Software Update for Thoughts?
We might laugh at someone who still uses Windows ‘95. Then why do we cling so tightly to beliefs that we’ve formed in 1995?
Whatever your belief-setting year might be, it’s possible that it’s time for a software upgrade. Core beliefs are typically created in youth, centered around some need that might not have been met properly (or overly met) that we have since internalized. Our inner critic loves to feed us stories that fit this core belief in the form of automatic negative thoughts.
Core beliefs center around ourselves might sound like, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m a failure”, “I’m stupid-inferior-inadequate”, etc. Our inner critic seeks to take in evidence that supports the fact that this belief is the absolute truth about who you are. The story we most often tell ourselves is an echo chamber stemming from our negative core belief.
Core beliefs don’t simply exist in the mind, they reside in our nervous system and are powerful enough to activate the fight-flight-freeze response. Chances are, we have no idea what these beliefs are in our life - but they do hold a really strong grip on us.
Why is it so hard to let them go? Fear of the unknown shows up most often here - more specifically, thinking about a new way of being in this world invokes a sense of anxiety because we just flat out don’t know how to exist without these core beliefs. Sometimes we may even think these beliefs are motivating us to “be better-smarter-more productive”.
The invitation here is to pay attention to the story our inner critic is feeding us, and asking ourselves, “If this is true, what does it say about me?” When practicing this line of thinking, we can uncover the belief.