How happy are you?
Do you feel optimistic and positive most days or…
Are you disappointed and discouraged?
Overwhelmed and under-appreciated?
With a never-ending to-do list?
Exhausted wondering if things will get better?
If this describes you . . . it may be time to ask some important questions to understand how your core beliefs are influencing you.
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Because every choice you and I make . . . how we act, how we treat people, spend our time and our money; is based on our core beliefs.
To put it simply…
Your core beliefs are your perceived truth about life.
And your perceived truth is something that has developed over time based on the influence of people, past experiences, education, entertainment, and the messages you allow to play in your head.
If you’re unhappy and you’re ready for change you need to know your core beliefs and then recognize if they are real truth or some distortion of the truth.
Some distortions of truth many people believe.
My spouse’s happiness is my responsibility.
My child’s happiness is my responsibility.
My unhappiness is someone else’s fault.
My past defines me and determines my future.
My worth is based on my accomplishments.
If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.
There’s no such thing as absolute truth.
Everything is relative or subjective.
God’s love for me is based on my performance.
Some of the ways distortions/lies become core beliefs.
- They are taught to us by well-meaning teachers, friends, and family as we grow up.
- They are adopted by us when we reject the things we were taught as children.
- They are the result of some traumatic experiences.
- They come from the repetitive messages of books, media, and entertainment.
- They are gathered from the people with whom we spend the most time.
And once something, even a distortion, becomes a core belief it influences everything and most of the time we don’t have a clue how much.
Core beliefs are deeply planted and full of emotional baggage.
Let’s look at a few examples…
Following half-dozen bad dates, Sheila decided that guys are jerks. With that as a core belief, the next guy won’t have to make many mistakes to affirm what she already “knows” to be true.
Kara has been trying to lose weight for as long as she can remember. Each time she binges confirms her belief that she’s weak and unable to change.
Jill comes from a long line of accomplished lawyers and doctors. She is confident people with graduate degrees are more important and highly valued than those without.
John grew up with parents who constantly stressed that the only failure is giving up. He believes quitting anything is a sign of weakness. He’s exhausted and stressed from trying to do it all.
Suzie has had a couple of friends betray her and share things she told them in confidence. She’s convinced you just can’t trust people.
Collin lied to get out a difficult situation. He knows several friends who do the same. He believes it’s something you just have to do sometimes to get by.
It’s funny how it is easier to see things like this as distortions when they’re about someone else but we all have distortions we believe that get in the way of our happiness.
So, to help I came up with…
Questions to help you identify your core beliefs.
What do you believe about yourself?
Finish the sentence – I am _______________.
List the messages that flood your thoughts each day. i.e. I am beautiful, fat, tall, skinny, smart, talented, foolish, blessed, valued, loved, successful, too emotional, etc.
What do you believe about others?
Finish the following sentences – Most people are _____________? Most men are _____________? Most women are ___________? Most children are ____________?
My spouse is _____________? My child is _____________?
List things that relate to . . . appearance, success, finances, personality, blessings, etc.
List any generalizations you believe about . . . race, background, religion, sex, age, etc.
List attributes you believe about people in general . . . honest, helpful, kind, judgmental, lazy, etc.
What do you believe about the world/life?
Finish the sentence – The world is ____________?
List things like . . . safe, full of opportunity, getting better, doomed, good, etc.
What do you believe about the future?
Finish the sentence – I believe the future is ______________.
Are you mostly optimistic or well, not so much?
What do you believe about faith?
Finish these sentences – God is ____________. Jesus is _____________. The Bible is ____________.
List as many things as come to mind.
Finally, ask yourself…
Do I use words like everyone and no-one? Always and never?
Do I see variety, beauty, and love or ugliness and hate?
Now it’s time to analyze your answers.
Are most of your answers above positive? Negative?
If you’re not sure, grab a small notebook and keep track of your thoughts throughout the day. and ask yourself if they are mostly hopeful or hopeless?
If you’re mostly discouraged, don’t give up. You can change your core beliefs.
Start by asking…
Are my beliefs helping me reach my goals or are they holding me back?
Are they true 100% of the time?
Are they really true 100% of the time?
You may have to go through the process a few times but that’s okay, it’s worth it when you’re ready to make a positive change in your life.
And here’s the most important question of all.
Do my core beliefs line up with the truths of God’s Word?
Then ask, seek, and knock.
Get in the Word to know God’s truth and pray that He will help your core beliefs be based what you learn.
Let’s take a minute to pray the words of David and ask God to help us . . . so our core beliefs align with His will for us.
Lord, I give myself to You;
my God, I trust You.
Lord, tell me Your ways.
Show me how to live.
Guide me in Your truth,
and teach me, my God, my Savior.
I trust You all day long. Psalm 25:1,2, 4,5 (NLT)
Lord, teach me what You want me to do,
and I will live by Your truth.
Teach me to respect You completely.
Lord, my God, I will praise You with all my heart,
and I will honor Your name forever. Psalm 86:11–12 (NLT)
Open my eyes so that I can see all
the wonderful things in Your teachings. Psalm 119:18 (ERV)
Make Your truth the foundation of my core beliefs.
By Your grace through the power of Your Spirit. Amen
One last thing…
Your teens are developing their core beliefs. So, I’ve made a printable of these questions. They just may make for some very helpful dinner conversation.
Leave your prayer requests…
and stop to pray one or two of the requests listed.
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