May 18, 2015
When you first dig up the festering mess of your core beliefs from
the depths of your being you'll likely experience one of three
...or all three at once.
As one of the most fundamental practices on the inner journey of
awakening, uncovering our toxic
core beliefs is definitely not a clean or sanitary path.
We ALL carry our own devilish assortment of toxic core beliefs that
eat away at our sanity on either a conscious or unconscious level.
influence every level of our being...
To effectively develop
self-love, open our hearts to others, and experience the inner peace
of Soul-embodiment, we need to turn inwards.
We need to illuminate the
Going in search of your
core beliefs is one of the most essential paths for true and deep
healing because it goes to the center of your suffering.
What Are Core
Our core beliefs are,
stories, convictions, and judgments we carry about ourselves
that define our sense of self...
Core beliefs also
determine how we feel about others, how happy we are with ourselves,
and how we perceive the world at large.
Our core beliefs are even
responsible for how successful we are in self-actualizing our
deepest dreams and uncovering our personal meaning of life.
our core beliefs
influence every aspect of our lives...
Typically, our core
beliefs first developed in childhood and solidify in adulthood.
Core Beliefs and
ourselves on the mental level
as we become
aware of our core beliefs,
that limit us,
and open to more
The whole point of the spiritual awakening journey is to loosen our
attachment to that which is false and limiting - and this includes
our core beliefs.
These core beliefs can
become so dense and constricting that they contribute to a Dark
Night of the Soul (or spiritual crisis).
In Indian philosophy,
core beliefs are related to the idea of samskaras, or
patterns of conditioning that we continuously repeat in our
To connect with our True
Nature, we need to become aware of these inner contractions that
tend to undermine, control, and pollute our way of living and being.
Why Your Core
Beliefs are Surprising!
Just when you think you have a pretty good idea of who you are...
just when life seems to be going well... everything starts spiraling
Have you ever felt
this way before?
(Note: most of us have at
some point in our lives!)
We've all experienced periods of life where everything is
We seem to be on the
And then - out of
nowhere - a mysterious depression descends upon us. (Surprise! )
Or we get a huge
anxiety attack that cripples our self-esteem. (Surprise!)
Or we self-sabotage,
attract the wrong person into our lives, and make a fool of
Why does this happen...?
You can probably
guess what I'm going to say...
Yes, our core beliefs are
"But I've focused so
much on self-growth and spirituality - what's going wrong?" you
My answer is that, most
likely, you haven't gone deep enough into your psyche to undo your
Probably, you've taken
the outside-in approach where you:
...but for the most part,
these are all very external or superficial practices...
No matter how much you
work on your external life, you still find yourself consumed by
toxic shame, anger, self-pity, and self-destructive behaviors.
Don't worry, it's not your 'fault'. No one taught you that you need
to take the hard path, peek underneath the curtain of your mind, and
shine a torch into its deepest recesses.
That's where this article (and whole website) comes into the
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
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
I am not worthy
I deserve to be
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
Pay attention to those
that generate feelings of discomfort within you:
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
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
Remember that your
toxic core beliefs will be in 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.
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
Pay attention to the
things that you often say that make you feel a little insecure,
self-conscious, or embarrassed.
emotions will help you to pinpoint a supporting belief statement
that contains within it a core belief of yours.
journaling and try the 'why?' technique
Record the thoughts you have about yourself and other people
during the day.
Next to each thought ask "Why?" and ask the questions,
"Why is that so
bad / Why is that so important?"
Keep asking these
questions until you reach a core answer.
For example, you might write,
"I hate how my
friend keeps interrupting me."
Why is that so
bad? "Because I want to be listened to."
Why? "Because I
want to be cared for."
Why? "Because I
feel like no one cares about what I have to say."
Why is that so
important? "Because I feel alone and worthless."
From this example, we
can ascertain that the core beliefs would be,
"I am worthless"
and/or "I am alone."
emotions are your friends
Uncovering your toxic core beliefs can be invigorating and
empowering - but also intimidating and a little scary.
painful emotions are your friends. In other words, being
brutally honest with yourself is essential.
Paying attention to
fluxes and surges of unpleasant emotions will help you to
uncover your inner blockages.
Do you feel
anxious, gutted, enraged, self-conscious, insecure,
nauseous, or otherwise uncomfortable in your own skin?
Good. You know that
you're coming close to unveiling a core belief of yours.
It's like pulling out
a splinter: you'll feel the pinch of sharp pain first, but
that's a necessary part of the healing process.
Throughout this process, it's crucial that you be gentle and
kind toward yourself.
toxic core beliefs can backfire if you use the information
as an opportunity to bully yourself.
Please don't do that.
You didn't choose to have these toxic core beliefs:
they developed as
part of your childhood wounding and conditioning.
So be compassionate
and go at your own pace - that will make this journey into
something nourishing and empowering, not into a witch hunt meant
to 'eradicate' all of your demons.
How to Change
Your Toxic Core Beliefs in 9 Steps
As we've seen, core beliefs are the fundamental convictions we have
about ourselves - they are the so-called "absolute truths" we have
adopted throughout the course of our entire lives, usually starting
For example, if we had an emotionally unstable father as children
who constantly punished us and called us "stupid," it's likely that
we would then develop the core belief that we are "stupid" or
Or if we had a neurotic
mother who was constantly warning us to "be safe," we might have
developed the belief that "we are not safe," creating an endless
array of psychological problems in our later lives.
Once you have
discovered your core beliefs, the next step is to actively
Below I'll show you how
to change your core beliefs in a relatively straight-forward way.
Keep in mind that any form of inner work demands time, energy, and
But remember, everything
you put out is returned to you tenfold!
1. Identify one
core belief at a time
It's pointless trying to rush the process of healing by trying
to solve every core belief you've identified all at once.
Start with the most
severe and persistent core belief first. Often you'll discover
that there is one main core belief that seems to pervade a lot
of what you think, feel and do. Target this one first.
The smaller and less
persistent core beliefs (i.e., the ones that fluctuate with your
mood) can come later.
Understand how the core belief impacts your life
In order to truly motivate yourself to change your core belief,
you must genuinely understand the impact it has on your everyday
life and your life at large.
Meditate or write
down the answer to the following question,
"How does this
core belief impact my life?"
You might respond,
"It stops me from
feeling confident. It makes me more anxious in public. It
makes me doubt and hate myself. It causes me to lose
Knowing how your core
belief harms you will motivate you to make some serious changes.
3. On a
scale of 1 to 10, how much do you believe it?
Often our core beliefs sound completely ridiculous.
To the conscious
mind, it's easy to laugh at them and dismiss them. But on an
unconscious level, they still remain within us wreaking havoc.
For this reason, it's
important for you to sit down and really reflect on how much you
truly believe your core belief. Don't forget to be genuine and
tell the truth - this can be hard!
On a scale of 1 (don't believe at all) to 10 (strongly believe),
rate how much conviction you have in your core belief.
If your score is
above 5 ask yourself,
"Why do I believe
this is true about myself?"
You might like to
note down or reflect on past memories or experiences that uphold
If your score is
below 5, try to identify any emotions (such as fear) hiding
behind your disbelief.
hidden forms of resistance
people hold a core belief
that is very
are presented with evidence
against that belief,
evidence cannot be accepted.
create a feeling
to protect the core belief,
rationalize, ignore and even deny
that doesn't fit in
Frantz Omar Fanon
There are many reasons why we consciously or unconsciously
refuse to change our old core beliefs.
Usually, the reasons
involve fear of failure, fear of change, and fear of
uncertainty. If we have been habituated to think and behave in a
certain way all our lives...
what will happen
if we don't anymore?
what will happen if we fail?
Before you try
changing your core beliefs you need to be able to deeply commit
to the journey.
By becoming conscious
of what is holding you back from changing your core beliefs you
will prevent self-sabotage.
ways to disprove your core belief
Now that you have rated how much you believe your core belief,
try looking at the "big picture."
By finding ways to
disprove your core belief, you will prove to your unconscious
mind that you are no longer being positively served by this
deeply held conviction.
For example, if your core belief is "I am unwanted," you might
like to deliberately look for ways you have been wanted before,
e.g., you might write down,
"When I was 10 my
teachers wanted me to be in charge of the class
presentation. When I was 16 someone had a crush on me.
When I was 19, my
friend got upset with me for not wanting to go with her to
the movies. Every year my relatives want me to come to the
My partner wants
to be with me...",
...and so forth.
6. Find an
alternative core belief
After discounting your core beliefs and proving them to be
flawed and unrealistic, it is now time to replace them.
Find an alternative
core belief that contradicts what you currently believe.
For example, if
you have the core belief "I am ugly" you might like to
replace it with, "I am beautiful."
Or if your core
"I am a loser"
you might replace it with, "I am quirky."
It's important that
you choose a core belief that you genuinely believe in. Beware
of going over-the-top with your core belief (e.g., "I am rich
Instead, try to
be realistic and down-to-earth.
Affirmations can help
in this step.
7. Explore how
your life will change with your new belief
How will your new
core belief transform your life?
Will it help you
to be more joyful, confident, creative, or prosperous?
Reflect on, or write
down your thoughts.
Go into as much
detail as you like and take pleasure in visualizing the future.
8. If you don't
change your core beliefs, what will be the consequence?
It helps to keep in mind the natural consequences of continuing
to cling to a toxic core belief. Not only will this help to
motivate and keep you on track, but it will also help to
reassert the true value of your journey.
9. Develop a plan
After identifying, challenging and replacing your core belief
you need to have a plan of action in place.
Ask yourself what you
plan to do in the next month to constantly override your
thinking patterns that are associated with your negative core
For example, you might plan to remind yourself of three ways you
are lovable every time your core belief "I don't deserve to be
loved" pops up.
Some other ideas
journal where you record your progress
time every day in solitude to introspect
yourself in the mirror every morning repeating your new
healthy core belief sincerely
Visualizing/hypnotizing yourself into a suggestible
state that prepares your unconscious mind for change
The possibilities are limitless.
And remember that
it's normal to slip-up or forget - just be gentle with yourself
and keep persisting...!
If you're looking for a
place to start, I recommend exploring mirror work and coupling this
with an empowering affirmation (see step 6 above again).
As you walk the challenging, but deeply fulfilling path of
uncovering your core beliefs, remember that some core beliefs are
more persistent than others.
It's common for some core beliefs to fluctuate with your emotion
(pay attention to these) but also look out for those that emerge
even when you aren't feeling emotional (these are often the deeper,
more serious core beliefs).
Replacing your core beliefs will take time and effort, but the
rewards are endless and priceless.
creativity, productivity, prosperity, joy, fulfillment, and love are
some of the many gifts you will receive throughout this journey.