The Core Belief Experiment
This article will introduce you to a valuable tool that I call the core belief experiment. It will help you to see with greater clarity what is keeping you stuck in your efforts to change your binging or dieting or weight loss struggle or any stress you have because of drinking or procrastinating or social anxiety.
So often what is really triggering us to overeat, diet, drink or isolate ourselves is not the reality of the life we live at this time but the stories we are carrying about what is right or wrong; good or bad about us that we picked up in our childhood. The problem with this is that developmentally we are unable to see the world clearly and fully as children and so any event is going to be naturally skewed to be all about us and will also be coming from a perspective of a little person who knows they are powerless to take care of themselves and therefore is dependent on the key people around them to care enough about them to care for them. This creates a natural hyper-vigilance towards the behaviours of others that again, gets interpreted as being about us.
That means that no matter how healthy or functional or reasonable the behaviours of the key people in our lives as children we will take it personally, assume we did or didn’t do something to cause it and form solid belief systems about our worth or lack thereof based on those observations.
I say if you’re over 21 you are developmentally able to see the world differently now (your brain has developed to a point where you truly can see the big picture if you just get the chance to learn how) and it’s time for you to free yourself from those old beliefs that keep you stuck feeling anxious and insecure.
Okay! Here’s how it goes.
You know how scientists come up with a theory they want to prove and they set about ‘proving it’ by doing whatever they can to disprove it? Well I want you to be a scientist with yourself for one day and see what happens.
First, identify one of your key old stories. For example maybe you believe ‘I am not good enough’ or ‘I am unlovable’ or ‘There is something wrong with me’ or ‘I am not smart’ or ‘No one likes me’ etc.
Just for one day make a commitment to yourself that you will only interpret events from the perspective that your old belief is untrue.
Yes, that’s right!
Don’t get caught up in the authenticity factor. So what if you really think you’re not good enough. For this one day you’re going to invite yourself to approach the world and to interpret the events of the day and the actions of others through the lens of ‘I am good enough.’
You’ve been lying to yourself for decades. I’m giving you an invitation and an opportunity to free yourself from the old bogus story and to allow yourself to see what is true right now.
So for the next 24 hours, notice the things that happen to and around you, and, whatever your standard old story is, offer yourself exactly the opposite. Interpret everything in the reverse of how you typically would.
For example, if you would normally make everyone’s behaviour about you, challenge yourself on this day to make it about them, or to step back from having an opinion about it at all, and see what happens when you don’t take it on.
If your belief is that you are not good enough, see what happens if you interpret events of the day through the lens of this belief: “I am great,” or “I am deserving of good things.”
It’s just one day – you can go back to thinking you’re flawed and unlovable tomorrow if you like. But for this day, give yourself a chance to see if perhaps that old story might just not be true.