Thoughts and overall thinking patterns strongly influence how individuals feel about the self, others, and the world. The most problematic core beliefs fall into the categories of helplessness (e.g., I’m weak, I’m a failure, I’m incompetent), worthlessness (e.g., I’m bad, I’m not good enough), and being unlovable (e.g., I will always be rejected, I’m defective, I’m different/not normal).
To begin changing these negative and unhealthy thinking patterns, consider choosing a new core belief that is more desirable. For example, instead of saying “I’m incompetent,” you might say “I am competent.” Next, consider rating the validity of that thought based on your individual perception and not the perception of others. Using the above example, your original belief may be 85% incompetent while 15% competent. The goal becomes strengthening the new core belief rather than invalidating your original, negative belief. Another option is to label your thought as “just a thought” and working to un-attach yourself from specific thoughts.
The final steps relate to intentionally looking for evidence that supports the new core belief daily. For example, using evidence that you paid bills, fed your dogs, and went grocery shopping as evidence of competence. Re-rating your beliefs and telling someone about your old and new beliefs will also help reduce shame and build confidence.