Examples of Core Beliefs to Look Out For
A core belief is not an everyday garden variety belief that pops up spontaneously – it is the mother of all beliefs, the Big Kahuna of suffering, and the King or Queen of your own personal underworld that goes on to become part of your shadow self. This is why shadow work is one of our most recommended methods for exploring our core beliefs.
Often we are completely unaware of what our core belief/s are (even if we think we are “conscious”!) – and it is quite common to disbelieve their existence.
As I mentioned at the beginning; discovering your core beliefs will cause you to feel a cocktail of surprising emotions (from grief to disbelief). But whatever the case, the truth is that we all have core beliefs and we are all manipulated by them.
“But I’m a spiritual person: I’ve dedicated so many years to self-improvement!”
Maybe so. But if you’re still continuing to suffer, chances are that you haven’t done the dirty work of digging through the quagmire of your mind first.
In fact, I once used the same justification to avoid the fact that I struggled with some very real, very problematic core beliefs. Eventually, I learned the hard way. Thanks to the constant re-emergence of toxic guilt and shame I developed due to childhood conditioning, I discovered two main core beliefs about myself: (1) I am not worthy of happiness, and (2) I deserve to be punished.
I was a little speechless when I discovered these two core beliefs! They seemed so familiar, so big and scary – and yet there they were, condensed into simple little sentences that I could imagine a sad and scared little child repeating. (And indeed, they do come from the wounded inner child.)
Here are some other examples of common toxic core beliefs that we carry inside. Pay attention to those that generate feelings of discomfort within you:
- I am irredeemably flawed.
- I am unlovable.
- I am bad.
- I am stupid.
- I am worthless.
- I am a loser.
- I don’t deserve good things.
- I am a failure.
- I am weak.
- I am not enough.
- I don’t matter.
- I am boring.
- I am crazy and unstable.
- I can’t be fixed.
- I always hurt people.
- I always hurt myself.
- I have no hope.
- I am evil/sinful.
- I am unwanted.
- I am invisible.
- I am a mistake.
- I am helpless.
- I am ugly.
- I am shameful.
- I am uninteresting.
- I will die alone.
So, which of the above core beliefs stood out to you?
Keep in mind that the above list only displays a sample of the many possible core beliefs that could exist within you. Also, remember that we usually have more than one core belief operating behind the scenes.
5 Ways to Uncover Your Core Beliefs (the Fundamentals)
It is vital that you uncover as many core beliefs within you as possible.
Here is what you need to know:
1. They always start with “I am…”
Go and revisit the list of toxic core beliefs above. Can you see how nearly all of the toxic core beliefs start with “I am …” Others start with “I don’t,” “I always,” etc. which tend to sound quite judgmental. Remember that your toxic core beliefs will be in a black and white language that condemns you in some way.
2. They are often disguised by supporting beliefs
Yes, these little imps don’t like being spotted. So look out for supporting beliefs that uphold your central core belief/s. Supporting beliefs often sound like the following:
- “She never cared for me” (I am unlovable)
- “He is such a show-off, I can’t stand it” (I am unimportant)
- “They’re always messing everything up” (I am helpless)
- “I’m sorry that I keep making mistakes, I’m a klutz” (I am a failure)
Pay attention to the things that you often say that make you feel a little insecure, self-conscious, or embarrassed. These uncomfortable emotions will help you to pinpoint a supporting belief statement that contains within it a core belief of yours.
3. Practice journaling and try the ‘why?’ technique
Record the thoughts you have about yourself and other people during the day.