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Do Unhelpful Core Beliefs Hold You Back?

Core beliefs can be helpful or unhelpful… sometimes they can hold you back from opportunities…   

We all hold deep, foundational beliefs about ourselves, the world, and other people. We call these ‘core beliefs’. These beliefs have a significant impact on our lives, including how we see ourselves, what we think of our bodies, how we treat ourselves and how easily we trust other people.  They can also hold us back from living a fulfilled life.  

Core beliefs can be helpful, such as ‘I am a worthwhile person’, or unhelpful such as ‘I am unlovable’. Unhelpful core beliefs can contribute to hopelessness, low self-esteem, and excessive self-criticism. They can cause people to push themselves too hard, cope in unhealthy ways, or shy away from exciting opportunities.

Fortunately, these unhelpful beliefs can be changed with time, effort, and self-compassion.

In this  short animation,  Dr Alison Mahoney from THIS WAY UP shows us how we can learn to identify our core beliefs and notice how they impact what we think, feel, and do. Plus, how we can learn to change them.

Over time you can learn to value yourself for who you are, so that you can live an enjoyable, meaningful, and connected life. 

Let’s get to the root of it…

Imagine a tree.

Our core beliefs often lie at the root of how we respond to different situations. Unhelpful core beliefs can grow into false assumptions and insecurity. For example, if someone holds the core belief that they are incompetent, they may then assume that others will be unforgiving if they make even a small mistake.  

These assumptions then grow into day-to-day negative thoughts and worries (e.g., “My colleague must think I’m not doing a good job”), which become the leaves of the tree.

You can see that the way we behave has grown from our core beliefs and assumptions. 

core beliefs tree

However, it is possible to nurture the roots of an unhealthy tree, allowing it to grow new, healthy foliage to bring fulfilment to your life.  

Plant new seeds with self-compassion 

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness, care, and respect. Self-compassion can help comfort negative emotions in the present, heal painful memories from the past, and encourage you to challenge negativeunhelpful core beliefs. 

One way of fostering self-compassion is to consider how you would speak to a friend experiencing a similar situation – we are often much more compassionate to our loved ones compared to ourselves. 

Here are some examples of practicing self-compassion that you can incorporate into your daily life. You can download this resource and practice saying them in front of a mirror. 

Self-Compassion Resource Download and print

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