we can be more aware of our negative core beliefs!

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