At the Core

[Diane usually writes for Mondays, but she’s taking care of herself and is on vacation! So I’m happy to fill in while she gets some much needed R&R!]

I saw a client this morning who realized just how much of his belief system as an adult was shaped by his childhood. As these core beliefs emerge from the recesses of his mind, he chooses the ones that he deems healthy to hang onto and is working on changing the rest. In essence, he is “spring cleaning” his spirit.

So much of our core belief structure has been in place for so long that it generates automatic thoughts and judgments about a large variety of subjects. My client was able to isolate the thought that, “Overweight means lazy, having no direction and being a general loser at life.” As he is trying to lose a few pounds, he unconsciously identified with this statement and let it affect his self-esteem in a big, bad way. So, the first step of the process is to identify your core beliefs by paying attention to your thoughts.

Next, he defined “in shape” as, “Someone who is motivated, has sharp focus and is working toward concrete goals.” Does his definition match what’s in Webster’s Dictionary? No, it doesn’t. But by making his own definition, my client gained control over this area of his life. Each time he looks in the mirror, he reminds himself that he is mentally and emotionally “in shape,” and will soon be physically fit as well. This second step is to modify existing beliefs into something healthier.

The last step is to practice saying your new, healthy core beliefs to yourself as many times per day as you can. Like learning anything new, this skill requires repetition to make these beliefs into healthier automatic thoughts.

How many unhealthy core beliefs can you identify in yourself? Some may still serve you, but modifying and practicing the ones that don’t will allow you to overcome many obstacles in your life.

3 thoughts on “At the Core

  1. I understand and empathize with your patient. Like him I am a little fluffy and out of shape. I am difinetly shaped by my parents actions. My mother was an anorexic until the day she died and so I have food trouble. So I work through it by writting down what I eat and not emotionally eatting. I also think of in shape as “buff person” who is very confident. So I joined a gym that made me comfortable with who i am and celebrates who I want to be.

  2. That’s great, Shelley! It’s easy to complain about issues, but it takes a lot of courage to make changes. Good for you for not following in your mom’s footsteps. I know it must be tough! We support you all the way!

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