Introduction -

Q. What is a Negative Core belief?

A. A negative belief you hold (about yourself) that is essentially "Deep down inside I am not good enough because ....... " There are hundreds of different "because" endings.
There are several groups of because endings and issues, with dozens of beliefs in each group. None of them are accurate. Most are not true, but telling you this, at this stage won't help much (see below) .

General negative core beliefs or
feelings about myself:

not good enough (incompetent)
not good enough (unlovable)
unwanted, different
defective, imperfect, bad
powerless, one-below
in danger, not safe
donít know, wrong

Life Issue related to core belief

self worth
reality, reason

There are couple of hundred on this page Examples of negative Core Beliefs but to balance your own specific negative belief with a positive one you need first to discover what the specific "because" or issue is about. Yours will be different from people around you. There are no common or one-size-fits-all negative core beliefs.

Negative Core Beliefs develop as a small child tries to work out a "because" to help them cope with something they don't understand or are troubled by in their daily life. It might be neglect, injustice, dishonest parenting, parents with addictions, abuse or just feelings of vulnerability, fear or shame.

Whatever it is the child feels the need for:

1. A "because" that will help them make sense of and accept what is happening to them

2. A "because" that will help them "fit in" better in their family or at school

The trouble is that the only "because" that seems to work (at that time) is a belief "I am not good enough because ....... and so it must be my fault, not theirs."

This "because belief" appears to work if it helps the child "fit in" and "make sense" and if so it gets reinforced every day and more it seems to work the more it seems as though it must be "true".

In a functional family environment a child would not have needed to take on such negative beliefs. So in a way you could describe a negative because belief as "the negative belief you needed when you shouldn't have needed a negative belief".

Read more about this Five gifts from your negative Core belief

Some other horrible truths about negative core beliefs

1. The less proof or evidence there is to back up an old core belief the more fixed it becomes.
2. The older the belief the harder it is to question it even when it is clearly wrong
3. It is a total waste your time looking for logical proof or evidence that "might" help change a negative core belief. It won't help, it may make it worse.
4. Trying to get others to help you change your negative core beliefs is a waste your time and theirs. The more they try to help you the stronger the belief gets.

This is strange. Why would this be so?

Part 1 - How can I understand something I'm not even aware of and something that doesn't make sense?

Right from the start I need to admit that understanding core beliefs is not easy. If dealing with the amazing problems that our core beliefs cause us was at all straightforward, people wouldn't be troubled by them the way that they are.

There is one particular issue that stands above all others and it needs to be accepted before you can begin to start work fixing your core belief problems. This issue is about what it takes to create, change or alter things that we believe . There is something very unusual in the difference between what happens with everyday beliefs and core beliefs. Let me try to explain, and even now I am having trouble explaining, so please bear with me.

1. The more proof, data or evidence we can find to support an everyday belief the easier it is to accept that belief.
Most people don't have too much difficulty following a set of rules for living their daily life, or where they work. There is plenty of evidence around to prove the rules are necessary. We can observe that they usually work for you and me and other people around us. Usually there is lots of evidence around to convince you of what would happen if you don't follow those rules. So the rules and our beliefs about those rules stay fairly stable (as they need to do). You would probably say you believed in them.

2. The more proof, data or evidence you can find to support simple straightforward everyday beliefs the easier it is to question, change or even to reject that kind of belief provided you have new evidence to support the change.

From time to time you will find yourself questioning some everyday rules, the kind you follow in your daily activities, your everyday opinions, your views on daily life. It's not too hard to change what you believe about them as long as you can find some clear proof or evidence to support the change.
Think about a bad rule or one that doesn't work. The more proof or evidence available to show that it's not working the easier it is to stop believing in that rule or, if you have the opportunity, to change that rule. That makes sense when you are dealing with ordinary beliefs. Nothing unusual so far but keep this in mind as we go deeper.

3. The deeper a belief becomes established in your mind, the harder it is to question or change that belief. Once a belief gets locked in and the longer it stays locked in, the deeper and deeper it goes until it becomes a core belief.
Your core beliefs, like mine, are so deep they cannot be changed by loading up on lots of logical evidence. Now it is the other way round, trying to change a core belief this way usually locks it in ever more securely!

4. Even when there is clear proof or evidence or data available that should convince you that a core belief is out of date or no longer applicable it is still unbelievably difficult to see this and even harder to make any change.

* The less evidence there is to support a deeply held core belief the more the more rigid it becomes and the more strongly people seem to hold on to it!
The older the belief the harder it is to question it

To be honest I don't know why this is. Fortunately you and I don't have to worry about "why" for the present. It wouldn't help anyway. I will explain in more detail and give examples in a separate page Understanding Belief patterns. That page goes a bit deeper so it may be an idea to skip it for the time being.

For now, can you see why this difference between ordinary beliefs and core beliefs can be very significant for you?

The good news
The good news is that learning to work with and overcome core belief problems starts from the moment you accept and understand this unusual difference. Core beliefs operate almost entirely as a result of non-analytical thought processes that take place somewhere in parts of your mind not closely connected with your rational analytical and are not influenced by evidence based thinking processes.

So one of the most positive things you can do is to stop using all your amazing abilities for self-questioning and rational analytical thinking, trying to search for reasons and solutions . This just will not work, it may make the problem worse..
From the moment you start to see this it's easier to move to the alternate process which does work and that is identifying your core belief related problems and discovering where they came from. Instead of trying to change them, which cannot happen, the next step which is amazingly effective, is to accept them as they are and THEN balance them (your negative core beliefs) with matching positive beliefs.

Balancing negative and positive core beliefs is a better way - use your grown-up self-awareness and self empowerment
The process which is very different but incredibly powerful and which does work comes through growing your own self-awareness. The more your own personal self-awareness expands the more self-empowered you become. It is self-awareness and self empowerment (not rational thinking) which equip you to you to overcome your individual core belief issues by :

1. Identifying them, acknowledging and accepting that they became a part of you a long time ago because in some way they were at that time needed to help you "fit in".

2. Accepting that they cannot be changed or got rid of They became part of your belief system to help you a long time ago. At that time they were a friend, a tough friend but that's what you needed then. You don't kick an old friend out just because they are no longer any use to you.

3. Balancing them with positive core beliefs instead of trying to change them or make them go away. Balancing the negative with a positive belief is the only way that works permanently.

How you do this is explained but only as a summary on number of separate pages linked on this site. (Balancing your Core beliefs)
I have to be honest and tell you that there is more work for you to do than just reading a few web pages. It does take a bit of time doing your worksheets, but if you do you will achieve real success just as hundreds of ordinary people around the world do it every day.

The best news is that core belief problems are inside you. You have a much better chance of doing something about them than if they were being caused by other people. (Which by the way, is another of the tricks that old unbalanced core beliefs play, making it appear that the problem is outside of us instead of within us.)

However, instead of an intellectual discussion, I would like to begin by sharing an unusual detective story. Well, it's probably more of a fable but I find that when anything is difficult to grasp it is easier to begin by telling a story. In this detective story you will notice some of the key points about core beliefs, particularly about how misunderstood proof or evidence can add to the confusion. Notice in the story that even the skilled "core belief detective" (trained in rational analytical thinking) has trouble working out what's going on.

Let's go to the story and then come back to our discussion later. The case of the Stolen Self-esteem

and then later on you can read Where Core Beliefs come from


The whole process of identifying your own negative core beliefs and then balancing them is a very individual matter. There are no general rules, no standard step by step approach. If there was I would print it here.
To achieve success also requires some time and thought on your part. I have found it works best for people who are serious about this to do the work step-by-step in their own time. That's why I am now providing a series of workbooks (total over 60 pages) at a special introductory price.

Would you like to :

1. Discover your own hidden troublemakers and identify your own hidden negative core beliefs?

2. Identify the problems that your individual core beliefs are causing you and that you want to fix

3. Discover why identifying your own negative core beliefs, accepting them and not trying to change them is a positive and self-empowering step forward.

4. Find out how to balance your negative beliefs with positive ones. This begins to work as soon as you know why you need to balance them (and why you must not try to get rid of them altogether)

5. Avoid getting triggered again as you have in the past

To order and for more information on the content of the workbooks (over 60 pages in total) go to Core Belief Workbooks by e-mail. Also available on a CD but extra costs apply for mailing

Feedback - please e-mail me John Bligh Nutting - at

Acknowledgments -
I gratefully acknowledge the valuable help and understanding I received while writing about Belief Systems, firstly from Nikki Nemerouf and Jeffrey Young and also from John Falcon for his guidance and valuable additions. I emphasise that the following pages do not follow precisely the core belief, core schema or core profile models as taught by any one of these outstanding teachers. However, many of the ideas on this website are clearly based on their original work and the training I did with them.

From that point I have introduced some alternate concepts, in particular the connection between core belief work and the psychology of the inner selves (voice dialogue) as taught by Dr. Hal and Dr. Sidra Stone. I have found that dialoguing with the beliefs themselves as "characters" inside us is one of the most useful skills (often the critical factor) in clarifying, and balancing old core beliefs.

I thank Earl Cass and Anthony Nutting for their support and expert suggestions and my thanks to my ex-wife and friend Rozz Nutting for permitting me to include extracts from her own book on the core belief process.

With appreciation - John Nutting

Copyright © John Nutting 1996 - - 2012 and © GROWING AWARENESS 1996 - - 2012 All rights reserved World Wide
LAST UPDATE Monday, 29 October 2012 16:16

Don't worry about these copyright notices at the foot of each page. It just means I want to hang on to legal ownership of what I write for use in future books. Until that day, please feel free to copy and even adapt them for your own use and for friends as long as you acknowledge me as the author and owner of the copyright and you don't charge anyone for them. If you want to use them professionally or commercially (charge a fee for them) or for clients, each sheet you hand out must include full acknowledgment of copyright ownership as above and if you are benefiting as a result, I would appreciate an appropriate sharing.


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What is a negative Core belief?

Why it is not easy to recognise your Core beliefs

Examples of negative core beliefs - is yours on this list

Typical over-reactions - the 'F' patterns

Fable - The case of the stolen self-esteem

Where did they come from?

The self-fulfilling prophecy trap

Why you react when a core belief is triggered
More about core beliefs - Resonance

Why you cannot remove or change or alter or engineer a core belief

Five Gifts from Your Old negative core belief

Core belief Counselling in Queensland