Changing Core Beliefs for Better Outcomes

In our last blog post we looked at core beliefs and how they form a filter between us and our experiences of the world. In this post, we will examine the process by which our core beliefs affect the outcome of a situation.

Our core beliefs, whether negative and inaccurate or positive and accurate, affect the thoughts we have about a situation, the emotions we have in the situation, and our behavior in a situation which can lead to a very different outcome.

Let's use the following scenario to see how different core beliefs can affect our outcomes:

You are part of a group of co-workers who regularly take lunch together. On this day you are running a bit behind and go to the join the group after everyone else has gotten there. As you walk into the room where you meet, the room goes quiet and your co-workers look at you.

Inaccurate and Negative Core Belief

If you are a person who has the core belief that you are unlovable, this situation could be one you dread. As you walk into the room and everyone stops talking and looks at you, many thoughts might be racing through your mind, but it is likely that your brain will settle on a thought that reinforces your belief that you are unlovable. For instance, it might settle on: They were all talking about you because they don't like you and stopped when you came in the room.”

If this thought was foremost on your mind, your emotions would be a direct result of that thought. In this instance you might feel embarrassed, hurt, angry, or isolated.

As a result of these emotions, your behavior would likely trend toward the negative as well. You might turn around and walk out of the room without speaking to anyone. You might react negatively and confront your co-workers. You might choose to sit at a table alone.

And these behaviors all have consequences. If you turn around and walk out of the room, confront your co-workers, or sit at a table alone you run the risk of alienating your co-workers, making the work environment more uncomfortable for yourself and others, or make it more difficult for you to attend work in the future.

But what would happen if we had more accurate and positive core beliefs in the same scenario?

Accurate and Positive Core Belief

If you had the core belief that you were lovable, this situation would look a lot different.

As you walk into the room and everyone stops talking and looks at you, many thoughts would race through your mind. However, because of your positive core beliefs, these might run along the lines of: “They were just chit chatting until I got here so I wouldn't miss out on my co-worker's big story.” In other words, instead of turning the thoughts inward, the thoughts are about external factors.

If the thought was that your co-workers were waiting for you, your emotions might include acceptance, happiness, and warmth for your co-workers.

The resulting behaviors would also look very different from the first scenario. Because you feel positive about the situation, you would likely respond positively. You would likely take your regular seat, say hello to everyone, and get ready to eat your lunch.

The consequences would also be vastly different. You would likely feel closer to your co-workers, which would lead to a better work environment. As a result, you might enjoy coming into work everyday.

This is just one possible scenario among dozens and dozens we encounter everyday in which our core beliefs play a role. The impact that changing just one of these scenarios can make is immense, but what if all of our experiences could be seen through the lens of positive and accurate core beliefs. How might our lives change for the better?

In our next blog post, we will examine one of the most hurtful core beliefs and a train of thought that will help us combat it.