In chapter six of her book “How to Do the Work,” Author Dr. Nicole LePera talks about our Core Beliefs. It’s one of my favorite topics as she opens the chapter with a discussion of the stories we tell about ourselves.
“We often tell ourselves stories as an act of self-protection. In childhood, we are not mentally or emotionally capable of understanding that our parent-figures had a whole life outside of the one we know.”
So, as children, we filter everything through our egocentric minds. Every action of our parents is somehow related to us or because of us. No wonder many of us struggle with the idea of being unloveable or unworthy.
For me, waiting for hours after school for a ride home with my mom, I created the story that I’m unimportant. But what I couldn’t see was my mom’s desperate attempts to secure a second job to keep us afloat or the financial strain she was experiencing.
Instead I created a story that says, I’m not important; I’m not lovable: I’m not a priority.
So these stories are created with a child’s mind. And we keep them as our truth without ever fact-checking the data.
A core belief is a thought we have about ourselves or the world around us that we’ve put on repeat.
To change a core belief, we’ve got to change our repetitive thought patterns and replace them with something more positive and life-affirming.
This is where the work begins.
In this blog post, I’m sharing three tips on how you can begin the work of rewiring your thought patterns, so you disrupt the “I’m not good enough,” “Who am I to do X,” or “I’m not ever going to be successful at this” thoughts. You know those thoughts that 99% of us experience at some point or another?
And to be real with you, I’m still doing this work myself.
Identify the Old Beliefs
If you’re going to change your core beliefs, you need to know what the old stories are. What are the stories you tell yourself that don’t help you?
What are the stories you have of relationships? Money? Friendships? Career? Family? Your body? Spend some time journaling on this topic and see if any themes arise.
I have an old story of not living up to my potential, of not being as successful in my life as I know I could be.
When I was in the first grade, I was well above my reading and math level. I loved learning, and for me, it was an escape from the chaos that was going on in my family.
My teacher brought my parents in to counsel them that I was bored in school, and it might help me stay engaged to advance a grade. They left the decision up to me; I didn’t want to leave my friends, so I stayed in first grade. My parents told me I probably made the “right” choice.
So for me, an old story keeps me safe, small, and stuck where I am. I made the “right” decision by staying back and not challenging myself. I have seen this belief play out repeatedly in my life.
What’s one of your old stories or core beliefs that hold you back?
What’s Your New Belief?
Being clear on what you want to replace the old belief with is critical because you want something you can repeat easily.
And it doesn’t have to be a massive leap from “I’m unworthy” to “I’m the most amazing person ever.” Sometimes a more neutral mantra like “I show up for myself.” or “I’m worthy of self-care” can be an excellent stepping stone.
I’ve chosen a new belief of “I look for ways to challenge myself and am okay with being uncomfortable when I’m learning.”
What would you like your new belief to be?
Repeat that New Belief Often
I mean, seriously, repeat it a lot.
Because the subconscious tape has been running for years, we need to put some serious reps underneath our belts if we’re going to change this belief.
I have PAGES in my journals of repetitive writings that look like this.
I am worthy. I am loveable. I am enough. I am worthy. I am loveable. I am enough. I love to challenge myself. Failure is okay; it means I’m in the game. I am worthy. I am loveable. I am enough. I am always learning. I am enough.
Now obviously, this stuff isn’t meant for me to go back and re-read. It’s to help rewire my thinking. It’s a practice of speaking and writing the new thoughts that I want to become my core beliefs.
I also have sticky notes and art hanging on my wall that remind me of the beliefs I am building about myself and who I am.
And it’s working! I can reflect on how much more willing I am to experiment, to push what I think my edges are. To believe in my worth and my willingness to show up exactly as I am.
How do you want to put this new thinking into practice?
So that’s it…three steps to building new core beliefs. It’s deceptively simple, but it’s not easy. It is the work of a lifetime, the joy of becoming the human you want to be.