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By Marica Murphy, MA

From our earliest ages, we develop certain beliefs about ourselves that can affect us throughout our lives. These core foundational beliefs are more often negative than positive, and can be formed through our parents, family, friends, and other significant people in our early lives. These underlying beliefs filter into our thoughts, control our feelings about the situations we experience, and keep us from living in contentment. If we are able to become aware of how these beliefs alter our reality, we can begin to challenge them and turn them into the lies that they are, which will help us to increase our overall well-being.

1. Identify the belief 

If we listen carefully to the thoughts that we think, we can begin to figure out what we believe about ourselves. Many core beliefs are along the lines of “I am not worthy”, “I am a failure”, “I need to achieve to be accepted”, “I am unlovable”. If we allow these beliefs to rule our behaviors, we can see how this limits our growth and undermines our confidence. When we understand what we believe about ourselves, we can then begin to turn that belief into a lie. We do this by…

2. Taking control of what is in our power

When we take responsibility for our own healing from our past hurt or trauma, which had a large part in forming our beliefs, we take back the control from the lies that have guided us. Being aware of how these thoughts affect our behaviors and how we feel about ourselves is the beginning of moving into actively challenging these thoughts. We do that by naming these for the lie that they are by telling ourselves, “this is not my truth”, and moving out of the helplessness of the victim mindset.

3. Change the question

Instead of asking “Why is this happening?” or “Why was this done to me?”, which is keeping you in the role of a victim, ask “What can I do to fix this?” or “How do I overcome my past?”, which turns you into a conqueror. Even though painful, it is easier to remain the victim and continue in the same patterns that have ruled most of our lives, especially because it is familiar. However, in putting ourselves in the role of conqueror, that gives us the power and strength to make changes. Yes, it is hard. Yes, there are emotions that we would rather not have to feel. Yes it is unfamiliar and scary. But if we keep at it, we can find peace and freedom on the other side.

4. Find your strengths 

Despite these negative beliefs, most of us have actually done something positive and worthwhile in our lives. Look back and see what you have already done to get this far, and what it was inside of you that helped you do that. This is called resiliency, and most of us have at least a smidgen of it! This is what helps us to keep going despite the obstacles and suffering that we experience. When we focus on our strengths rather than being stuck in the lies of what we think are weaknesses, we build our confidence and self-esteem, and then we can…

5. Let go of excuses 

…and move into action. When we believe in our capabilities, we take steps to move out of the lies of our core beliefs and start to make healthy, positive changes. The brain-training expert, Jim Kwik states “You can’t be upset about the results you didn’t get by the work you didn’t do”. When we release the excuses for why we cannot do something, we open ourselves up to a world of possibilities that would not be available to us when we remain stuck in the lies about ourselves.

6. Turn problems into puzzles 

At the core, changing our beliefs is all about altering our mindset and what we focus on. If we stay stuck in the victim mindset of self-pity for what has happened, and give our power to the core beliefs that rule us, then problems remain problems and nothing changes. However, if we are able to look at obstacles, and even our past experiences, as puzzles to solve, it places the control and power in our hands and makes achieving self-confidence and greater well-being possible.

Will this work be hard? – yes, absolutely. However, with hard work can come amazing rewards. Let’s switch the narrative from a passive “giving into our beliefs as truth” to one of strength and action by asking ourselves “what do I truly deserve?” Don’t we all deserve to be happy and thriving in our lives? Taking control of our thoughts, turning the detrimental beliefs into lies and finding joy and power in the process is essential to moving us into the life we desire and deserve. Your future self will thank you for the effort!

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Lime Tree Counseling is a team of dedicated, skilled therapists who want to walk beside you as you pursue your best life. We provide anxiety counseling, addictions counseling, grief counseling, marriage counseling and Christian counseling. Our office is in Montgomery County, PA and we also provide online counseling in Pennsylvania, online counseling in North Carolina and online counseling in Colorado. Reach out and schedule with us today!