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5 Core Beliefs Fueling Chronic Conditions

By Jenny Peterson

Do you want to put an end to your chronic symptoms? Then you can’t overlook what I am talking about today. 

Underneath your chronic symptoms and really all the problems in your life are your core beliefs. In today's blog, I’m going to address the 5 core beliefs that are fueling your chronic symptoms so you can understand what is truly at the root of them. 

If you have been listening to me for a while or just started learning about subconscious patterns, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the idea that you need to find all these subconscious patterns that are connected to your symptoms in order to heal. 

I’m not here to overwhelm you, in fact I’m here to help you simplify. If you're overwhelmed with this idea it's because you are most likely thinking that there are many patterns that you need to look for or find. Which is not the case. The truth is that you are operating from no more than 3-4 core beliefs and those beliefs are driving everything you do and are at the root of your symptoms. 

After working with hundreds of clients for the last 5 years, this has proved to be true time and time again. 

Now before I dive deep into the 5 core beliefs connected to chronic conditions, I want to cover some of the basics so this all makes sense to you. I can talk all day about core beliefs but if you don’t understand how they are connected to your symptoms it's of no help. 

Let's first start with the difference between core beliefs and limited beliefs. 


Limited beliefs are simply thoughts that constrain us in some way which we believe to be absolutely true so we don’t challenge them. 

Here are some examples:

  • I can’t dance

  • Dairy is bad for you

  • Life is hard

  • You can’t trust men

Limited beliefs can be about anything. Other people, the world, food, your illness etc. They put a ceiling on your ability to shift your thinking in whatever area they are connected to. You most likely have an event in your life that happened to support these beliefs, or someone has imposed them upon you. 


Core beliefs are much different. Core beliefs are the deepest values and most central ideas you hold about yourself. In fact, they are so deep that most people are vaguely aware of them and definitely don’t share them with anyone else. 

They start with “I am”. I’m a failure, I’m not good enough, I’m unlovable, etc.

Core beliefs are like the underground roots of a tree. They are unseen, but they determine a great deal about the overall health and functioning of the tree. These beliefs set a foundation, a list of rules and assumptions about ourselves, others, or the world. They guide our interpretation of all the events that happen to us, even if we rarely think of them consciously.

The words that actually run through our mind on a day-to-day basis are the observable parts of the tree, its roots, leaves, and branches. These are the thoughts we blame for much of our emotional pain, but they are often actually the symptoms of our deeper unhelpful core beliefs.

In order to make major changes in how we think and behave in the world, we need to look at the roots. We need to spend some time looking at our core beliefs.

Core beliefs are developed early on in childhood. As you grew up, you learned these beliefs about yourself and your world and at that time they helped you get through tough situations. They are essentially created through trauma or unprocessed situations. 

Keep in mind that trauma is any experience (not just something like physical abuse, death, etc) that we are unable to process. It often includes feeling sad, ashamed, scared and alone. 

In these moments of overwhelm, our subconscious mind attempts to regain a sense of control and safety by interpreting the data it receives from the external and internal environment. It then creates a conclusion about what it means from those details. That conclusion becomes a core belief. 

For example, if you had an emotionally unstable father as a child who constantly punished you and called you “stupid,” it’s likely that you would then develop the core belief that you are “stupid” or “worthless.” 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 anxiety patterns in our later lives.

Core beliefs are either formed on your own from your perception or like the example with the mother, can be passed down through repetitive learned behaviors. 

It's not just one time that something has to happen to form a belief, its several times. After a while with repetition, it starts to become your default. When it becomes our default, we start to see the world through that filter and continue to attract situations that support that belief. 

If the outcomes in your life keep repeating and your same problems don’t go away, you can bet a core belief is at the root of them. 


Now let's bring this full circle to how core beliefs are at the root of chronic health conditions. 

As I have talked about in previous episodes, our health conditions are created by our perception of events in our lives. How you see the world now as a 30, 40, 50, etc year old is based on your core beliefs from childhood. So if you have a core belief that you are not safe, you perceive situations through those lenses. 

Your brain and body are always focusing on survival. The only thing it always wants to know is “am I safe or not safe”. If you have a belief that you are not safe, it will not feel safe. If you have a belief that you are not good enough, that doesn’t feel safe. 

These messages are a threat to your survival according to your brain and regardless if they don't feel like a threat to you, it doesn’t know the difference. It doesn’t feel safe, so It has to respond as if there is a threat. That response is through adaptation in your body which results in symptoms. The way your body protects itself from this danger that it is perceiving is by adapting internally. Essentially your body takes the hit for what you emotionally couldn’t process. 

So chronic symptoms that don’t go away indicate that you are still operating from these old core beliefs that you developed when you were a child. Addressing these core beliefs will make profound changes not only in your health but your entire life because your core beliefs are bleeding into everything you do. 

Now let's dive into the 5 core beliefs that are at the root of chronic conditions:

1. I don’t belong. 

Being rejected by peers or even family at an early age can make you carry an “outsider” identity for years afterward. As an adult, you might avoid engaging with others for fear of rejection, or you might swing to the other extreme and become overly concerned with being the perfect group member.

Feeling like you don’t belong is scary to the brain. It means that you are susceptible to danger, and your survival is at risk. 

I see this belief show up when a person is the odd duck of the family, feels alone, is different according to society, or has been rejected/abandoned by family or friends. It's connected to kidney issues, water retention and some stomach conditions. 

2. I’m not good enough

This core belief has a lot of other sub-beliefs connected to it. Essentially it comes down to the perfectionist pattern. 

  • I am not good enough to be loved 

  • I’m a failure

  • There is something wrong with me

A persistent feeling of not measuring up can often be traced back to over-critical parents, bullying from classmates, or a tendency to compare yourself to others. This belief can lead people to push themselves too hard to overcompensate. People with this belief are prone to avoidance or procrastination to prevent feeling like a failure. 

"I have to be perfect." A cousin of “I’m not good enough,” leads people to drive themselves until their health or relationships suffer. Perfectionists have unrealistically high expectations and tend to focus on their flaws and missteps. They may have trouble taking life less seriously and often have the sense that there is too little time.

This belief shows up in the structural components of our body like the bones, muscles, tissues, and lymphatics. Here again, if we are sending a message to our brain and body that we are not good enough, this is not a message that feels safe. Not feeling good enough essentially puts our survival at risk. 

3. I’m not safe

This is by far the one I see the most. It is the root belief in everyone that is experiencing anxiety. Whether you have chronic anxiety or situational anxiety like the fear of speaking, this belief is at the core.  "The world is dangerous" is friends with this belief. This negative core belief leads to a lot of worrying and risk avoidance. 

If you believe there’s evil or misfortune lurking around every corner, you’re likely to restrict your activities and seek excessive reassurance to alleviate your anxiety. You also tend to overestimate the probability of negative outcomes and underestimate your ability to cope. 

This belief can be traced back to childhood every single time, regardless of your childhood experience. It can be back to a helicopter mom that was always telling you how scary the world is, you saw a parent always being fearful, you were afraid to upset your mom, you feared speaking up, your parents were always arguing, etc. Your coping style with this belief is that you don’t think you can provide your own safety because no one taught you how to do that. 

The truth is that most parents are not taught how to teach their child healthy coping skills. Its the reason why generations after generations people continue to respond to life with the same unhealthy ways. I have found everyone has this core belief of “I’m not safe” to some degree. 

To the brain this belief feels exactly what it says, unsafe. 

4. I’m not important

This belief often comes from when our parents put other things as a priority over us as a child or we perceived that they did. 

When we have this belief, we often take things personally. We will think that because the waiter is taking too long to come to our table, its because we are not important. Because your husband doesn’t call you to tell you that he’s going to be late, you will think it's because you're not important. 

This core belief is often found as an underlying benefit (aka secondary gain) for why people unconsciously choose not to get well. If they are getting attention and feeling important while having symptoms or being taken care of, they may not want to let go of that experience due to the fear of feeling not important again. So rather than take action to get well, they stay in the situation unconsciously to have that need met. 

5. I’m Powerless

Feeling powerless and unsafe typically go hand in hand and are the root to anxiety. If you don’t feel safe, you essentially are going to feel powerless to do anything about it. This person often feels like their hands are tied and they can’t do anything about a situation. They will often complain about their situations but never do anything to change it. 

This core belief stems from our fear of or inability to step into our own power. Here again, we are often not taught to step into our own power, instead we are told to fear and give our power away to an outside source. 

I often see this with those that are brought up in strict religious beliefs, those that had parents that had a victim mentality or simply never taught them that they are the creator of their own lives. 

Believing that you are powerless will prevent you from taking action in your own life and leave you feeling like a victim to your circumstances. This belief can greatly affect how you perceive your health conditions and your ability to resolve them. 

These 5 core beliefs are the driving force behind your thoughts, actions, perceptions, decisions, relationships and more. All of them may not be relatable to you but I can guarantee at least one of them is. I also want to mention that there are other core beliefs out there, I’m only discussing the ones I see with those that have chronic health conditions. 


To see how this plays out in your health,  let's use chronic bladder infections as an example. This is about not being able to establish your territory. Sure, you may know that you need to set boundaries and protect your territory, but what is stopping you from doing that? 

Maybe you don’t feel safe to speak up or you feel like if you did speak up that nothing will happen. Underneath these are the core beliefs that you don’t feel safe and feel powerless. If you felt safe to speak up and that you had the power to adapt to the situation, you would be setting the boundaries that your body is asking you to do. So the resolution to the bladder infections is not just shifting your perception about a particular situation, it's seeing what core beliefs are driving your behavior not to set a boundary and shifting those beliefs so you can do something about it. This is how long lasting healing happens. You are addressing how you perceive life from the core. 


If you hear this list and say, “none of these sound like me”, please don’t disregard this information. You may have other core beliefs that I didn’t list and what is most likely happening is that you are looking at this from a conscious place rather than an unconscious place. 

Your subconscious mind doesn’t think like you do consciously. It has old programs and memories from many years that you most likely don’t know exist. 

We need to pull back some layers to reveal underlying core beliefs. It often requires detective work that only a trained eye can see. 


The easiest way to identify your core beliefs is by making a list of at least 10 areas or events in your life that were traumatic to you before the age of 12. Remember that trauma doesn’t mean that it has to be big. It's anything that we couldn’t process that made us feel alone, scared, ashamed or sad. 

It could have been situations that happened at school with friends, feeling scared to say or do certain things at home, how we saw our parents coping with their stress, not having an emotional connection with your parents, etc. Most likely your core beliefs came from things that happened regularly in your life, not one time events. 

Once you have your list of situations, then you ask yourself what beliefs you developed about yourself from that situation. Find the beliefs that start with I am for those situations and write them down. 

After you write them down, you will see on your piece of paper, a list that most likely has a lot of the same core beliefs. The ones that show up the most are your core beliefs.  

Something to keep in mind…. People are not walking around saying “I’m not important, I’m not good enough, etc. Instead, the words that they say will be disguised by supporting beliefs. 

Supporting beliefs often sound like the following:

  • “She never cared for me” (I’m unlovable)

  • “He spent the day with her instead of me” (I’m not important)

  • “I’m worried that something bad will happen” (I’m not safe)

  • “I’m sorry that I keep making mistakes, I’m a klutz” (I am a failure)

Pay attention to the things that you often say that make you feel a little insecure, self-conscious, or embarrassed. These uncomfortable emotions will help you to pinpoint a supporting belief statement that contains within it a core belief of yours.

You can also practice journaling and try the ‘why?’ technique. 

At the end of the day write down what is on your mind that may be bothering you. I don’t suggest doing this about symptoms. This would be for specific situations outside of symptoms. 

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 don’t feel important. From this example, we can conclude that the core belief would be, “I’m not important”.

When you do this exercise regularly along with making your list of memories, you will see how the same core beliefs that you found in your list of memories are still showing up today. They are what is driving your perception of your experiences. 


Becoming aware of your core beliefs will provide you with deep insight about what is driving your perceptions. It's these perceptions that are the root causes of symptoms. This is true root cause healing. 

Awareness is the first step in the healing journey. I encourage you to take action with the suggestions I gave you today to identify your core beliefs and start building that awareness. 


You are unique, your symptoms are connected to very specific patterns within your subconscious.

Without a plan unique to you, you will continue struggling and miss out on the life you deserve to be living! To help you get started on your long-lasting healing journey, we would love to provide you with a healing plan that is unique to you. Get your custom healing plan today!

You can also Download my free healing guide, “Why Can’t I Heal” where you will learn the 5 reasons that you haven't healed despite everything you've tried. These are the missing pieces to your healing and the key to resolving your symptoms for good.

Jenny Peterson is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Rewire (MBR). She teaches those that are overwhelmed with trying to heal chronic symptoms how to simplify their healing by focusing on just one place, the subconscious mind. Learn more about MBR here.


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