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Core beliefs is a term used in Joko Becks’s lineage of Zen Buddhism and it’s a concept that has been very helpful to me in dealing with self-hatred and the like. Basically core beliefs are very deeply held beliefs about ourselves (sometimes it’s being said they are held in our cellular memory) which as a rule seem to always be negative. Each person generally has one or more core beliefs (perhaps up to 3, more is less likely), which represent the essence of who we think we are. For a lot of us they are completely unconscious, but they still drive our lives.
One of mine is that I’m unlovable, that nobody is ever going to love me. You see, they are completely not rational. When I read that and look at myself, even I cannot take it seriously. But it still drives a lot of my life, as soon as I don’t pay attention and am not mindful and aware (so, lots of times!). I’ve stumbled upon it today, as I was vacuuming in the evening, and my mind wandered to what i’m going to do later, and I thought if I should at least go online and say hi and good night to a good friend that I was in contact with a lot lately. Immediately after that came a though, oh, she doesn’t care about you anyway. And I just bought it, and the next thought was like, yep, true, she’s been distant, she doesn’t love me anymore, perhaps it’s better not even to bother.
For some reason, I caught it at that point and see that this line of thought was happening for the last few days already.
See, the tricky part of core beliefs is that they act like a scanner, or a radar, honing on every little detail. and using them to support themselves. Your reality begins to be perceived in a way that fits your core beliefs. So, because my friend didn’t respond to some of my emails, or suddenly disappeared from our chat, my core belief immediately grabbed that and used that as a proof, that she doesn’t care about me, or love me. And it’s so familiar, i think most of us just buy into it. It fits our reality- that someone could really like me? You know that’s completely impossible! So. by today, that line of thought was already familiar, oh yes, i know that already, she’s distant…
Another tragic part of core beliefs is that they are usually self-fulfilling - under their influence we tend to act in a way that eventually we get the confirmation that the core belief is really true. Like in this case I could start pestering her for more and more acknowledgment and proof that she likes me, and I would get so sticky that she would eventually move away, or I would become reserved, cold, cynical and mistrustful which could trigger similar things in her (or at least put a lot of confusion into the relationship).
Tricky little buggers, eh? ;-)