Core beliefs (also referred to as limiting beliefs) are underlying “truths” that we hold about the world and ourselves. These beliefs are often shaped early in our childhood through our interactions with others and can become subconscious as we go about life.
Core beliefs are not necessarily true- they are simply ideas we believe to be true. Negative core beliefs can have extremely detrimental impacts on our lives and our well-being. Because of this, it is very important to work through these negative core beliefs and reshape them into more positive ones.
How are Core Beliefs Formed?
We come into this world with empty minds. As we grow older and are exposed to more things, our first interactions with the world and other people help form the way we think. Children are extremely impressionable, which is why so many of our beliefs are formed at a young age.
Beliefs are formed primarily by two things: the assumptions we make based on our own experiences and the things other people tell us to be true. Since the majority of childhood takes place under the guidance of parents, many core beliefs are formed by interactions with one’s parents.
This becomes problematic when you think about all the ways parents reflect their own traumas on their children. Even seemingly contrite things can have large consequences.
For example, if a parent chastises a child for not getting good grades, this can cause a belief in the child that they only deserve love when they are successful in school and in life. This of course is not true, but it can easily become the core belief of a person whose parents only show approval when they accomplish things.
Examples of Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are usually absolutist. They may start with the words “I am…” or “The world is..”, “People are…”
Here are some common negative core beliefs about oneself:
● I am unlovable.
● I don’t deserve to be happy.
● Something is wrong with me.
● I am worthless.
Here are some common negative core beliefs about the world:
● The world is against me.
● People only care about themselves.
● The world is a terrible place.
● People are dangerous and will only hurt me.
Beliefs Form Your Reality
The way we act and the decisions we make are always a consequence of our beliefs. When our beliefs are limiting instead of empowering, this can shape your reality negatively.
For example, if you have a limiting belief that ‘I will only be happy once I’m rich’, then you will never be happy unless you have a lot of money. This limiting belief also works adversely and pushes wealth away from you instead of attracting it. You sew continuous unhappiness in your life by reinforcing this limiting belief.
Meanwhile, you could instead support the empowering belief that “I can be happy no matter how much money I have.” Reinforcing this positive mindset will not only make you happier in general, but it will attract more wealth into your life.
What Limiting Beliefs Are Holding You Back?
The process of overcoming core beliefs and reshaping them is commonly known as ‘shadow work’. You are personally diving into your darkest shadows, tearing them apart, and creating light where there was once none.
The first step to reshaping core beliefs is figuring out which ones you have. This takes a great amount of introspection. Ask yourself the following question: “In what areas of my life do I feel helpless, discontent, or like I can’t get what I want?”
The answer to this question will usually zoom you in on a particular part of your life that is being negatively affected by limiting beliefs. Oftentimes, you will have to go deeper and deeper into this problem until you finally reach the source.
Reshape Your Limiting Beliefs
Reshaping your limiting beliefs takes time and patience. I have laid out four steps that you can follow to work towards reshaping your limiting beliefs into empowering ones. Remember- the more you work at it, the easier it will become.
1. Determine how your limiting belief has held you back in life.
Once you have narrowed in on your limiting beliefs, you should think back over your life and find those moments when your limiting beliefs negatively impacted you. You may think of missed opportunities, moments or relationships you self-sabotaged, times fear got the best of you, and more.
These instances will be unique to every person. Make a list of every moment you can think of under each limiting belief you have pinpointed.
2. Think of evidence that is contrary to your limiting belief.
Now you need to look back over your life and find moments that are at odds with your limiting belief. This should be a list of evidence that supports your limiting belief being wrong.
For instance, if you have a belief that people only care about themselves, make a list of times when it was obvious that people cared about others. The more evidence you can find, the easier it will be to convince yourself that your limiting belief is wrong.
3. Think of positive and empowering beliefs that can replace your limiting belief.
Next, it is time to think of empowering beliefs that can replace your limiting beliefs and create a positive change in your life. It is not just enough to convince yourself that your limiting belief is not true. In order to create real change, empowering beliefs need to replace the old ones.
4. Continue to remind yourself of your empowering belief any time your limiting belief holds you back.
There will continue to be moments in your life when your limiting belief rears its ugly head and threatens to negatively influence you. Do your best to fight these limiting beliefs with the empowering ones you created.
This will be very difficult at first. However, the more you work at it, the easier it will become. The brain is like a muscle that needs exercise. The more you use it for positivity, the more it will become natural.
Discover and Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs at a Galveston-based Women’s Retreat!
It can be tough to work on changing your limiting beliefs all by yourself. Joining a women’s retreat and working with others is an amazing opportunity for jumpstarting this difficult work.
Life coach Rachel Stokes incorporates core belief work into her Galveston Women’s Retreat. By joining the women’s retreat, you will get the chance to connect with other like-minded women who are also working to change their limiting beliefs into empowering ones. Having this support around you is very powerful at effectively ingraining these changes in your mind.