In this episode, we explore working with core beliefs, one of my favourite topics.


We discuss what core beliefs are, how they form, and how we can work with them to improve our lives.


Discover how adverse childhood experiences, attachment styles, inherited patterns, social conditioning, and trauma contribute to the formation of core beliefs.


Learn how core beliefs like “I’m not good enough” can obstruct our desires and impact our confidence. We’ll delve into practical examples and share strategies to rewire these beliefs, leading to positive behavioural changes and enhanced well-being.


If you’ve been struggling with people-pleasing or self-doubt, this episode offers insights into understanding and transforming those limiting beliefs.


Join me for an enlightening conversation that promises to inspire and empower you on your midlife journey.

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Please note: Nothing within this podcast constitutes medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider.

Full Episode Transcript

Hey my friend, welcome to the podcast. I hope that you are having a really great week. And if you’re not, I hope that this episode brings you some warmth and some connection. So today we’re looking at working with core beliefs, one of my most favorite topics. And I’ve got some ideas around core beliefs that I’ve been taught many years ago when I did my psychosynthesis training and more recently through some trauma training that may go against them.

The grain of what we see out there in the personal development world. So hold tight because we’re going to dive in and uncover what our core beliefs, how are they holding us back and how can we change our core beliefs so that they no longer limit us. So we’ll be diving into core beliefs today. What are they? How they form? And how we can work with them so that we can improve our lives and they’re no longer holding us back. So, let’s start with what are beliefs? And we call them core beliefs when obviously, it makes sense, right? This is at the core of our being.

This is a fundamental way that we view ourselves, others, the world, and also our future. Core beliefs are like the headset or the glasses that you’re wearing that you experience the world through. This is how you’re seeing the world and your experience with it. And core beliefs go deeper than just our general beliefs about the world.

The limiting core beliefs that we have may be general to the, different to the surface level kind of general beliefs about you should take your shoes off before you enter the house, we should be kind to other people, compassion is important, those sorts of things.

Those core beliefs are more. in this context anyway, are more like, I’m unlovable, I’m not good enough, what is the point of trying because I just will not succeed. And of course we have positive, supportive core beliefs as well, but they’re working with us, and for us, and supporting us, so most of the time We don’t feel like we need to look at those or change those for the most part in any way.

So let’s talk about the origin of core beliefs. So core beliefs can emerge from adverse childhood experience, insecure attachment styles or insecure Attachment events that may have happened. So events will feed into attachment styles. They might have happened before you learned how to talk.

And so you might not have verbal communication. memory or very clear memory of the events that have fed into these core beliefs. They might have happened before you were even born. For example, if your mother became very unwell when you were sick and she had a lot of pain, you as the Baby in the womb would have been receiving higher levels of stress hormones, messages from the nervous system, which then would have impacted the chemicals that were flowing through the mother’s blood.

And you would have experienced and lived in stress. a heightened level of tension. And so if you think about that experience, it’s pre verbal, it’s pre birth, you would not have a clear memory of that. So some of the experiences and events that impact our core beliefs go very deep and very, very far. much beyond our conscious thought.

So core beliefs can also arise from inherited patterns and traits from our whānau, from our parents, from our grandparents. There’ve been studies done on people that have experienced trauma and the genes of their grandchildren have been altered by that trauma and are expressing differently because of that trauma.

Now I’m not saying that that is a core belief, necessarily, but it makes sense that we can absolutely be impacted

By the generations that came before us. This is a very clear hypothesis that has been studied. Other core beliefs might come from social conditioning. So, when I was a girl at school, I think my sister wanted to study psychology. Tech drawing. And my parents were, no, you can’t do that. Girls don’t do that. So they had a lot of conditioning around what was okay for a girl to do or not do. So social conditioning plays a part in the core beliefs that we form within ourselves.

And of course, gender conditioning as well. As women, we understand that, you know, right in ourselves and in our bones, that gender conditioning has an impact on how we show up in the world, what we think of ourselves and how we value ourselves and therefore our core beliefs. Of course trauma plays a significant role in the formation of our core beliefs and trauma might happen over one event in a finite period of time or early life trauma might have happened over a long period of time. You might have lived through many experiences of trauma. as a child within your family of origin. And so core beliefs absolutely arise out of our experience of trauma.

The meaning that our mind and our psyche has made from that trauma plays a significant role in the core beliefs that we hold about ourselves, the world around us, and the people that we’re in relationships with.

So let me share an example of a core belief that many clients I’ve worked with have. I think actually 99. 9 percent of the women that I’ve worked with have had this core belief, me included. And that is, I am not good enough. Or it’s variations. Or I’m not worthy. And it could be a little longer than that it could be I’m not worthy of being loved that all sort of a Variation on I’m not good enough.

And so where might that come from? Well, I think in that case, that’s a very fundamental core belief that most humans have and And All of those other areas that I talked about as origins, so adverse child experiences, attachment traumas or interruptions, inherited patterns and traits. If I look at my family of origin, there is very much been that thread of not good enough.

And I can pinpoint some traumas back with my great grandmother and my grandmother around shame that I could then see in my mother as an unconscious core belief that I then absolutely held within myself, which I feel so much freer from now, but I can see that going back through that lineage very clearly.

And so when you have, for example, a core belief of I’m not good enough or not good enough, think about how you behave in the world differently versus if you have that belief of I am enough, right? So for me, I’m not good enough in terms of my behavior, it means I don’t take risks. I don’t step out and connect with more people.

I try and hide. A lot of it’s unconscious. If I make a mistake, I feel really bad about myself and get really down on myself. If someone is rude or ignorant to me, I take it very personally as if I’m the cause of their bad behavior. So you can see there’s a lot of ways it shows up. So these limiting core beliefs absolutely do obstruct our desires.

They’re like a roadblock, they get in the way of what we want. And actually more than that, because our core beliefs are so subconscious, They actually stop us from being able to imagine a bigger, brighter, broader, more connected future. And I’ve seen that for so many clients when they have reset and unwound those beliefs and shifted into that place of actually I am good enough and feel it within the bones of their body that their perspective on their life, their Capacity to desire more joy, more adventure, more connection, go for that new job, reach out to full relationships, all of that starts to open up.

And so if we look at a belief, for example, the belief that we’re looking at, I’m not good enough or not good enough, what does that do to our confidence, right? So if someone says to me, I’m just not confident, and this is a something I see from many clients and experienced it myself, of course, as well, what underlies not confidence?

Confidence. There’s many levels and layers, but very often not good enough underlies it. And I know that because I see when women clear and rewrite that belief of not good enough, their natural confidence, courage, and inner vitality absolutely rises. And when that rises, how they show up in the world.

changes. As an example, a wonderful woman that I know would continuously get talked over in business meetings and when that happened she would become quite flustered and then embarrassed and then shut down and not be able to find her words. So if there was any kind of challenge in that meeting, it would lead to dysregulation in her nervous system and then shutting down and not being able to continue with what she was saying, her point.

Maybe she lost track of her thoughts because of that dysregulation. And so then when we worked on that belief of not good enough and that got rerouted and reprogrammed to being I am enough, I am worthy of love, it’s okay to make mistakes. What happens for that woman is that she was able to be in those meetings.

to be talked over, to hear the snide remarks or the rude comments, but they just bounced off her and did not dysregulate her. So she stayed grounded. She stayed settled in her body and settled in her mind and was able to calmly put her point across in spite of the disruption and negativity that was in the room.

Now you can imagine that That behavior that changes at that level could change so much about how you show up in the workplace and how you respond to, say, disrespectful or even bullying behavior. So this is why it’s so beautifully important to look at our core beliefs and to work with them.

So take an example of people pleasing behavior. And of course there’s a lot of societal and gender conditioning around people pleasing. We’re all taught in my culture, in my generation anyway, to be good girls. To be good girls, to be grateful, to be nice, right? So that’s there, that’s part of it. And that is absolutely going to play a part in shaping our core beliefs.

But if you layer on top of that that we might come from an environment when we’re a child, that our emotional needs weren’t being met, that our needs were being ignored, whether it was just because our parents were in survival mode and just having to get on and get, get food on the table and the emotional and psychological needs, they had to take a back seat.

You know, we can, we can unpick a little bit of our early life without necessarily blaming our parents all the time. We can understand that they’re a product of their environment and their upbringing as well. And so, if I was a child that had my needs ignored, overlooked, dismissed, or just not even noticed, which actually was a lot of my experience,

Then that reinforced and helped to create this belief of I’m not good enough and how I compensated around that to try and fix that problem of not good enough because that’s a very painful. experience to live with or belief to live with. What are the behaviors that might show up from that? Well, they might be people pleasing. I might’ve become the funny one in the family to make people laugh, to compensate for that. And then I carry on into my adult life and I have this underlying core belief of, I’m not good enough. And this overarching. Behavior that’s so ingrained around people pleasing, but all the while, because I have got the glasses on, that are, I’m not good enough, and I’ve got this people pleasing behavior going on over the top, I fail to get my needs met.

Because my people pleasing behavior does not leave room for me to ask for things directly, to reach out to people directly, to risk rejection, because that is so incredibly painful when that core belief is very strong and embedded in our psyche. And so I think this is a really important piece, right?

Because we try and change our behavior. And we work really hard on that, but an easier way is to actually unwind, untangle and alter that core belief. And then we can easily and naturally change the behavior. And so that’s a key point. If you’re getting stuck, you’ve been really working hard trying to change your behaviors, for example, people pleasing, you’re really struggling with it.

You can’t actually even see where you are people pleasing. That is something that I can help you with, help you to unwind and reshape for yourself. I love talking about the connection between emotions and beliefs because here’s a question. Do we need to release the emotion connected to a belief to be able to rewire it? Right, so the short answer is not really and not in every single case. So, I believe that wholeheartedly, firmly, and I’ve seen it in evidence over and over again.

Now sometimes there does need to be a sort of a release, but I want to move away from thinking that a release is a big cathartic emotional dump. And when we do that, we feel better, we feel great and the belief is gone. It just doesn’t work like that. So of course you do feel relief when you’ve had that big release, but that’s because it’s a state change.

And that. may well be temporary. Rewriting beliefs and connecting to and processing emotions does not always need to be very loud, big and cathartic. There was a lot of that going on in the 70s and 80s. Primal scream work. There was a lot of rage release work and it was, you know, Big and loud and it felt good, right?

I was involved in some of that in the early 90s and that felt really good. You felt really empowered and you go away from the weekend. And yeah, your, your field is way more open. Your, your voice is bigger, but you just go back to the same state that you were in, unless it’s processed In a way that goes deeper than just an expression of emotion.

And so there is, you know, the expression of emotion can be part of it, but I don’t want us to get confused thinking that every single belief we have has got this big pocket of emotion in our body as well. And if we just release the emotion, then the, core belief will rewrite itself. Well, that can be part of the equation, but I can tell you now, I have seen women, and I’ve done it myself, rewrite and rewire core beliefs without needing to express anything.

any kind of negative emotion and they’re very embodied. It was happening all the way through the system and how do we know that it stayed and it had longevity and it stuck? Well their behavior changed. Months later their perspective changed and their natural behavior changed. So that is a sign that their core belief had altered, had been reprogrammed.

So to be able to change our beliefs, we need to have some awareness of what they are. We might not have the exact words, but there is an awareness process that I guide my clients through so that we can understand, well, what is actually driving this behavior that I’m finding really negative and unhelpful in my life that has become very chronic for me.

So awareness is. And of course, core beliefs absolutely do drive our behaviors. So we identify it first, but then how do we change that belief? And like I said just before, think about it like, rather than, my beliefs are made up of traumas and emotions that are like stones in a bucket, and this bucket is just overflowing with these things.

jagged, heavy, big stones, right? Those are the emotions and the core beliefs. But rather, think of it like this. Our core beliefs are like a computer program, and it’s programmed a certain way. So if we want to change those what we have to do is rewrite and reprogram some lines of that entire computer program, so it gets rewritten. And what’s happening in your brain is that you’ve got pathways that have been reinforced by trauma events and experiences, and then you formed a core belief around it, and then your behavior stems from that, and then you get the feedback of the emotion That feeds back into that and then reinforces.

that connection in your brain or those pathways in your brain. When we rewrite or reprogram that core belief, you’re actually creating new pathways in the brain. And so then if you’ve created a strong enough new pathway there, then your behavior will change and what will happen? The feedback that comes in from the external world will be different.

Then your emotional response may well be different and then you’re starting to reinforce the new pathway that is serving you so much more, that is more positive actually for you. Because core beliefs happen at the level of our personality, of our personal psychological makeup. But in psychosynthesis psychology, which I was trained in, our personal psychology is only one part of us.

We are so much more than that.

So remember that even if you have limiting core beliefs, and most of us do, and they’re either totally running our lives, you know, partly, a little more, some of us a whole lot, that’s part of your psychological makeup, but you as a human being are so much more than even your psychology, which includes your thoughts and feelings and emotions.

And that we can rewire and reprogram core beliefs. It’s, it’s kind of like. waking up from a dream and I love it when I see clients who go through that experience where they wake up and they’re like, hang on a minute, I am wholly, completely lovable and good enough just the way I am. And as a therapist, I can feel into and track with them the difference between somebody who’s trying to convince themselves that they are right okay and good enough and someone that has woken up and made those new connections in the brain has rewritten a part of their computer program

to now give instructions based on the foundational belief that You are good enough. You are lovable and you are okay just as you are.

I do love talking about core beliefs and how we can unwind them how we can rewrite them and how we can show up and be our best selves. I hope that’s been so helpful and so inspirational. If you love the podcast, please share it with a friend and connect with me on social media.

I always love hearing from people that listen to the episode. I love hearing what you got out of the episode. Okay, go well and we’ll talk real soon.