Discovering your limiting core beliefs might be a painful and difficult process, yet the effects can be profound, surprising, and often transformative.
You could compare it to the fascinating art of scuba diving; you have to let go of your fears, train your body, and trust your ability to see the truth, so that you can touch the bottom of the briny deep and find out what lives there.
Imagine that you’re a marvelous ocean. Nobody can see what lies in the depths of your beauty; only the waves and tides are plain and unconcealed. These are your emotions and thoughts, visible on the surface.
Your unconscious mind is the sea floor, inhabited by otherworldly creatures representing our fears, primal desires, and any pain that was too heavy to float on the top of our consciousness, so instead, sank through all the layers of awareness.
The closer to the ocean floor you get, the darker it becomes and the more you run out of air. Let me be your mental diving instructor and start by explaining where our core wounds come from.
The Painful Beginning
During our first years on this planet we’re allowed to be ourselves and express our emotions, simply because we are children. The personal freedom is granted to us as we slowly come to carelessly experience the world around us, supported by unconditional love from our parents.
When we grow up a little, we’re faced with rules and regulations we don’t truly understand yet: all we know is that disobedience causes criticism and rejection from our loved ones. We are not allowed to be our genuine selves anymore; we have to meet certain requirements to receive approval.
This is where the wound begins to appear, and it deepens with time, shaped by our interactions with the external world. The essence of our core beliefs is greatly impacted by our parents who help to shape our personalities while carrying the responsibility for our safety and well-being.
Every core wound is based on a basic knowledge that we are unacceptable as we are, so we have to adjust and change to be perceived as good. It influences our self-esteem and the very fabric of our thoughts.
This picture becomes the equivalent of your own oxygen bottle. Take my hand and we’ll descend a little deeper.
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The Different Shades And Shapes
Consider how you try to create the perfect image of yourself so that you may present it to the world. It often reflects the characteristics you see as essential for happiness and success, and those that you think make you deserving of love and affection.
That’s a core belief – subjectively true to you and only you – because your experiences made you think so. It’s a truth you were taught and whose accuracy you confirmed on your own. It’s the handful of rules you had to face every day, either at home or at school, and the teachers and other kids who eagerly helped in spreading the harmful stereotypes.
For example, if you were the child that did its best at school, but constantly heard: “you could be better,” you will carry the imprinted wound of “not being enough.” This belief will subconsciously influence your whole life, keeping you from fulfilling your dreams and maintaining prosperous relationships.
For the girl who is endlessly compared to her older sister, the wound will take the shape of “I am worse than other people.” If you grew up in a dysfunctional family and didn’t receive enough care and affection from your parents, your personal development will be based on one simple, yet heartbreaking fundamental belief: “I don’t deserve love.”
Later on, as adolescents and adults, we will try to use every single opportunity to prove the opposite of our negative core beliefs. We’ll experience symptoms of disharmony caused by our own forced inauthenticity: depression, emotional numbness, feelings of abandonment, anxiety and much more.
It’s an exhausting pursuit of almost unreachable values that aren’t even our own. We never decided that we have to be the best or that we must prove we’re lovable; others did that for us when we were most vulnerable and prone to suggestion.
That’s a sad side effect of what’s seen as the proper way of raising children in our society. The system of punishments and rewards backed with a lack of empathy and legitimate explanations continues to cause a lot of damage.
Your Personal Discovery
I can see that you’re getting the concept now. If you feel mentally prepared, you can try to take a dive and thoroughly explore your own negative core beliefs. Take a good look at your background and analyze beliefs that might have been projected onto you by your relatives during your early life.
Seek for patterns in your own behavior and consider what you’re trying to achieve from repeating them. Hunt down every glimpse of a gloomy thought that seems to flow from the inner reaches of your heart.
Draw and take notes during the process. Write down the titles of your favorite songs and interpret the lyrics. What subjects do they touch? Why do they feel so familiar and appropriate? What does it say about you?
Dedicate a few free evenings to figuring this out. You might learn a lot about yourself and be startled by the outcome.
Have you been able to identify your own core wounds? What are they and how has discovering them helped? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and experiences.