Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Self-esteem Series (4 of 13) False Core Beliefs

False Core Beliefs are rarely challenged.  Usually learned early in life, these are deeply held beliefs that we fight like hell to defend.  They are so much a part of us – so real – that just the thought of changing them makes us feel threatened.  Numerous core beliefs have been linked to self-dislike, self-hatred, and depression.

Some common self-defeating Core Beliefs:

1)   I must excel – be the best – at everything I do.  Holding this belief could very easily cause me to “set the bar” too high for myself.  If I make an unrealistic goal, I will continually be disappointed and probably beat myself up and see myself as a failure.

2)   I must be on guard and worry about anything that is dangerous or fearsome. This belief will cause me to be preoccupied, paranoid, and distrusting of others.  I will only see the negative in any situation.

3)  If I let you love me, you will leave me. Abandonment trauma is usually at the core of this belief.  This belief will prevent me from being open and real to others.  I will tend to hold others at arms length.  Eventually, because I won’t let them in, they will leave.

4)  Life is hard and a constant struggle.  I guarantee you if you believe life is hard and a constant struggle; your life will be hard and a constant struggle.  All you will see in any situation is hardship.

5)  If I let others really get to know me, they won’t like me.  This belief will cause me, again, to keep people at arms length.  I will pretend to be something I’m not in order to win others approval.  Other will eventually see my phoniness and loose interest.

6)  Life owes me a living. This will cause me to expect things to “happen on their own” without me having to work for them.  I will constantly be disappointed and feel indignant when I don’t get my way.

7)  Love hurts, relationships are painful. This belief will cause me to look for hurtful, painful people to develop relationships with.

8)  I need to fix somebody to be loved. This belief will cause me to look for sick or ill people to develop relationships with.  I have no worth to you on my own as a person.  But as long as you need me to take care of you; I do have worth to you.  I need you to need me.

9)  I just need one “big” break. This will cause me to expect someone or something to just “fall in my lap.  It takes responsibility for succeeding away from me and puts it on someone or something else.  This way, I don’t have to risk anything and when I fail, it’s not my fault.

10)  I deserve to be punished for the horrible things I’ve done. This belief will keep in a “shame spiral,” preventing me from accepting anything good or healthy in my life.

11)  I don’t deserve to be happy or successful. This belief will cause me sabotage happiness or success.

12)  Life should be easy. This gives me permission to complain about everything and to be lazy.

13)  I have to control you to make it safe to let you love me. This is a form of paranoid abandonment trauma.  I am not loveable for my own person, so if you like me you must not be aware of who I really am.  Therefore, I need to make sure you don’t learn from others who I really am.  Since I am lovable for myself, I know you’ll find someone better than I am and you will leave me.  I need to keep you close enough to be interested, but not so close you see the real me.  I will control you more and more (where you go, what you do, who you’re with) and eventually you will have had enough and you will leave.  At this point, this believe will be validated and I will conclude that nest time I need to be even more vigilant.

14)  What you think of me is more important than what I think of me. If what you think of me is more important than what I think of me, I will become whatever you feel I should be.  This way I will win your approval and feel validated.  But what I don’t realize is that I’m not my own person.  I live at the whim of your opinions, actions, attitude, and moods. I am just an unwitting puppet of someone who doesn’t even know they’re pulling my strings.

15)  I am deficient as a human being. This belief will cause me to fail at most everything I try.  Instead of avoiding responsibility, I accept responsibility for everything, even things over which I have no control.

16) I’ll never amount to anything. This belief gives me permission to “give up” even before I start.  I will avoid anything which is challenging. 

17) Sex is love. This belief will have me belief I can only be loved for sex.  If someone is willing to have sex with me, then I must have worth, I must be somebody.  I will look for people to have sex with to prove my worth and “get my fix.”  When lonely, I become starved for affection, I find someone, get my fix, feel empty and ashamed, become lonely again, and so goes a vicious cycle.  This is the basis for sex addiction.

18)  You can’t trust anyone. If you’ve been hurt by someone close to you, it’s easy to be sucked into this belief.  But remember, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.  If I do not trust others, I will not invest anything of myself in a relationship.  Everything will only be superficial.  With only a superficial relationship there is nothing to hold onto – no commitment.  People will eventually drift away and you will again be alone, validating the belief that you can’t trust anyone.

19)  If I don’t try; I can’t fail. This relinquishes responsibility for working for something.  This is usually fear based.  What would happen if you did succeed – what then?  You may be expected to succeed at everything.  What many people don’t understand is:  if you don’t ever try, you’ve already failed.

20)  A real man doesn’t take crap from anyone. This belief will cause me to be on the lookout for any perceived threat to my masculinity.  I will tend to see disrespect everywhere and will initiate confrontation, even fights, to prove my masculinity.  Again, this belief is fear driven – fear that someone will discover that I really don’t think I am a man.  If I must “prove” my manhood, then how much of a man am I really?

21)  I have to be sick or ill to be loved. This belief is usually created in childhood when the only time anyone ever paid you attention is when you were sick or ill.  This belief will have me always complaining of vague maladies or ailments to solicit sympathy and attention.  This works well for awhile.  People are quick to show sympathy and concern, but eventually, constant complaining is depressing and tedious and people will drift away.

22)  Someone, or life, or God is always out to get me – keep me down. Again, this allows me to avoid responsibility for my own life.  It allows me to blame everyone and everything else for my plight.  When I don’t take responsibility for my life I give my ability to change anything.  I become a victim of my own making.

NOTE: Manager Development Services’ Blog is intended to educate and give “food for thought” that will enhance a person’s personal and professional lives.  You can find our Self-esteem Series in either our text or our e-learning course titled, “Becoming Master of Your Destiny.”

– excerpt from “Becoming Master of Your Destiny”


July 13, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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