“Sometimes we self-sabotage just when things seem to be going smoothly. Perhaps this is a way to express our fear about whether it is okay for us to have a better life. We are bound to feel anxious as we leave behind old notions of our unworthiness. The challenge is not to be fearless, but to develop strategies of acknowledging our fears and finding out how we can allay them.” ~ Maureen Brady, Beyond Survival: A Writing Journey for Healing Childhood Sexual Abuse
When problems come up in my life, I like to take a very proactive approach to healing and finding solutions. A few weeks back, I had some challenges that left me feeling low. I wasn’t totally debilitated by them (and thank goodness, because I used to wait and let my emotional troubles build up until I was completely wrecked and then I had no choice but to take action to make the correction. And because I was so rundown by the emotional turmoil my process caused, it really made the problems seem much greater than what they were. I have now learned to nip things in the bud when they arise, which is what I did here…) but I was super aware that a storm was brewing in the depths of my subconscious mind.
So several weeks back, I had created some badass goals that were just outside of my comfort zone. I had been wanting to raise the stakes on my work and in my intimate life and so I made some very powerful decisions—hire a coach for my work and start seriously dating for partnership. Oy vey! Why did I decide to take on both of these at the same time? I had set myself up with double whammy challenges!
The thing is, I am committed to following what my Intuition says and as I pondered my badass goals during meditation these last weeks, it became clear that now was the time to dive into both. I could feel my intuition signaling that change was afoot and I felt clarity as I made my choices. These are clear signs that I am aligned with Intuition. I was riding a provocative wave of change. On one hand, it was exciting to picture myself more successful in love and work. I felt inspired and I could really feel a large part of myself wanting to burst out and break free of the limitations that I had been suffering all my life. On the other hand, I noticed that as I was writing my goals and visioning my future there were some parts of me that were really intimidated by the thought of growth and expansion. I was leaving my comfortable world of satisfying work and the single lady lifestyle. These were great, but I knew that I wouldn’t be satisfied with them for too much longer. Even though I was satisfied, there were some tell-tell signs that my psyche was ready to move on. I had some self-sabotaging habits starting to creep in on me. A little procrastination, a little negativity… Just a little. The Universe was nudging me forward to release my old way of being and to embrace badassery and I could take action while the nudging was gentle… or I could wait until it brought out the sledgehammer. Yeah. I chose to act upon the gentle nudge.
As I said already, I knew that I was right to follow my Intuition because the inspiration was flowing. Everywhere I looked, I saw opportunity. But there was that sinister thing lurking below the surface of my consciousness. Every time I reached for my vision, there was a tiny little entity in the back of my mind giving me pause with thoughts and feelings of resistance. A little voice was saying, “Can that kind of career and financial success really happen for you? That is a really tall order! Have you earned that yet? And hey, are you sure you’re really ready for the deep vulnerability of an intimate relationship? You’ve been REALLY wounded before. Is it worth it?” Dang. This was self-sabotage at its most manipulative.
So there I was opening my mind to a new, badass way of presenting my work and opening my heart to a healthy intimacy (which is totally badass) and all the while, my past failures in business and romantic relationships were gnawing away at my energy, my focus, my commitment and my dream. I am VERY aware of my emotions and it was clear that I was on the path of losing my nerve to leap for my dream. I had a choice. I could either shut down the dream and fall back into my old way of working and loving, or I could move forward with the Universe’s invitation to thrive. Because that was what I was calling in with these new goals and dreams: THRIVE.
With a gung-ho spirit and a commitment to follow-through, I chose to accept the Universe’s invitation. It was scary, but I enrolled in a coaching program to create the business I desire and I accepted some invitations to go out and date.
Things were great for about a week. I had enthusiasm, focus and dates! And then I awoke feeling utterly contrary. I couldn’t seem to complete the work for the coaching program and on the subsequent dates with lovely men, I found myself focused on everything that was wrong with them. My mood, which was so good and inspired the week before, had turned dark, heavy and confused. I felt stuck and frustrated, grumpy and hopeless. There were moments of clarity and inspiration, but they were clouded by feelings of fatigue, doubt and apprehension. The little voice in the back of my head that was suggesting I might not want to leave the safety of my comfort zone had been building momentum in my psyche and it was becoming the dominant force in my emotional response. I began pointing fingers at my new coaching program, looking for flaws and holes through which I could fall and justify giving up. And of course, finding fault with these adorable men became my knee-jerk response. I started losing my focus at work and finding myself compulsively eating. I would wait until the very last minute to start important projects and barely plan for important meetings. I had to drag myself from bed even though my sleep that wasn’t very sound. The list goes on. I became aware of these little oddities that had been totally absent in the previous weeks, but that were now distracting me from my commitment to my badass dream. Thank goodness I’m seasoned in the traps the ego sets to keep things status quo (that’s my job as a coach—to look out for patterns of self-sabotage. I am my best client because I get to see what happens in my own head and bring the solutions to my clients.)
Ego’s job (in its eyes) is to keep me protected from harm. It sees anything that pushes me out of my comfort zone as a threat and it works with my unconscious processes to paralyze my ambition, courage, hope and optimism (because God forbid you could actually imagine yourself better than what you are!) Fear keeps us safe, as does anger, numbness, confusion, resentment, and all the other negative emotions. We stay nestled in a comfortable world of inaction, and even though it’s painful to stay in the outdated job, the bad relationship, the old eating habits and subsequent out-of-shape body, it’s a helluvalot easier to be in that familiar space than it is to take responsibility for our dreams. But like I said, I’m a coach with skills, so when I found myself ensnared in egos’ web, I broke out my toolkit of trusty and foolproof tricks that I know will overcome ego’s negative momentum and would right my ship. One of my most eye-opening tools is what I call Finding the Negative Core Belief and that’s what I’m going to share with you now.
A negative core belief is simply this: it’s a belief you’re holding that says you can’t have the thing you desire. Now, it’s important that you actually get to the negative CORE belief and not just the superficial triggering belief, because your belief system is like a system of weeds. You can pull all the green weed sprouts in your garden, but the surface stuff is not the issue. That’s only the part you see with your eyes. The part that is choking off your beautiful tomatoes and roses and strawberries is the network of roots down in the soil. You’ve got to dive down beneath the surface to get to the root cause of those superficial weeds you see. If you treat a weed at its root, then the whole superficial weed system dies. But if you only treat the surface, you will still have a thriving ACTIVE root system functioning and ruining all your creative work in your garden.
It’s the same thing with your beliefs. The superficial beliefs are signals that something more sinister is lurking underneath the surface. For example, let’s say I have been watching too much television and I have developed a surface belief that says, “Men are seduced easily by women. Men cheat.” Now, let’s say that I decide to treat this belief like a novice gardener treats a weed sprout. He pulls the whatever he can get with one pull and goes on his way. I do the same thing. “Hey, Crystal Lynn, that’s a pretty narrow view of men and quite unfair, why don’t you just get a new belief?” Okay. I reach for something that feels better and realistic to me. “Some men cheat, but there are plenty of good men out there. I am sure to find one for me.” Not bad! This is definitely a step up from the original belief. But unfortunately, this is like a band-aid over a gunshot wound. It’s built on fragile ground and won’t stand up to any challenge. I know this because when I hear from my dear friends that they are separating because of his infidelity, my ego comes front and center with, “I told you so!” And now I’m spiraling in a tailspin. ALL men cheat. If this good and wonderful friend of mine cheats, then all men cheat! Any hope contained in that new superficial belief system gets immediately discredited and I withdraw even further away from men and intimacy AND to top it off, I cannot trust myself nor my own belief system. Ego was right.
So getting to the negative core belief means that you have to do a bit more digging and probing into your psyche. It’s more work than just creating some malarkey belief that isn’t rooted in your truth. The reward, however, is MUCH greater. By discovering the negative CORE belief, you will exploring your psyche, your fears and your negative thoughts to discover your true feelings. This is really important because your true feelings are the key to your creativity, your ambition, your excellent health and your dreams. Your true feelings hold the key to your heart. And the way to reach those true feelings is by getting past the ego. So here’s how you can find your Negative Core Belief…
Finding the Negative Core Belief
This is a Shadow Work exercise. You will need a pen and paper, a journal, notebook, or electronic journal to do it.
‘Shadow’ is a term coined by Carl Jung. It refers to the dark side of the self, or that part of us that we don’t like so much. Humans have access to a full spectrum of emotions, but we are taught that negative emotions such as sadness, anxiety, anger, frustration, irritation, and loneliness are not acceptable and should be avoided or suppressed. So we learn to bite back our feelings, stuff them down, deny them, or just get over them. Unresolved emotions do not just go away. They get stored in our psyche where they build and fester and create their own energetic universe. These spiraling vortices of resentment kill creativity, enthusiasm, courage and ambition. I believe that emotions are a gift and I enjoy the whole spectrum of them. Unconditional Love means that we love ourselves wholly—emotional warts and all. Shadow Work is the process of consciously engaging some aspect of our Shadow with the intention of enlightening ourselves, healing ourselves, or correcting a misperception. Shadow Work is NOT getting rid of the ego. Instead, it is looking our ego right in the face and appreciating our honesty. Shadow Work is an extremely loving thing to do for yourself. It takes time, patience and the real desire for change. This Finding the Negative Core Belief exercise is adapted from the work of one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Teal Swan. I hope that you enjoy the exercise and learn something important about yourself.
Step 1. Triggering Event/Hot Topic. Start off with a triggering event or hot topic. Your triggering event or hot topic is the thing that is making you feel bad, scared, stuck, anxious, or limited. It’s the thing that is happening in the 3-d world. Don’t be afraid to write your raw truth. Even if it’s ugly and makes you feel dumb. Get into your true feelings and be honest with yourself. It’s a powerful first step on the journey to healing. And as you do this and any other Shadow Work exercises, it’s important to not just examine your thoughts, but also to notice your feelings. Pay attention to how you feel. Your emotions are key to healing. I’m going to use my own personal story to illustrate. Let’s look at the issue of dating. AND I should warn you right now, my work is to help others heal by revealing the raw truth of my own emotions. It can get a bit graphic sometimes, but I’ll keep it clean so as not to offend any delicate sensibilities. ☺
My Triggering Event/Hot Topic: I can’t find a suitable marriage partner.
Step 2. Define Your Trigger/Hot Topic. Now, start exploring your feelings around your trigger or hot topic. Do a little writing to start getting clear about your perspective. Your job is to give a definition to your trigger. What I mean is, uncover, as deeply as possible, what your trigger means to you. The meaning you give to an idea is the way the idea will shape your life. For example, if I lose my job, this could mean I am a failure; or it could mean that I free. The meaning is where your focus is, and it’s key to helping you uncover the deep, core belief… the source of the weeds pervading your garden. Things that have little or no meaning do not have a strong force in your life. Things that have big meaning determine everything. Your core beliefs have HUGE impact in your life, so again, the more raw and probing you are willing to get in this step, the more significant the impact of eventual healing.
I have been single for so long and I feel cursed in relationships. It even says so in my astrology chart! I’ve always wanted marriage but have really only experienced failure. I see a lot of beautiful and fun women who are single and if they can’t find love, how can I? I’m not getting any younger! And I’m flabby. I don’t feel attractive. What this means to me is that I have a limited shelf life and I am running out of time. Also, I kinda like myself and if men don’t seem to like me, then I feel like I’ll have to change myself and that feels wrong. I guess overall, I feel my trigger, not finding a suitable marriage partner, means that I’ve failed in some kind of way. I feel like people are supposed to be in couples and if we aren’t then there’s something wrong with us. Not having a marriage partner means something is wrong with me.
Step 3. Find the Significance. Now, look at the meaning you gave to your triggering event. Ask yourself why this meaning seems so important to you. Why is this meaning significant to you? We all have different reasons for our feelings. For example, you might think it’s bad for someone to cheat at cards because it means they are dishonorable. This means your emphasis is on the character flaw. But for me, cheating at cards might be bad because it means that something was stolen from me. For me, the game was an opportunity to gain something and the cheater robs me of that opportunity while for you, it was a question of ethics—right and wrong. Values are important, and that’s what you’re uncovering in this step—your values. Also, when doing Shadow Work exercises, it is very important that you do not gloss over or take yourself for granted. This is a challenging exercise in the beginning because you may not have ever talked to yourself at this level before. Perhaps you’ve never held yourself accountable for your own beliefs. I encourage you to probe yourself and be patient. So for this next step, ask yourself why the meaning you gave to your definition seems so important.
This meaning seems important because not having a marriage partner feels like failure to me. It feels like if I died today without a partner, I would have failed. Every day I live without a marriage partner feels like failure. WOW! That’s a heavy burden to lug around. Feeling like a failure because of a circumstance? How strange! I didn’t realize that existed in my head! That’s a heavy thought.
Step 4. Go deeper. Probe deeper into the significance and see what you find. Ask yourself again, why this new awareness seems so important. For this exercise, the end result is important, but how you get there is also important. Each of these steps should illuminate something new within you. The exercise invites you to have lots of A-ha! moments along the way and then the final outcome can be the icing on the cake!
This new awareness seems important because I fucking feel like a failure every damned day. In the back of my mind… there’s a constant tugging at my heart and it says, failure, failure, failure. This is an unconscious belief that is functioning in my mind and I am not aware of it even though I feel the repercussions: a slight undertone of sadness in me, a slight desperation when I meet men, a slight feeling of lack and failure as a woman. These things are gnawing away at my creativity, my self-esteem, my desire to connect. My connections get tainted by desperation. That sucks. I can’t even be authentic and present because of this silent killer of my wholeness.
Step 5. Dive deep. Get to the core issue. Ask yourself again why this meaning seems important. Your next steps are determined by how deeply you delve into your self.
This seems important because I can’t be truly connected and intimate while I’m so fragmented inside. I can’t relax and be genuine with a potential partner. I don’t really know who I am.
Step 6. Keep probing. You’re essentially going to keep probing and going deeper until you touch on the negative core belief. You might need 10 Dive Deep and Keep Probing steps. It’s up to you. Remember that this is a process, and it is as significant at the outcome.
This seems important because if I am fragmented and broken, then I am no good to anyone. WOW. There’s the negative core belief. If I am fragmented and broken then I am no good to anyone. In my subconscious mind, my ego is shredding my hopes and dreams because I am fragmented and broken. Because I am not perfect, I am no good to anyone. WOW. This is my negative core belief.
Step 7. Explore Your Negative Core Belief. Your negative core belief is the belief that is functioning below the surface of your consciousness. You can imagine an iceberg. On the surface, for example, I have an experience of not finding a suitable marriage partner. That’s the tip of the iceberg—the thing you experience in the world… the superficial green weed that’s disturbing the beauty of your garden. But the negative core belief is the base of the iceberg. It’s the thing that’s holding together the whole system of fatigue, disappointment, resentment, and seeming failure. Examine the negative core belief thoroughly. Explore where you know the negative core belief is true within yourself and then look at the world around you to see where there is evidence of the negative core belief. You can also ask yourself how the belief serves you. Get to know this belief very thoroughly.
Yeah. When I am emotionally unstable, I can’t work or function. I’ve spent so many days with my head beneath the covers trying to recuperate from my emotions. I couldn’t function. I was useless. I totally don’t want to burden anyone with my emotional baggage. I feel super unsupported in that way and I can see where there is a part of me that feels like I should be able to handle my own shit. In the outside world, I see people who are not emotionally causing drama and upheaval in their relationships. I think about how my own mother was an emotional wreck and she wreaked havoc all around. She wasn’t available to give me what I needed as a child and she caused so much chaos with her husbands and boyfriends. So how has this belief served me? Hmm… well, it kept me free from having to serve a relationship. I’ve been totally free to do what I want, when I want and where I want. Freedom is really important to me consciously. I think that unconsciously, I have a drive for freedom that goes unacknowledged. Perhaps I should pay more attention to this so that it can stop sabotaging me!
Step 8. Belief Network. Try to explore which superficial beliefs are connected to the negative core belief. For example, wouldn’t it be likely that if I feel worthless because I am fragmented and broken that I would also believe that other people (aka MEN) are useless if they are fractured and broken?
I used the word ‘perfect.’ I wrote, “Because I am not perfect, I am no good to anyone.” So yeah, I need a man to be ‘perfect’ or else he is no good for me. This connects to superficial beliefs/judgments/opinions such as, “He dresses funny.” “He’s a little goofy.” “He’s not really ambitious enough.” These judgments are all stemming from my own inner need to be perfect. I am seeing yet another example of how I subconsciously project my personal imperatives for myself onto other people. YIKES!!!
Step 9. The Belief at Work. How is this negative core belief influencing other areas of your life? Where else do you experience its effects? Might it also be present in your career, in your health, in your financial matters? What is the price you are paying for holding onto this belief?
Well, yes. I am definitely a perfectionist. I realize that this is an issue of perfectionism. If it’s not perfect, then it’s worthless. This shows up in my writing. I get paralyzed by the need to produce perfectly written articles. I don’t even know what that means!!!! What’s a perfectly written article??? I do know that it is something that keeps me from starting projects. And how about running… I can barely take a six mile jog because if I can’t finish it in 48 minutes then it’s not worth doing. GEEZ, LouISE!!! Yeah. I see where this belief is holding me back from doing lots of things, even from going out sometimes. There’s a knee-jerk reaction I have which is always, “Is it going to be worth the effort?” Dang. Wow. I am seeing where these thoughts and ideas began when I was grieving the death of my mother. It is time to move forward from that now perhaps.
Step 8. Look back over your life and try to find the earliest memory you have of this being true. Write all of this in your journal.
Okay, I just got flooded with memories. This has been an issue all my life. It feels not like I was taught it, but that it’s an inherent part of my personality. I can’t blame Mom for everything. This perfectionism thing is my responsibility. I remember a time… how old was I? Two or three at the most, and I had a shoe where the elastic around the buckle was slightly stretched. I wanted to cast it away. It was flawed and therefore had no value. I can see in many areas where this is true. I think that things that are imperfect have no value and are not worthy of my care. I need much more awareness around this area. So I shall pray on it.
Step 9. Decide to Release the Negative Core Belief. Your next step would be to let go of that negative core belief. I have a really powerful program that works in-depth with these negative beliefs to uncover them, release them and replace them. The next group session begins in October 2018. If you are interested, then get on that email list and I’ll keep you in the loop. For right now, just engage your subconscious mind and see how ready you are to let go of the belief. Be aware of how that negative belief is actually functioning in your life.
Step 10. Relax, Pray, Let Go, Let God. Okay. You’ve done good work. I think it’s really important that after a thorough Shadow Work session, you pause and unwind. Shadow Work is an opportunity to learn about yourself using your conscious mind (and ego.) Overthinking your Shadow Work can drain you. Keep in mind that you are a gift to this world, whether you believe it or not. You are fully supported in your healing and your expansion. Relax and talk to Source about what you have discovered. Ask Source for what you desire—healing, correction, right thinking, trust, openness, whatever. Source will deliver you emotional wellness, as well as, material prosperity. So pray for an open heart and confidence. And then, let it go. Let it come to you. Know that your emotional wellness is already here.
Hey, Friend! Thanks for reading this little manual for finding your negative core beliefs. When you are ready for some assistance to go deeply into exploring your limiting negative beliefs and finding emotional balance, book in a complimentary Emotional Wellness Strategizing Session with me. During this session we will discuss how I can help you find power, creativity and a healthy relationship with the full spectrum of your emotions and uncover your Authentic Self. I look forward to meeting you!