What are core beliefs and how do they shape us as people?
Core believes are really a set of values that develop early on in life, and continue to strengthen and solidify based on our experiences. We first start to develop these beliefs based on the environments we are in. Parents, teachers, religious institutions, soccer coaches, or peers; really anyone who is deemed important or valuable to us at our early developmental stages when we are trying to figure out our way in the world and how we fit in it.
How it works is we take on the beliefs of these trusted sources in our lives. If my parents seem to value physical appearance over intelligence, so I will develop the belief that this is important. That would be a core belief. If my soccer coach at age 5 somehow suggested to me that “real men never give up” and I trusted and valued him, I would then potentially develop the core belief that that is the case. If my trusted religious institution preached to me about what is right or wrong, I would then internalize those “rules” and make them core beliefs.
So, when does this become problematic?
Well, when all of my beliefs about what is good and bad about people come from external sources, how is it possible that I can measure up to them in my mind? Before going further, it is important to note that some of the messages we get in our early life are good and beneficial to our core belief structure. In addition, often times we may misinterpret messages which lead to core belief development as well, so it is important not to place blame the sources of these messages. That doesn’t do any good anyway.
Regardless of how, if I received a message that physical appearance is the most important thing in life, and I do not consider myself to be attractive, I have a serious problem. My view of myself does not match with my core beliefs of what a “good’ or valuable person is. Or, if my behaviors do not match perfectly with what was preached to me about what “good behavior” is, then I would not consider myself as a “good” person. This can lead to great amounts of emotional distress.
Core beliefs are part of us, and essential to how we perceive the world and our place in it, although can become problematic when we don’t align perfectly with them. If that’s the case, we may try tirelessly to measure up, always falling short. The problem is not with me or you, the problem is in our core beliefs. When something in our day to day routine triggers our core belief structure which we are misaligned with, it can cause a negative emotional response.
What can be done to manage problematic beliefs?
These negative emotional responses may cause unnecessary emotional distress or even affect the way we function or communicate with others, thus impacting our relationships and causing conflict. If this is happening in your life, you may be out of alignment with your core beliefs and values. So, what can be done about this? The first step is to be very clear on exactly what core belief may be getting triggered. Without this awareness, it is very hard to work through it.
After we gain insight into the belief, we need to decide if that belief is realistic or indeed not appropriate for us any longer in our lives. If the belief is still deemed as necessary and pertinent, then we must examine ourselves and our behaviors. We must ask ourselves if we are operating out of alignment with our beliefs. If so, we must take the right actions to correct this.
In the event that our beliefs are viewed as no longer necessary for us, then we may need to look at altering these beliefs to fit us better for where we are at in our lives right now. This isn’t always easy as these beliefs can be quite ingrained in our subconscious minds, but with diligent and consistent effort, these shifts can be made. So, it comes down to two possibilities; either my core beliefs are good and I am operating in a way that is out of alignment with them, or my beliefs are not realistic for me and I must go through a process of shifting my beliefs.
Take the time to help yourself
This is where a good life coach can come in handy. If you are operating out of alignment, then a good action plan and some accountability can go a long way. If beliefs need to shift, support and guidance with managing this will be very helpful as it is not an easy process.
Are you experiencing any emotional distress or conflict in your life right now? Could it be due to not matching quite right with your core beliefs? Start the process of getting into alignment right now!