Inside all of us, there is a voice. It is usually a very tiny voice, although in certain situations it can get much louder. What is said by these voices is quite simple, since these voices began in your childhood. Even if you have repackaged them in sophisticated language, they first started when you were very young.
Core Limiting Beliefs are the set of imagined issues that you have with yourself, others, or the world. The main three beliefs are "I am not enough", and points negatively to the self. "People aren't trustworthy, safe, or reliable" is a learned negative belief about others, and "There's not enough (time, money, good people) in the world" is a negative belief about scarcity in the world. All other negative beliefs can trace their origins back to here. Identifying these voices and noticing when they are steering the ship can have a profound positive impact on your life and your relationships.
From the moment we are born, we desperately want to assert our needs, have them met, feel connected and be deemed important. However, caretakers and other siblings also have their own set of patterns and are also busy trying to assert themselves in the world. Unless you grew up in a very self aware family, they didn't always know how to meet your needs, and therefore led to the creation your limiting core beliefs.
The excellent news is that you are reading this today, which means you are already on a path of self inquiry. And the first step in questioning your core beliefs is to be able to recognize them. Here are three ways to identify your core limiting beliefs so that you can have less internal battles with yourself and more connection in your relationship.
The most direct, straightforward method of inquiry is to ask yourself the simple question "What do I imagine to be wrong with me?". Observe as your internal self-judgements begin to form. Then get out a piece of paper and write them down with all of the love, care, and non-attachment of a therapist. Keep the sentences very brief and remember, the key word here is 'imagine' - these are not real. They are like the monster under the bed or the skeleton in the closet, and while you may have gone to great lengths throughout your life to hide these aspects of yourself from others, they will be sabotaging your happiness from behind the scenes until you are able to expose them.
Once you have finished, find the one that seems to have the most emotional charge. You may need to refine it so that it reflects exactly how you think. For a few moments, give quality attention to it. Notice the feelings and sensations in your body. Breathe deeply, create space and send that part of yourself love. Thank it for all that it has taught you in an attempt to keep you safe. Then write a letter to this part of you asking for it to leave, however it sees fit, for the greatest good of all.
Sense Your Body
Our thoughts play a critical role in how we feel, sense, and respond in situations. We have seen the power that thoughts of compassion, gratitude, kindness, joy, and love have on not just ourselves but also on others. In the same way, thoughts of resentment, anger, shame, fear, and guilt can have an intense emotional response in the body. As much as it hurts to hear derogatory words from loved ones, the damage is far greater when we hear these things from ourselves.
When you notice a constriction, tightening, dampening or darkening inside yourself, slow down and observe this emotional reaction. Sense into it and give yourself the space to observe without collapsing into the emotion. Breathe deeply and be willing to feel it, knowing that you are not your emotions, and this too shall pass. Ask yourself "What belief about myself goes with this reaction?" Once you have found the matching limiting belief, try humming softly into the constriction, imagine a golden light shining around that area, or surround that part of you with flowers.
If you're able to name these feelings while in an argument with your partner, state it out loud, without making it their fault. "I feel (a tightness in my chest, a hole in my gut, a constriction in my shoulders) because this is bringing up some intense feelings about myself. Can we (slow down, take space, get back to connection) so that I can learn what is here?" If your partner is committed to your growth as an individual as well as a couple, they will respect your request. This dynamic takes time, and usually some discussion when not in the heat of the moment, so don't be discouraged if it doesn't go well the first time. Trust that it's a process and keep trying.
Our most frequent and charged judgements of others are pointing directly back to our self-judgements. Projections are feelings we cast on to others which we are unaware about ourselves. The more we cannot stand something about ourselves, the more it bothers us in others. Conversely, the more self-aware we become, the less we judge others. For example, I used to be quite judgemental of people with anger until I identified my own repressed anger. After acknowledging, validating, and giving myself healthy space to express anger, I see the emotion in a much different light. When you can bring something out of the subconscious mind and into the awareness of the conscious mind, things change. Anger doesn't go away, of course, I still can get angry, but it no longer spirals me out of control.
Think of a quality or behavior that you can't stand in others, such as selfishness, dishonesty, vanity, or arrogance. Bring someone to mind that appears to have these qualities. What is the judgement you hold about them? Slow down and spend some time here. Don't force or rush anything, even though it can be quite uncomfortable, breathe into this discomfort. See if you can find these same qualities in yourself. What are your judgements about these qualities in yourself? There is a treasure trove of wisdom here for you if you take the time to listen.
Core limiting beliefs, inner critics, and negative self talk are silent assassins in relationships. They tear at the fabric of connection. Being able to connect with these parts of ourselves and see what is there, or what is missing, is the fastest way of getting closer with ourselves in order to get closer with others, and ultimately have deeper, more satisfying relationships. It starts with slowing down and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to look within. Because, as the saying goes, we can only truly meet others as deeply as we have met ourselves.