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Way of life or core beliefs? What you need to know.

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

Let’s start with where everything would begin. You are a child, completely innocent and new to the world, untainted by the ways of the people. You absolutely love yourself and everything around you and you genuinely believe that you deserve everything that you want. You believe the world revolves around you (egotistical) hence, no matter what happens around you or to you, you are sure it is because of you. You are then introduced into the world. You learn about people, things and the symbiotic relationship you have with them. Your priority is to keep yourself safe from negative feelings and experiences while you explore the world. Now, to make sense of this new place, you need to be able to interpret yourself, others around you and the world in general. This interpretation is made easy by developing beliefs. Beliefs help us understand the world in correlation with us, it works as a lens through which the world is viewed. Beliefs are what gives rise to thoughts, feelings and behaviours in reaction to a particular situation. Different people with different beliefs might think, feel and react differently to different situations. These beliefs are called your core beliefs.

  • When a child grows up to accommodate for its parents emotions while negating it’s own, it grows up with a core belief that other’s emotional needs must be given priority over its own, that, he or she is not important.

  • When a child is always pushed to over achieve and the parents never seem happy with the child’s achievement, the child grows up with a strong core belief that it is not worthy.

  • When a child is bullied, it develops a core belief that it needs to please others else, face rejection.

In similar ways, every incident that induces a negative emotion is imbibed and accepted as one’s own fault and a belief is created to prevent the self from incurring any further wounds. The problem arises when we believe our core beliefs are the truth, when in reality most of our beliefs are inaccurate.

Common negative core beliefs:

Abandonment: This belief centres around the fear of being abandoned when we try to exert our needs with people.

People I love always leave.

I can’t be assertive with people or they’ll leave.

If I don’t make them happy then they will leave.

I cannot be happy by myself.

Helplessness: This belief centres around giving up a sense of control and believing that you can’t help yourself.

I can’t do it

I am powerless

I can’t achieve anything in life

I will always be unsuccessful

I am a disappointment

I am trapped

Responsibility: This belief centres around trying to take control of everything to have a sense of safety. If you are responsible for everything then nothing can go wrong.

All this is my fault

I can’t/ shouldn’t ask for help

l can fix people

I have to make others happy

I have to be there for everybody at all times

I have to take care of myself at all times

Unlovable: This belief centres around thinking one is not worthy of love or is not capable of being loved or doesn’t deserve love

I am unlovable

I am unworthy

Nobody needs me

I am alone

Defectiveness: This belief centres around everything that is presumed to be wrong about the self

I am ugly

I am inferior

I am failure

I am always wrong

I am insignificant

I am a bad person.

Entitlement: This belief centres around the thought of being deserving of things over others.

I should get the best

I should have unique things

I should be respected

I should be given the spotlight

I can do no wrong

Only my opinions matter

While harmful core beliefs have negative effects on a person, accurate core beliefs help a person in leading a balanced life. Good/accurate core beliefs which are conducive to you, help you grow, understand the world around you better and flourish among others which is the most important thing for us as human beings. Since these core beliefs are what we constantly dip into before we feel, think or behave a certain way in a particular situation, it becomes extremely important for us to be aware of this force that is driving us. Consider a belief such as I’m not worthy, if this is the belief that we are constantly dipping into then in a situation where we are being abused by our partner we will consciously choose to accept that it’s what we deserve, that, we do not deserve something better.

The important question that arises now is how many are really aware of having core beliefs, if they do then how many know their core beliefs. If you can figure out your core beliefs wouldn’t you challenge them if they are limiting your emotions, thoughts and behaviours? But easy said than done. Figuring out your core beliefs is a process which takes time and patience and the awareness about your patterns. Go ahead and explore your beliefs with your therapist and see how many of your beliefs are conducive to you and how many are limiting you.


Perez, R.(2019, March 28). How to identify and change your core beliefs for the better. As told by Bex. .

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