How to Change Negative Core Beliefs About Yourself (Part 1)
20 Common Limiting Mindsets & 5 Questions to Help You Change Them
In 5th grade I was accused by the principle of dancing on a table during lunch. She embarrassed me in front of a packed lunchroom. She then brought me to her office and her and the vice-principle harassed me. I cried and cried knowing I was innocent.
Because I was threatened, I never told my parents until 2 years ago.I later learned I was targeted by the principle in retaliation for a complaint my parents made about my brother’s first grade teacher. They targeted my sister as well.
I had tucked the incident deeply away until a friend asked me about when I think I first started to struggle with trusting authority. This experience formed a core belief of “people are not trustworthy” that I struggle with today.
Our core beliefs form childhood and further develop through life experiences. We can alter our core beliefs by admitting they impact us, understanding how they’re flawed, and changing them.This article will help you identify your negative core beliefs. Here are 20 common unhealthy mindsets. Which ones impact you the most?
20 Common Limiting Mindsets
1. “Things will never get better.”
2. “I’m a victim of my circumstances.”
3. “I must be almost perfect in whatever I do.”
4. “I need people’s approval to be OK with myself.”
5. “I’m worthless because of my past.”
6. “It’s better to avoid life’s difficulties than to face them.”
7. “I should have achieved much more by now.”
8. “I’m a failure.”
9. “I am awkward.”
10. “The worst results usually occur for me.”
“Nothing can bring you peace, but yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
11. “It’s usually my fault.”
12. “People are not trustworthy.”
13. “I don’t deserve good things in life. I am not worthy.”
14. “I have nothing to offer.”
15. “I am not good enough.”
16. “I am not safe.”
17. “I am alone/I don’t belong.”
18. “If I try new things and fail, people will view me negatively.”
19. “I am responsible for other people’s happiness.”
20. “People will judge/reject me if they see the real me.”
5 Questions to Help Replace Your Limiting Mindsets
These questions are adapted from the process of self inquiry from Byron Katy. What she calls, doing “The Work”.
1. Is it true?
2. Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do I react, what do I do, when I believe this is true?
4. Who would I be, how would I react, without this thought?
5. What’s a new, accurate, and hopeful view, that’s equally as true?
Figuring out where the roots of this negative core belief begin, (e.g. childhood, trauma, etc.) is also an extremely important questions to answer, you more difficult.
Here’s a worksheet on replacing your negative core beliefs to guide you.
A client frequently thought, “I don’t deserve good things in life”. He felt his future was doomed because of a mistake he made years ago. This belief caused severe anxiety that held hime back for decade. With some effort, he changed “I don’t deserve good things in life” to “I forgive myself and making good decisions now. Good things are ahead”. This perspective change turned his life around.
Changing negative core beliefs is hard work, but you CAN do it! The results you get in life are directly related to your focus. Doing “The Work” will change you life!
“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” – Mark Twain
Question: Which of these limiting mindsets causes you problems? Why do you think you have this core belief about yourself?