Understanding Your beliefs

Adapting and Adaption
Before we start talking about balancing your beliefs, let's begin by looking at how these things called beliefs come into your life. There is a familiar process that we're going through all day every day of our lives called "adapting" or "adaption". You might call it "changing myself so that I can fit in better”. It's one of the first things you learn to do even as a baby and even if today you regard yourself as a total rebel you will still be adapting several times a day. Some people adapt much too often, or change themselves so much that they no longer have any idea of who they really are or who they really were before they made the changes, but that's another story. You would never do that would you?

Whenever you come to believe anything, and accept it as true, correct, fair, right, or permanent you are creating something deep inside you that was not there before. Something inside you changes and as a result the way you will live your life also changes. Usually one of the advantages of changing like this, by taking on a new belief is that it helps you to adapt, to "fit in" better with our family and the world around you.

But, and this is a very big 'but' ..... just because you believe it is true and just because it works for you doesn't mean that it is actually true, correct, fair, or right. That's the problem with beliefs!

That's why there is actually a range of different levels of belief, and these vary according to how much hard evidence is available to confirm that what we believe.

Let's go back to what I was explaining in the introduction page and have a look at it in a bit more detail .... (I hope you will forgive me repeating myself here)

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

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 change it. In fact the less the proof the harder it may be to question or change that belief. This is not logical, it's a contradiction, a paradox (if you like academic words). It doesn't make sense, but unfortunately that's how it happens to work. There are a couple of examples of this in two case studies in The Self fulfilling prophecy trap

Let's start by looking at some of the different levels of belief. These can vary from things that you believe in may straightforward everyday basis down to the deepest core beliefs. All of them will influence the way you live your life, but the deeper the belief stronger its influence.

Let me try to explain this in more detail

Where Rules come from
We may not like a rule but if there is always plenty of solid evidence around to support the rule it's this evidence which will help convince us that we had better believe in it and follow it. A bad rule is, by definition one that lacks supporting evidence.
Our family environment, our community our entire government, education, business and legal system is based on rules like this. Rules are maintained by a very familiar process, "reward or punishment". The most powerful rules are the laws which support our legal system. Our courts are constantly testing laws and all the associated rules and regulations to make sure that they are still supported by valid evidence. Come to think of it even illegal or criminal systems have rules too.

The first level of adaption which begins even before we can talk is "learning the family's rules". That's something that most small children become quite good at doing and by age two they will have learned hundreds of family rules. Family rules are the most basic form of belief because to learn a rule we must believe that we need to learn it. That's where evidence comes in. For a small child there is some very clear and easy to notice evidence about what happens when they don't obey the rules. There may also be evidence in the form of rewards when they do obey the rules
Altering or changing our own set of rules may not be easy, but provided we can get some solid evidence in support of changing an old rule then the shift is relatively straightforward. The stronger the new or contrary evidence the easier it is to change a simple belief or rule.

Opinions and Attitudes
Opinions are like a complex set of rules rolled together into one but they aren't necessarily supported by the same amount of evidence that was available to back up rules and laws. If there is little supporting evidence to back up an opinion it may be difficult to confirm its reliability. Often what counts as "evidence" is more likely to be the belief that if other people that we regard as powerful or reliable hold these opinions we should hold the same beliefs.

Having an opinion gives you the ability to express your own position or take a stand on issues that matter to you or your family. Once an opinion is formed it is likely to stay in place for a long time. However you may find yourself over time questioning a particular opinion or attitude on some specific issues such as your voting preferences each time elections come round. This is more likely if your logical analytical rational thinking mind is presented with clear evidence which throws doubt on your previous opinion. So once again if the evidence is there then opinions and attitudes can change but it has to be very clearly presented evidence.

Now let's go a little deeper, and as you do notice that suddenly the less evidence to support a deeply held belief the more rigid it can be.

Values and Moral codes
Values and moral codes are like very broad and very strict rules and they are often applied with a great deal of rigidity. However, if you were to look for some solid reliable data to support moral and ethical values you might find it quite hard to discover any.
You might describe your value system and is a set of ideals or "super rules". You can expect that you and other people will hold very strongly to values like honesty, ethical behaviour and morals. The Golden Rule "Do unto others …..” is really more of a moral value than a rule. Your deepest core values will be so important to you that you may be prepared to risk your income, your relationships, your home, even your life to defend them.
Two situations can bring about a change in values or moral codes. The most common one is pressure from another person whose opinion we hold in very high regard (or who we love or who we want to love us!) and who wants us to change our values or our moral code to match theirs.
Many people will bend temporarily to get approval or avoid conflict, but deep down inside they will not actually change their basic values or their moral codes. People sometimes come to question a value in times of major crisis, such as a war, the death of a loved family member, divorce or a life-threatening health issue. For the rest of the time our value system will be neither questioned nor changed a great deal.

The older the belief the less it is questioned and the less likely it is to change

Because there is so little evidence to support any particular set of values or moral codes people tend to discourage any questioning of deeper values so the values stay locked in place. They rely more on old ways and traditions (That's the way we've always done it) or ancient records which have been passed down through many generation. It's as if the age of the belief makes it more reliable than up-to-date observations. That's why your value system is much more permanent and once established may remain fixed for life.

Conflict over the “right” way

Notice two things I mentioned above:
1. The less evidence there is to support a deeply held belief pattern the more strongly people seem to hold on to it!
2. The older the belief the harder it is to question it

Even if other people disagree with our beliefs it is unlikely that we will change what we believe to fit in with theirs. Throughout history, people who held different values have been forever clashing, with each person assuming that their opinion is "right" (Because that's the way we've always done it) and that this is all the proof required to show that other person must be "wrong". Any real proof in support of either position may be incredibly scarce yet wars are often fought around this level of disagreement. (Because your beliefs are so wrong I may have to kill you to protect my beliefs!). Much family conflict is also related to the same level, again with very little supporting proof or none at all from either side about reality.

Core Beliefs
Core beliefs are the deepest of all because what we believe "deep down inside" underpins our value system and our attitudes and opinions. This is one of the reasons why core beliefs are seldom questioned even when they are causing enormous problems within the person who holds that core belief. This lack of supporting evidence rather than making it easier to change a core belief actually guarantees that it will remain locked in place far more firmly. Even where there is solid evidence such as our own personal observations that should indicate the belief is not correct this is rejected.

Most of us are used to solving problems based on available proof, data or evidence which we can think about and analyse. 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 thinking processes.

Rational analysis helps by providing us with some vague clues, but it is almost useless when it comes to working out solutions to core belief related problems. Rational thinking or cognitive therapy has little chance of changing a belief and even less chance of getting rid of one. It often just fixes the belief even more firmly in place.

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)

Balancing the negative with a positive belief is the only way that works permanently but there is more o do than just reading a few web pages. Getting ready to balance will require a bit of time and effort on your part, including answering some questions on a series of worksheets to make sure you identify your own negative core belief or beliefs. But if you do you will achieve real success just as hundreds of ordinary people around the world do it every day.

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 bligh3@growingaware.com

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 Friday, 28 September 2012 09:57

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