As discussed in the post about BTEA (beliefs – thoughts – emotions – actions), core wounds aka negative core beliefs influence a lot of your life. They are the result of past painful situations, which you didn’t deserve to go through. As a reaction to these situations you built these beliefs. These may be beliefs about yourself, about other people, or about situations and things which happen in life.
These beliefs create the glass ceiling which stops you from achieving your full potential. If you believe that you are going to lose anyways, how will you show up in a competition? Exactly. You are not going to give your best, because you believe that you are still going to lose.
Identifying these core wounds, these painful (and inaccurate) beliefs which hold you back, and reprogramming them using autosuggestion is absolutely essential to self development and growth. Breaking free of this additional weight, this travel baggage loaded with heavy stones which you keep dragging behind you, will give you a new zest for life, and unlock additional energy!
What are core wounds?
Core wounds is just a vivid name for negative, limiting beliefs which you believe are true, and therefore act and feel in accordance to them being true.
For example you might hold some of the following beliefs:
- I am a bad public speaker.
- I deserve to be treated badly because I’ve sinned in the past.
- I will never get that promotion as I am not good enough, others have much better chances.
- That woman is far too beautiful for someone in my league.
In her work, Thais Gibson (heading the Personal Development School), on which this article is based, identified that you can continue to go to deeper and deeper belief “levels” driving these beliefs. She found 21 so-called core wounds, which most beliefs are ultimately connected to. Here is a list of the core wounds:
- I am not enough
- I am bad
- I am stupid
- I am unseen or unheard
- I don’t belong
- I am disconnected
- I am rejected
- I am abandoned or alone
- I am weak
- I am unworthy
- I don’t matter
- I am disliked
- I am excluded
- I am trapped or stuck
- I am unloved
- I am unsafe
- I am helpless
- Something is wrong with me / I am defective
- I am unimportant
- I am disrespected
- I am powerless or have no control
We can of course use autosuggestion with the negative beliefs of which we are immediately aware of. It is however useful to go to the deeper levels, to the actual core wounds, as they will drive many more of the everyday beliefs. Cutting off the energy powering these beliefs at the core will pay off in accelerated healing and an improved life quality.
Identifying core wounds
When you find yourself being emotionally charged in a negative way, you can use this to identify core beliefs. Follow this process (nearly verbatim from the PDS How to find a core belief worksheet):
- describe the situation that made you feel emotionally charged in a negative way
- Describe the 2-3 emotions you feel in regard to this situation
- What meaning do you give to this, or what are you fearing could happen?
- keep repeating step 3, asking “what negative thing are you afraid would take place” and “What meaning do you give to this” with the respective results, until you arrive at one of the core wounds.
Example for identifying core wounds
- I was upset yesterday when my mother criticized me
- I felt angry frustrated, helpless
- iterate through the meaning / outcome you fear:
- I am afraid that I will be judged
- I am afraid I will experience “I am rejected, I am disrespected, I am disliked” feelings
This is just a very brief example – to arrive at the core wound which resonates with you, you possibly will go through more layers of beliefs and associations.
Another thing which is helpful is to read through the list aloud, when you are doing this work, and feel into each core wound as you read it – does it resonate in a painful way with you? If so, you have found the right core wound to work on.
Working on core wounds
Remember, these core wounds are results of trauma, painful events which happened in the past, which you didn’t deserve to go through. You are the person who literally keeps them alive in your own life – by continuing to feel them (which strengthens the neuronal connections which drive this belief circuit in your brain). This is a double injustice – not only have you suffered in the past, but you are continuing to suffer in the present. And you now have full control over the present.
You can show up for yourself and stop the repetition of life patterns, by making different decisions. By building a new subconscious comfort zone.
Let’s say that you are afraid of abandonment (“I am alone or abandoned” core wound). Yet for some reason you end up with people who keep abandoning you in different ways, for example in the way some relationships with unaware dismissive avoidants play out.
You are keeping yourself in this situation by not choosing to walk away from relationships which do not serve your needs for closeness. Because that is your subconscious comfort zone – it feels familiar to be fighting for closeness and attention, instead of just having it.
Yes – the most important thing is to actually set up new subconscious comfort zones, which will then automatically drive your decisions. Which will help you to seek out and be attracted to people who give you what you actually need, in the form you need it.
There are several tools to help you work on this – refer to our tools page to get an overview of all the tools for controlled subconscious development. Honorable mention to two things at this page, to get you started:
- Use autosuggestion to work on the opposite of the core wound. Write affirmations with actual proofs. For example: “Many people are close to me and care about me.. My father recently took extra time to inquire about the progress of my studies, even though he has a lot to deal with currently.”
- Use shadow work to identify where you are treating yourself in this way in relationship to yourself, e.g. where you are abandoning yourself (and your needs)
- and plan how to change this, to show up for your needs and yourself, to treat yourself in the way you want others to treat you.
Both will be invaluable to change your subconscious comfort zone and to remove a lot of unnecessary pain from your life.
By the way, working this way will also remove the need for a lot of coping behaviors from your life – by breaking the BTEA chain at the core belief level, those uncomfortable and painful emotions which some of us tend to drink away, eat away, or use drugs (uppers, downers, gambling, sex, excessive exercise … ) for, will naturally subside. All the other coping mechanisms which I mentioned have some drawbacks.
Stop using coping mechanisms, take control of your life at the core. Deal with your subconscious, and plant beautiful flowers in that garden so they may blossom into a beautiful life for you – you still have so many years ahead of you, you are worth it – to you!