By Jenny Peterson
Imagine there is something so powerful that controls everything in your life, yet you have never been taught anything about it. In fact this one thing is the major reason for all the problems you have in your life, including chronic health conditions.
They affect the way you see the world, how you respond, how you feel, how you act and how you think.
What is this thing or things that are so powerful? Core Beliefs.
Whether you have heard of them or not, it is time you learn about them, or brush up on them, so you can start making changes in your life and health today.
After doing subconscious work with hundreds of people over the years, I’ve realized that most of the common struggles holding us back from reaching our true potential, having the health we desire, and living the life we want, are simply our core beliefs.
As human beings, we all have our own beliefs, values, and ideas.
Our family, friends, community, culture, and experiences throughout our lives contribute to our sense of self, who we are, and how we view the world and reality. Beliefs are one way our brain tries to make sense of and bring order to the world. Our beliefs and attitudes towards life impact how we act and behave and ultimately create in the world.
However, many of us barely think about what our beliefs are and where they come from, let alone how they impact every aspect of our life and experience.
If you are not where you want to be in your life, whether physically, emotionally, romantically or financially (and so on), chances are your core beliefs are the cause.
There's no way to escape negative circumstances if we are the ones who keep creating them through our beliefs. But the flip side is that there’s no way our circumstances will change if we don’t address and rewire our core beliefs.
Now if you are new to core beliefs, its important that we discuss the basics.
Lets begin with what is the difference between a core belief and a limited belief.
Core Belief vs Limited Belief
A core belief is a belief that is the very essence of who you are and central to your identity.
Core beliefs are why you experience one event differently from your friend who experiences the same event. Bringing it into question would mean that you question the core of your being.
A limiting belief is a belief that limits us in some way, prevents us from moving forward and achieving goals and keeps us stagnant and stuck.
Examples of limited beliefs are:
Money doesn’t grow on trees.
Money is hard to come by
Life is hard.
There are no more good fish in the sea.
I can’t do it
I don't have time for me
Being successful is hard
Being healthy is expensive
Core beliefs are deeper, they are at the core of you. They often start with “I am”
Some common core beliefs are:
I am a failure
I am weak
I am unlovable
I am not important
I am worthless
I am not good enough
I am not safe
All beliefs, core or limited, create our reality.
We believe them to be true.
Limited beliefs are often easier to debunk than core beliefs. Its easier to find proof to debunk them more often than a core belief because a core belief will have a lot of subconscious proof holding it there.
So now that you know the difference between the two beliefs, I want to focus on the core beliefs. Because its your core beliefs that are essentially driving the bus and they are bleeding into all areas of your life.
Lets first cover a little about the subconscious.
Imagine your subconscious like a file cabinet, and all your memories are in there, past and present, and it's filling this filing cabinet. These files are not stored alphabetically or according to age. How you perceive that negative experience is more relevant than the positive ones. So your brain stores all negative memories in the front of the filing cabinet for easy access while tucking the positive ones towards the back.
This, in its simplest context, is a negative brain bias and was developed for a reason. It's for survival. It's the way our brains were designed to protect us.
Our brains learned the importance of retaining and processing negative thoughts, feelings and experiences as a means of survival. Even though we're not cavemen anymore, our brains continue to focus on negative input based on survival instincts. On top of that, the mind cant differentiate between perceived threats and actual threats. Our modern day threats may be different but our fight flight or freeze response is the same.
So keeping this information about how the subconscious stores memories in mind, lets talk about where core beliefs start.
Where Core Beliefs Start
Core beliefs develop in response to a person’s experiences. They begin developing in early childhood and continue developing over time.
As a child grows up, they try to make sense of what is happening around them or to them. In trying to find meaning or learn from this, they develop a set of beliefs.
It's not from one experience that a core belief is developed. The brain will keep track of experiences where you feel a belief and start to build proof of it. If it has enough proof in its files, it becomes a core belief.
Think back to when you first learned to tie your shoe. You became intensely focused, tongue out to the side while singing the Bunny song. Since tying the shoe was a new habit, we had to place our full attention on mastering it.
Similarly, most beliefs in the subconscious don't get installed with just one thought. In many cases, it takes repetition and further evidence before a belief becomes a fully operational program functioning within the subconscious mind.
Once fully operational, these programs instruct your mind on how to see, feel, and comprehend everything in your existence. These programs shape the basis of your daily interpretations. They give step by step instruction to your brain about how to react and interact in each situation.
Your environment also plays a role. Your caregivers, teachers, and people around you can influence your core beliefs.
For example, if you had a parent that constantly repeated to you “what is wrong with you?” when you did something, that can lead to a belief that there is something wrong with you or that you are stupid.
If someone tells you something over and over and you are not emotionally capable to think differently, you will believe it to be true.
Our core beliefs are established before the age of 12. By this time, the core beliefs are planted and unknowingly we will continue to attract experiences to support these beliefs for the rest of our life.
So I'm going to use a common core belief of “I’m not safe” as an example of how core beliefs are established. This is one of the biggest core beliefs that I see with those that have chronic conditions, and it's the core belief connected to anxiety.
So lets say, Kelly grew up in a home where her dad was unpredictable. She never knew how he was going to react when she said or did something, she was always on edge. She never really felt safe around him. This just didn’t happen once, it happened all the time, on a daily basis.
Kelly’s mom was a worry wart. She was always fearful of what might happen when Kelly would play. She would not let her take risks, if she got hurt, her mom would freak out for the littlest of things. She would always talk about how bad the world is and constantly be talking about bad guys that are out there. This again wasn’t a one day thing, this was regularly in Kelly’s life.
So the two people that were supposed to provide safety for Kelly, were not providing that for her. Kelly never felt safe around either of her parents, which led to her belief of “I’m not safe.” As a child, she didn’t know how to provide that safety for herself, her parents were supposed to do that.
The core belief of “I’m not safe” has been established and it will continue to play out in Kelly’s life moving forward.
It's crazy to think that our experiences as children have the power to install a lifetime of programs in our mind. Programs that will ultimately develop your self worth, the decisions you make, how you think about yourself, people you will date, and the way you perceive life.
Every experience shapes, molds, and develops programs that are stored in the memory banks of the subconscious mind, waiting to be launched.
Up until the age of five, we're primarily experiencing life emotionally. We aren't able to logically interpret the complexity of life situations. Life is simpler and more carefree under the perceived protection of our guardians. At this stage, we have no concept of the enormity of the world. Nor do we have the ability to comprehend the notion that others are having different experiences than ours.
Life is taken at face value and reality appears to revolve around us.
Have you ever noticed that you don't have many memories prior to the age of four years old? This is because it isn't until we reach about the age of four that we begin to develop more comprehensive conductive thinking and start to interpret situations.
Our memory storage capacity is limited because our brains are focused on learning to comprehend complex skills. Around this age, the brain enters a new level of development.
If you are a parent, you will recognize this as the age where “let me do it” becomes your child's mantra. It is then and through our adolescent years that we begin to develop an opinion about life, ourselves, society and the people in it.
These opinions are drastically impacted by your environment and experience. Your parents, teachers, peers, TV, and basically anything else you experience will shape your opinions. Your brain is like a sponge that absorbs information, draws conclusions, and develops interpretations. How your brain chooses to store this information will determine the viewpoints and beliefs that will impact you for the rest of your life.
The best way to explain this is to imagine your brain as a computer.
The conscious mind is the monitor, displaying images, observing and filtering information, and installing instructional code onto your hard drive.
Your subconscious mind is where codes and programs are stored within the hard drive, running in the background, producing the images you see displayed on the desktop.
Most of us are completely unaware of the programs installed on our computers, how they work, or what result they are producing. We're equally clueless about the internal functions of our minds. An area in my opinion that is missing from parenting books and schools.
If your family or teacher would have been aware about how your young mind interpreted emotional situations, they could have helped you understand that your parents' issues, or whatever else, had nothing to do with you, and the core beliefs that you have today wouldn’t be running your life.
Then there are generational beliefs.
Now there may be some mindless programs that might have been passed down through several generations, this is all fine and dandy. Those programs are not harmful or negative, but what about the subconscious negative core beliefs that your parents operated from? It's likely that many of those programs were unconsciously passed along and installed within the first 12 years of your life.
In your early years, your mind gathers evidence, filters, observes, and stores information and experiences. It observes how to be a mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, brother. We observe and learn how to handle money, make fashion choices, and even process emotions. If your parent was obsessed with dieting or cleaning when she was angry, you observed this as a child and adopted or rejected the pattern. It's like the old saying Monkey see, Monkey do.
Believe it or not, most of your core beliefs will also be your parents core beliefs. They didn’t even know that these beliefs existed and because of the way they act and talk, you too now have them as well.
Here is an example:
Your mom is a chronic dieter and always talking about how her body isn’t perfect enough, always making negative comments about it, being obsessed with food. Her core belief under that most likely is that she isn’t good enough, although there could be others but let's use that core belief.
Now you see mom doing this and hearing her talk this way. You now start to look at your body the same way, finding all the things that are wrong with it, think that you are not good enough and end up doing the same things that mom does.
This is how generational core beliefs get passed on. Whether the negative core belief was installed directly from personal experience or handed down generationally, this “virus” is affecting or infecting how you perceive new situations.
Sadly, our children are limited by their parents limitations as well. Many of our parents unresolved insecurities, self doubts, perceptions and beliefs are unconsciously handed down. This colors the emotional immature interpretations we create on our own. Our society as a whole has not embraced the importance of emotional processing or healing and increasing our emotional intelligence. Most of us are not taught how to challenge our own thinking or process our feelings. We're not even taught that we would choose how we see, feel, and interpret things. Without this knowledge, we not only limit ourselves as adults, but also greatly limit the possibilities for our children.
The Effects of a Core Belief
What kind of an effect do core beliefs have on your life? To put it simply, they affect practically everything.
The subconscious mind is estimated to control 80% of what you do on a daily basis and is the primary motivator behind the majority of your decision making. We carry these core beliefs into adulthood and they affect the way we think, behave, and make decisions.
Your brain likes to be right so when your old operating system believes something to be true, your brain then goes around seeking out evidence to support that belief and ignores any evidence that would contradict it. This reinforces the original belief and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
You only believe what you see, but you only see what you believe.
Because your brain wants to continue supporting these beliefs, you will attract situations that continue to support your core beliefs. They also feel “safe” to your brain because that is what it knows, even though they are most likely negatively affecting your life. Your brain doesn’t care though, all it cares about is comfort and not having to make an effort to change because change is uncomfortable. It requires energy and it likes to operate efficiently without having to put out unnecessary energy.
You will not only attract situations that support your core beliefs but you will also interpret situations based on them.
So, for an example, if your core belief is I don't matter. You date someone who is frequently late, but who is otherwise very attentive and affectionate. Your conscious thoughts begin to obsess over the fact that they are always late. Based on your core belief, you conclude that they don't care about you enough to be on time, completely dismissing how affectionate and attentive they are. You begin to feel that they don't care and react angrily. Every time they're late, you push them away. As a result, the belief that I don't matter is validated. The other information of affection and attentiveness was in front of you, yet the mind focused on what your default program instructed it to do.
Core beliefs don’t just show up here and there, they bleed into all areas of your life.
Imagine wearing rose colored glasses your entire life. The sky would always appear to have a reddish tone to it. You grew up thinking and believing this was the true color of the sky. Most likely you wouldn't even question it, though the rest of the world would see the sky as blue, you'd have a completely different experience because of your perspective.
Your belief system and negative core belief operates like those rose colored glasses, altering your reality at this point. Everything you see, feel, hear, and experience is passed through these “I'm worthless” or “I'm not good enough” colored glasses alternating your reality.
In addition to attracting situations that support your core belief; your thoughts, feelings and behavior are influenced as well.
This is the cause and effect of your core belief.
Belief> Thought> Feeling> Behavior
Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny.
If you ever wondered, why does someone behave that way? You will find a core belief connected to it.
If you wonder why you have the problems in your life that you do, you will find a core belief connected to it.
Your core belief influences your thoughts, which generate feelings which fuels your actions.
No conscious feeling exists without a thought. No action exists without a feeling. But they all stem from a core belief.
On a neurological level, your brain is unique to you. In fact, it is so unique you can consider yourself an endangered species. How you think, act, react, interact, interpret, perceive and experience life all depends on how your brain was wired. The combination of possibilities are endless. No one has ever walked in your shoes. Lived what you have lived, felt exactly what you have felt in the same manner that you have. This is why this work is very individual.
Your brain makes associations and wires itself based on experience and perception. You may feel that love equals pain or that wants equal disappointment. Or that promises equal lies. However you're hardwired, your belief is linked to a past experience, emotion, and memory.
Core Beliefs and Health Symptoms
You may be wondering at this point, if core beliefs are connected to all of my “problems” are they also connected to my health symptoms? And you guessed it, you bet they are!
Let me remind you again that core beliefs are at the root of how you perceive everything around you. They are the filters for how you perceive situations in your life.
Chronic symptoms are the body’s expression for how we perceive situations. Our perceptions are the root cause of our symptoms. Our perceptions are based on our core beliefs.
Lets say you are 35 years old and you have a stressful situation happen in your life. The way you respond basically has already been programmed in your subconscious. You will respond to situations today from programming from years ago. This is back again to the glasses you are wearing that filter everything according to how you have been programmed. This will happen automatically because again this is how the brain works.
So the reason I am so passionate about core beliefs is for this reason. You can’t resolve chronic health conditions without working on core beliefs. You also can’t prevent future symptoms if you don’t address core beliefs. Because if you don’t change them, you will continue looking and responding to life the same way and your body will continue having symptoms letting you know.
Let's use the example with Kelly and her core belief of “I’m not safe” again.
Kelly’s childhood experiences programmed her to have this belief. So, as she continues to get older, that core belief continues to be a filter in her life. She never feels safe, she doesn’t know how to create her own safety and she has zero trust in her ability to do that. She was never shown safety as a child.
Everything in life feels scary, she is in fear of her future and feels powerless to do anything about it. Kelly develops anxiety.
This is her body’s way of telling her that she doesn’t have trust in herself. Her body is having these symptoms to actually keep her alive. What Kelly doesn’t know is that her anxiety is caused by this core belief that she isn’t safe, that was planted when she was a child. Her perception to everything in life is fear and that she is powerless. If she never addresses the core belief that she isn’t safe, anxiety will continue to show up in her body and mind because that is what is running the show.
Your body is a gauge for how authentic you are living. Core beliefs like I’m not good enough, I’m not safe, I’m not worthy, etc are going against you being safe enough to be your authentic self.
Your soul can only do that for so long before it starts to scream.
Core Beliefs are Hidden
The funny thing about core beliefs is that you won’t see them. You would think something that is so strong in your brain would be easy to see, but this isn’t the case.
Your brain WANTS to hide them because they are actually keeping you safe. Letting them go would require you to take off your rose colored glasses and to the brain that is discomfort. It may risk your survival.
Those core beliefs have been with you for years. They have actually kept you safe subconsciously, even though consciously they are not serving you.
So when someone has a core belief of “I’m not good enough” for example, you're going to see the cause and effect pieces that I mentioned instead. They won’t be walking around saying “I’m not good enough.” Instead they might be saying, I don’t have any friends, my mom spends more time with my brother than me or no one talked to me at the party.
These are thoughts that, if you broke them down, have a core belief connected to them of “I’m not good enough”. If I said, what does it mean about you that no one talked to you at the party, you most likely would say it means that I’m not good enough.
You will also see the core belief in their actions and feelings. They might not go out with friends, they may not try new things, they may cry. They may feel left out, sad or lonely.
These are the “problems” that a person will see in their life (the belief cause and effect), but really what is at the core of it is a core belief.
Letting go of this core belief is a risk to survival according to your brain. It doesn’t want you to see it because this has become your identity. Letting go of it means you let go of who you are, your safety zone.
No longer feeling like you are not good enough will come with discomfort. You will have to build confidence in yourself, not give a shit what others think of you and be willing to put yourself out there. Those things feel risky to your subconscious because there is proof that they are scary and it would rather stay in comfort. Hence the reason why these core beliefs are often hard to see on your own.
Even if your core beliefs are not jumping out at you, there are some signs that indicate they are directing your life.
You struggle with your confidence and self trust
You know what you have to do in order to achieve your goals, but you feel like something is stopping you from taking action.
You can no longer find joy or fulfillment at work or in your relationships
You don’t know how to or are scared to be your most authentic self
You have a negative outlook on life and can’t seem to escape dark thoughts
You do all the right things, yet you don’t get the results you want.
You have chronic health conditions that don’t go away no matter what you try
If you can relate to any of these, you can bet that core beliefs are at the root.
What happens when you change your core beliefs
When you eliminate core beliefs, you can focus on the causes of a problem so you can change it. As a result you see three types of lasting results.
Changes in emotions
Changes in behavior
Changes in outcomes (which include in life and health)
This goes back to the cause and effect that I talked about. Because all of these are based on a core belief, when you eliminate it, all these changes as well.
1 – Changes in Emotions
When you eliminate a core belief, you will sometimes notice a change in how you feel instantly. Your shoulders might drop. You may feel as if a weight has been lifted.
The words that seemed so true before now feel meaningless and empty.
And in the long term, you go out into the world and notice that a fear you’d had for years has vanished. Something that used to make you feel anger no longer does. You aren’t getting upset by the same things. You feel calmer and more peaceful a lot more of the time. And this leads to the second kind of change.
2 – Changes in Behavior
Since our beliefs shape our view of the world, they naturally shape our behavior.
If you think something can’t be done, of course you don’t try. If you feel driven to do something, you’ll do it even if you wish you could stop.
When you aren’t afraid anymore, then you can take actions you would have avoided.
When you aren’t angry anymore, then you don’t have a need to yell. And when you feel calmer, you can reflect and more easily make important decisions that have an effect on your day to day life and your future. And this helps to create external changes.
3 – Changes in Outcomes
When you feel and behave differently, you get different results in life.
If you’ve been putting off important projects at work, you start getting them done and others notice. You may get a promotion you would not have gotten before.
If you own your own business and avoided actions that would grow your profits, you now take those actions and see results in the bottom line.
If your relationships weren’t working well, the changes in how you behave lead to the other person treating you differently as well. Your body no longer is getting a message that there is a threat, so it too also is able to move forward with healing.
Am I saying that beliefs directly change the outcome? No.
But when your behavior changes, you naturally gain more power over your life.
You take action and follow through in ways that are rewarded with increased chances of success in whatever you attempt. You may even start to feel like you are a new version of yourself.
In MBR we call it the 2.0 version of you. What it really is, is you becoming your authentic you.
You let go of all the old survival programs from childhood and blossom into who you truly are, not letting the world outside of you dictate your survival anymore. This is when your body finally says, we can heal, there is no longer a tiger chasing us and it completes the healing cycle.
Also, a change in one belief will upset the entire belief system and bring into question everything you hold to be true. Over time, you are exposed to new thoughts and ideas contradicting your belief system. You may start to question some of your existing beliefs and world views. For some, this results in an opportunity to grow, expand, consider new information and reconfigure our belief systems, world view and way of life.
The next time you feel unworthy, not good enough, unlovable, worthless, stupid, whatever it is, or other toxic belief about yourself, you can remind yourself that the feeling is part of your wiring.
You aren't to blame for this, but now, as an adult, you can actually do something about it if you're willing. But if you don’t do something about it, it will continue wrecking havoc in your life.
Pretending that you don't have any defective programming operating within your subconscious is like pretending computer viruses don't exist. We're all victims of defective programming.
And just because we grow older and think that the memory is gone, that belief doesn't leave. The memory stores itself into the depths of the subconscious mind, waiting to be validated and ultimately launched. These belief patterns are ways of survival. They are something our brain is looking out for because that is our way of how we are responding to life.
For true transformation, you have to remove the glasses, and challenge the old perceptions that were based on your old belief operating system.
You need to transform both the conscious and subconscious levels if you want to end the repetitious cycle of negative behaviors, feelings, and thoughts.
You've probably read about the principle of changing your life by changing your thinking and all sorts of self help books. Planting a new truth in your conscious thinking is valid, however it isn't the sole answer. If you do not change your subconscious beliefs as well, then all the time and effort you place into changing your conscious thoughts will fall short.
Your core beliefs have to be eliminated. They are driving the bus. If the desires of the conscious mind conflict with the programs in the subconscious mind, which mind do you think will win? It will always be the subconscious. You can repeat the positive affirmation that you are lovable over and over but if the subconscious has proof within its files that says you are not, it wins.
To reprogram the subconscious mind is to effectively also reprogram your life because your mind is the cause behind all your experiences in every area of your life. And given the plasticity of the brain, you can reprogram your subconscious mind at any age.
But the subconscious mind does not always make it easy to identify programming. In fact, there is a protective shield that surrounds many of your strong negative belief systems because its connected to your survival.
You may already be aware of certain negative core beliefs you operate with, but knowing your negative core belief is just the start. For core transformation you must find the source of the issue, weakening its supportive evidence and dismantle it at its core.
Just like removing the virus from your computer, you must first find the source or the cause of the problem. What you consciously experience, lack of self esteem, anxiety, worry, anger, digestive issues, etc. is just the symptom and not the cause. The cause is much deeper and more complicated than your conscious experience. The cause is locked away in your subconscious, supported by a vast amount of supporting evidence, and it requires a thorough investigation to unravel the mystery.
This isn’t work that you want to do alone. Like I said your core beliefs are part of survival and your subconscious will do its best to hide them from you. Its true that no one can do this work for you, but having a guide to help you see your blind spots will ensure that you uncover all areas for effective core belief elimination.
Core beliefs can be changed.
It requires work and they will not transform overnight. But the work pays off. Your life and health will be completely transformed. All your “problems” will seem to disappear and life will no longer feel like a struggle.
Now, the question is, how ready and willing are you to make this change a reality?
We get it, you're desperate to have your illness be a thing of the past, not something that defines your days. But trying to heal WITHOUT a custom plan is costing you precious time, money and energy!
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.