Negative Belief Systems: The Joy Robber
I want to tackle the concept of negative belief systems and the joy robber that they are. Negative belief systems are created from life experiences. More on that topic here (The two sides to every life story: The significance of self-talk). Here is how life experiences happen from a neurological perspective:
We experience life visually, emotionally, and physically. I want you to think of a negative memory. Close your eyes and visualize this experience.
- What do you see?
- What emotions do you feel?
- Scan your body; what sensations do you have? Tension? Rapid heart rate? Clenching body part(s)?
As you experience this negative memory visually, emotionally, and physically, what do you think about yourself in that very moment reflecting on this particular life experience?
Humans are meaning makers. Humans have a complex brain that has reasoning, judgement, and deep cognitive abilities. When we experience life, positive or negative, our brain immediately attaches a belief. As you keep your memory, emotions, and body sensations present, which of these belief systems do you feel is the most powerful?
RESPONSIBILITY/ I AM SOMETHING “WRONG”
I don’t deserve love.
I am a bad person.
I am terrible.
I am worthless (inadequate).
I am shameful.
I am not lovable.
I am not good enough.
I deserve only bad things.
I am permanently damaged.
I am ugly (my body is hateful).
I do not deserve . . .
I am stupid (not smart enough).
I am insignificant (unimportant).
I am a disappointment.
I deserve to die.
I deserve to be miserable.
I am different (don’t belong).
RESPONSIBILITY/ I DID SOMETHING “WRONG”
I should have done something.
I did something wrong.
I should have known better.
I cannot be trusted.
I cannot trust myself.
I cannot trust my judgment.
I cannot trust anyone.
I cannot protect myself.
I am in danger.
It’s not okay to feel (show) my emotions.
I cannot stand up for myself.
I cannot let it out.
I am not in control.
I am powerless (helpless).
I am weak.
I cannot get what I want.
I am a failure (will fail).
I cannot succeed.
I have to be perfect (please everyone).
I cannot stand it.
I am inadequate.
I cannot trust anyone.
Here is the truth of being human, you made meaning and adopted a negative belief about yourself. It’s what your brain does, this is not abnormal or dysfunctional. Once you adopt a negative self-belief you begin to filter life through this belief system if you are not intentional to change this to a positive belief. Much like a coffee filter, when pure water is poured and filtered through coffee beans, it changes the water. When life is pour and filtered through negative beliefs YOU are changed. Now that you’ve identified your negative belief system, think about how this belief has woven itself through your tapestry of life. How has it impacted your decisions, relationships, spirituality, and life path?
. . . . . . .
Do you see the filter effect in your life? How beautiful would it be to discard this negative belief system for a new productive positive belief system despite the negative life experience(s) you have had?
DO NOT ADOPT a negative core belief because life at this moment or in the past has not been good to you! Do not believe the lies that you deserve bad things! Do not believe you’re unworthy of happiness. Do not believe you’re unlovable. Do not believe you’re permanently damaged. Whatever the belief is that is trying to root itself into your life… DO NOT ADOPT IT! DO NOT WATER IT! DO NOT ROOT IT! You were created for J-O-Y!!! Adopt Joy! If this adoption is difficult for you, you’re not alone. As humans, belief systems are a unifying experience. No one escapes life without positive and negative belief systems taking root.
Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Here you have a biblical contrast of positive and negative belief systems and the clear effects of both on one’s life. It is the contrast of life and death; confidence and paralysis; worth and worthlessness; productivity and procrastination. Where are you in life? Are you struggling? Are you crushed in spirit? Do you go through the day feeling numb? Are you paralyzed by life? Is your self-worth siding more on the worthless end of the spectrum? It’s possible you have a deeply rooted negative belief that you’re filtering your life through that is preventing you from functioning out of JOY!
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Negative belief systems cloud our judgement much like a mind that lacks sobriety. God is a God of love and prosperity. God is a God of hope and joy. Negative belief systems are lies the enemy uses to devour your very purpose as ordained by God who created you with intention.
Romans 12:22 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is
the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Therapy is a process of renewing your mind. I will help you identify these negative self-belief systems that have taken root and changed you. Together we will uproot the old and plant the new that you will be transformed and protected. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but through the healing God can provide you will have the victory over the prowling lions of your mind.