Updated: Mar 3
Most of us are aware of the power of positive thinking, but why can it be so hard to stay positive? We are sometimes not aware of the automatic thoughts that we have, so we don’t question them, which can lead us to making wrong assumptions that derail our attempts to think positively. These automatic thoughts can come from our core beliefs about ourselves, those around us and the world. Often these beliefs are set in childhood and are never examined or questioned.
Core beliefs run deep and affect the way we perceive ourselves and others. They can operate at an unconscious level so we are sometimes unaware of them, but they shape our thinking and perceptions which affects the way we live our lives. They can take different forms and you may find yourself saying things like 'I am no good at talking in public' or 'I should speak up more'. It is important to analyse your self-talk to try and identify your core beliefs to see if there are any negative effects that may need to be addressed.
If you have identified that you have negative core beliefs what can you do? The good news is you don’t have to accept them, you can challenge and change them. I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on where they have come from and why you believe it. These beliefs that you hold may have come from influences in your early life, and you may find that now that you have examined these beliefs, you want to reject them and establish new beliefs based on what you know to be true now.
If you discover that you have very negative core beliefs, it may be as a result of a coping or defensive mechanism from an earlier traumatic event or crises. If this is the case you may feel you want to seek counselling to address this. A counsellor would be able to help you to gently challenge these beliefs and explore where they come from.