Core Beliefs Examples: Understanding the Foundation of Your Beliefs

Our beliefs shape our reality. They’re the lens through which we perceive and interpret the world around us, influencing our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Most of us form beliefs based on our experiences, culture, and upbringing, but these beliefs can be influenced by a variety of factors, including media, peers, and education. Understanding your core beliefs is crucial for personal growth and developing a sense of self-awareness. Here are some core beliefs examples to help you recognise and identify your own beliefs:

Examples of Positive Core Beliefs:

1. I am capable of achieving my goals

This core belief emphasises the presence of personal agency and affirms that with the right mindset, determination, and hard work, success can be achieved. People with this belief tend to be more resilient in the face of setbacks and failures, using them as opportunities to learn and grow.

2. People are inherently good

This belief is grounded in humanism and emphasises the potential for empathy, kindness and altruism as innate human qualities. People who view the world through this lens tend to be more optimistic and open to building connections and relationships with others.

3. Everything happens for a reason

This core belief acknowledges that life is unpredictable, but has a deeper purpose or meaning. People who hold this belief are able to see past the surface level of a situation, seeking to understand the bigger picture and find meaning in their experiences.

Examples of Negative Core Beliefs:

1. I am not good enough

This core belief fuels feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, leading to an internalised fear of failure and rejection. People with this belief tend to exhibit perfectionism, putting tremendous pressure on themselves to be flawless and often avoid taking risks that could lead to growth and self-improvement.

2. People are selfish and untrustworthy

This belief results in an inherent mistrust of others, leading people to view situations through a negative filter and assume the worst of people. People who hold this belief often miss out on opportunities to build connections and cultivate trust in relationships, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

3. The world is a scary place

This belief leads to a constant state of fear and anxiety, making people avoid risks and trying new things. People who hold this belief tend to focus on potential negative outcomes, rather than embracing the positive possibilities, and make decisions based on fear rather than hope.

Identifying Your Core Beliefs:

Identifying and understanding core beliefs is no easy feat. Many of our beliefs are formed unconsciously and are often difficult to recognise or change. The first step in identifying your core beliefs is to start paying attention to your inner dialogue and self-talk. Notice the beliefs that often come up when you’re faced with difficult situations, disagreements or experience negative emotions. Take a moment to reflect on where these beliefs come from, and whether they are serving you well. It can help to imagine how you might feel and act if you adopted a different belief system.

Another way to identify core beliefs is to examine the patterns in your behaviour and the decisions you make. For example, if you consistently avoid taking risks or trying new things, it may be rooted in a core belief that the world is a scary place. Examine how your beliefs are limiting your growth and development and identify what you can do to change them.

Challenging Your Core Beliefs:

Recognising and changing negative core beliefs is not easy, but it is possible. One way to challenge these beliefs is to examine the evidence that supports or contradicts them. For example, if you believe that you’re not good enough, examine past successes and identify instances where you were capable and achieved success. This process helps to shift the focus from perceived inadequacy to appreciation for one’s own strengths and abilities.

Another approach is to practice self-compassion and kindness. Instead of harshly criticising oneself, this involves extending the same empathy and support towards oneself that one might give to a close friend. By reframing negative self-talk with caring and positive language, one can begin to shift internalised negative beliefs and develop a stronger sense of self-worth.

In Conclusion:

Core beliefs are the foundation of our belief systems and play a significant role in shaping our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Understanding and identifying your core beliefs is crucial for personal growth and self-awareness. By recognising negative core beliefs and working towards changing them, one can develop a more positive and growth-oriented belief system, leading to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.


FAQs About Core Beliefs Examples

1. What are core beliefs?

Core beliefs are deeply ingrained attitudes or convictions that a person holds regarding themselves, others, and the world around them. They are often formed during childhood and shape a person’s perception of themselves, their relationships, and their experiences. Core beliefs can either be positive or negative and can impact a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.

2. What are some examples of core beliefs?

Some examples of core beliefs include “I am not good enough,” “people can’t be trusted,” and “the world is a dangerous place.” These core beliefs can have a significant impact on a person’s life as they can influence their sense of self-worth, their ability to form meaningful relationships, and their ability to cope with stress and adversity. Identifying and challenging negative core beliefs is an important part of self-development.

3. How can I identify my core beliefs?

Identifying your core beliefs can be a difficult and often painful process. Some methods for self-reflection and introspection include journaling, talking to a trusted friend or therapist, and reflecting on past experiences or traumas. It is important to approach this process with patience and self-compassion, as it can take time to uncover deeply ingrained beliefs. Once identified, challenging and re-framing negative core beliefs can lead to profound emotional growth and greater self-awareness.


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2. Bastiani, L., Forti, B., Jaiswal, S., Gnisci, A., Musumeci, G., & Rossi, R. (2021). The role of core beliefs and self-esteem in the relationship between attachment orientations and depression in a clinical sample. Journal of affective disorders, 277, 18-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.006

3. Sutherland, K. S., Conroy, M. A., McLeod, B. D., Algina, J. J., Kunemund, R. L., & Mielenz, C. A. (2018). Examining the influence of core belief endorsement on treatment outcome for a school-based intervention. School psychology quarterly, 33(1), 129-142. doi: 10.1037/spq0000243