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Core Negative Beliefs Be Gone – 3 Steps To Stop Self Sabotaging

Eliminate core negative beliefs to stop self sabotaging

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"Unchecked negative beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophecies, limiting success in our pursuits and blocking us from reaching our full potential."

Do you ever wonder why certain negative patterns repeat themselves in your life? Maybe it’s a familiar breakdown in your romantic relationships, or it’s an on-going experience with money or with your health. Regardless of where you want to stop self sabotaging, the solution lies in addressing your core negative beliefs. 

Some would say they are the most destructive force in our lives. That’s because in the human mind, core negative beliefs weave a powerful narrative that controls our perceptions, emotions and actions. These deeply ingrained concepts about ourselves, the world and our place in it have an enormous impact on our mental health and overall well-being. Insidious, invisible and persistent, core negative beliefs can be a permanent ball and chain, unless and until we do something about them.

What Are Core Beliefs?

Core beliefs are deeply-rooted, pervasive ideas or convictions that we hold about ourselves, others and the world around us. They usually develop early in life and are formed by factors like childhood experiences, societal expectations and cultural influences. They shape the lens through which we perceive and interpret our lives, ultimately determining our emotional responses and behavioural patterns. 

When core beliefs are positive, they have a significant beneficial effect on our lives. However, when they are negative in nature, our perception of reality becomes negative too. This then leads to negative thoughts, feelings and actions, creating an endless cycle of negative experiences. 

The effect of core negative beliefs on mental health can’t be overstated. They act as filters through which we process information, affecting our self-esteem, self-worth and emotional states. Persistent negative thoughts contribute to anxiety, depression and a range of other mental health challenges. Ultimately, they can manifest in maladaptive behaviours and coping mechanisms that sabotage our personal and professional growth.

The Origins of Core Negative Beliefs

Many core negative beliefs stem from early childhood experiences and the messages received from caregivers, peers or authority figures. Exploring the events of your formative years helps you understand how certain beliefs took root and formed your worldview. Unearthing these origins is extremely useful for unravelling deeply ingrained negative thought patterns. 

Cultural and societal norms also contribute to the development of our core negative beliefs. Pressures to conform to unrealistic standards or expectations can implant beliefs of inadequacy or unworthiness. Recognizing just how much our cultural narratives and societal expectations played a part in how we think today aids in the dismantling of these beliefs and developing a more authentic and positive self-perception.

The 3 Steps to Banish Core Negative Beliefs

Recognizing and addressing core negative beliefs is crucial for fostering a healthy and resilient mindset. Unchecked negative beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophecies, limiting success in our pursuits and blocking us from reaching our full potential. By acknowledging and challenging these beliefs, we can stop self sabotaging and move toward positive self-discovery and personal development. Dealing with negative beliefs is not just a therapeutic endeavor but important in creating a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Here we will explore 3 practical steps to banish these limiting convictions and pave the way for a mindset of optimism, resilience and personal empowerment.

Step 1: Identify Your Limiting Beliefs

Before we can banish negative core beliefs, we must uncover what they are. Sometimes they are obvious, but often they are not. This step can be daunting as it may require revisiting past experiences that were challenging, perhaps even traumatizing. For those with significant trauma, it can be helpful to work with a therapist or counsellor. Once we begin uncovering some of our negative beliefs we can find a great many more, so it is useful to create a list of core negative beliefs to work with. There are a few different approaches to this step. Experimenting with the different strategies will help you discover which approach works best for you.

Self-Reflection Techniques

Engaging in self-reflection and self-inquiry is an effective way to identify core negative beliefs. Spend time asking yourself probing questions like: when do I remember first thinking and feeling this way? What was happening? What did I accept to be true that may not be? Journaling provides a valuable outlet for expressing thoughts and feelings, allowing us to track recurring patterns of negativity back to their origins. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep introspection, also enable us to observe our thoughts without judgment, cultivating awareness of underlying negative beliefs. 

Recognize Thoughts and Behaviour Patterns

Core negative beliefs often manifest in repetitive thought patterns and behaviours. By closely observing these patterns, we can gain insight into the underlying beliefs that drive our actions. Identifying triggers and common themes in negative thought cycles empowers us to pinpoint the root of these beliefs, laying the foundation for effective intervention. For example, when you experience a familiar negative feeling or catch yourself in destructive behaviour, you can ask, “what am I thinking right now?” The answer will give you strong clues about your core negative beliefs patterns, ultimately helping you to stop self sabotaging.

Seek External Feedback and Perspective

External perspectives, whether from friends, family or trusted colleagues, offer valuable insights into patterns of thinking that we might overlook. Seeking feedback from others can provide a more comprehensive understanding of how core negative beliefs influence our interactions and relationships. This external perspective can illuminate blind spots and contribute to a more nuanced self-awareness.

Step 2: Challenge and Question Negative Thoughts

Once we have identified the core negative beliefs that we want to eliminate, the next step is calling them into question. But first, it can be helpful to organize these beliefs. They can be  organized into different life categories; for example, money beliefs, relationship beliefs, beliefs about self etc. They can also be organized into degrees of harm. Put the most destructive core negative beliefs at the top of the list and work with those first. 

As simple as this next step sounds, most of us never take the time to challenge these deep-rooted beliefs because they have been ingrained in us for so long. This step is a form of cognitive restructuring and can be done verbally with a support person or in writing if you are working on your own.

Question Core Beliefs

Cognitive restructuring involves challenging distorted, negative thoughts. To challenge a core negative belief, examine the belief and verify its validity. This can be done simply by asking, “is this really true?” Or, “could this be false or flawed?” Often, upon reflection, we can see immediately that a belief we hold is not valid. This begins to dissolve the belief in our mind and takes the subconscious power of it away. Techniques like this help us systematically distance ourselves from our negative beliefs. By questioning the accuracy of toxic beliefs, we can break the cycle of automatic negative thinking, sometimes instantly.

Examine Evidence for and Against Beliefs

If the first approach doesn’t loosen the negative belief, another approach is to look at the evidence for and against the belief. We can critically evaluate the proof supporting or refuting a core negative belief to determine its validity. This step involves seeking objective evidence and considering alternative, more balanced perspectives. For example, we can ask, “what facts prove that this is true?” Or, “what evidence do I have that this is not true?” When asking these questions, be sure to consider not only your own experience but the evidence for or against the belief being valid in the world at large. For something to be true it has to be true everywhere and for everyone. By objectively examining the basis of these beliefs, we can diminish their power and create space for positive reinterpretations.

Step 3: Replace Negative Beliefs with Positive Affirmations

The final step to banish core negative beliefs is to cultivate new beliefs aligned with our desired change. Positive affirmations or considerations are powerful tools for counteracting core negative beliefs. We can craft affirmations that directly challenge and contradict these negative thoughts. Affirmations should be realistic, specific and aligned with the desired positive change, promoting a shift towards a more constructive self-narrative. 

An effective way to phrase a replacement for the core negative belief is using “what if” statements. This is a gentle and believable way to move our thinking in the right direction. For example, “what if the opposite of this were true?”

The effectiveness of positive affirmations lies in their consistent integration into our daily routine. We must recite affirmations regularly, especially during moments of self-doubt or stress, reinforcing the positive messages and gradually replacing the entrenched negative beliefs with a more empowering mindset.

A Shortcut to Help Stop Self Sabotaging In Real Time

Learning these processes intellectually is interesting, but to truly get results in your life they need to be integrated. Using a shortcut to handle negative beliefs as they arise can be helpful. The following 3 questions can be memorized or written down for reference so they can be easily used in real time. Every time you feel a negative emotion, it is a clue that a core negative belief is in action. When you notice a negative state, stop what you are doing and ask the following:

What am I thinking right now?

Is this really true? Could this be false?

What do I want to think or feel instead?

Here is an example of the shortcut in use:

What am I thinking right now? 

I will ruin this job interview, I always ruin opportunities.

Is this really true? Could this be false?

Maybe. When in my life did I seize an opportunity? I remember when…

What do I want to think or feel instead?

What if this job interview is great? If I do my best, I’ can feel great about it regardless of the outcome.

As you can see there is a shift in emotional state through this process. This shift affects our thoughts, feelings and actions moving forward towards a more optional outcome.

These 3 simple questions provide a structured and proactive approach to banishing core negative beliefs. By integrating cognitive restructuring, positive affirmations and real time implementation, we can fast track our way to cultivating a more positive and resilient mindset. 

The Power of Small Steps to Create Big Change

The journey toward overcoming core negative beliefs is a continuous process of self-reflection and growth. Embracing this evolution with openness and a willingness to learn, apply and practice fosters success in the face of challenges. Each step taken, no matter how small, contributes to the unfolding benefits of personal development. What we believe, consciously or not, is what we will perceive. If we believe life is hard, it will be. The first step to stop self sabotaging is recognizing that we have the power to create change in every moment.

Optimizing your beliefs is not complicated, but it is a skill that requires development. It takes perseverance coupled with time and energy focused within. It’s not always easy to be honest with how you have been programmed in your mind. It can feel like opening up a huge, dark attic inside you and cleaning it up by picking up every single item in there, facing each one head on, dusting it off and purging what’s garbage. But it also involves planting and fertilizing new beliefs that are healthy and love-based that quickly begin to feed a new and improved reality. When you prioritize having high quality beliefs, you automatically stop self sabotaging in your life and become magnetic to what you desire.

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