Understanding Negative Core Beliefs

I’m not good enough.

I’m damaged.

I’m not valuable.

We all struggle with some kind of negative beliefs about ourselves. These are called negative core beliefs, and if we are to understand these NEGATIVE core beliefs, we must first understand what CORE beliefs are.

Our core beliefs are the subconscious beliefs we hold to be true about ourselves, other people, and the world. These deep-rooted beliefs determine to what degree we believe we are valued, loved, successful, capable, and competent. They also establish our sense of belonging and our view of how we are treated by others. Our negative core beliefs are the deeply ingrained stories, convictions, and judgments we carry about ourselves.

When these beliefs, about ourselves, align with God’s word, we are good to go. But when our core beliefs are negative core beliefs, it becomes an entirely different story.

Negative core beliefs are based on our perceptions, not on reality or facts. They are lies. Lies that we have been falling for our whole lives.

Satan, the Father of lies, loves our negative core beliefs because they are contrary to God’s truths.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44

Examples of Negative Core Beliefs.

Some negative core beliefs about oneself might be:

  • I am unworthy.
  • I am a burden.
  • I am a failure.

Some negative core beliefs about other people might be:

  • People will hurt me.
  • People are malicious.
  • People cannot be trusted.

Some negative core beliefs about the world might be:

  • The world is dangerous.
  • The world is unfair.
  • The world is scary.


Negative Core Beliefs Are Often Formed In Childhood.

Characteristics of Negative Core Beliefs

Because negative core beliefs are formed early in life, they tend to be steeped in childlike and adolescent thinking. This immature thinking, lacking insight and wisdom, accompanies the negative core belief into adulthood.

Adolescent thinking tends to ignore consequences, favor immediate gratification over long term goals, and be very self-centered. It also lacks flexibility and practicality.

Negative Core Beliefs Are Often Accompanied By Emotive Language.

This immature thinking is often accompanied by the use of emotive language.

Emotive language is the use of words that are intended to cause an emotional reaction. They are used to elicit emotion as a way to influence others. We see examples of this type of language in news stories. Rather than just say, “Men were killed,” a reporter may say, “The victims were executed in cold blood!”

We may notice ourselves using emotive language when we are in a stressful interaction with someone else. Rather than say, “I am hurt by what you have done,” we may say something like, “ You are destroying me!” This is an example of emotive language that is meant to cause an emotional reaction. 

Our Negative Core Beliefs Are Typically Self-Sustaining


Our negative core beliefs are typically self-sustaining in that we always look for feedback in specific situations that support them while disregarding any information that would disprove them. In other words, if it validates your negative core belief you will grab hold of it and store it but if it contradicts your negative core beliefs it will most likely go in one ear and out the other. Therefore, these beliefs are validated and solidified through experiences in our lives that, through our own perception, seem to support these negative beliefs.

Recognizing Negative Core Beliefs

Our negative core beliefs can and will cause self-defeating, destructive consequences in our lives. This is why it is so crucial that we identify and break free from these toxic beliefs. In order to challenge our negative core beliefs, we must learn to identify them.

Here are a few common examples of negative core beliefs

  • I am unlovable
  • I am stupid
  • I am ugly
  • I am not good enough
  • I am worthless
  • I am not special
  • I am alone
  • I am guilty
  • I am a failure
  • I am a victim

We Subconsciously Protect Our Negative Core Beliefs.

Negative core beliefs are very subjective, meaning they are based on our feelings and opinions rather than facts.

This makes our negative core beliefs very difficult to test or prove because even after we are presented with the factual truth that disproves the negative core belief we may still continue to feel that it is true.

What we can test are the rules that we developed to support our core beliefs.

You see, in order to protect our negative core beliefs, we develop rules to live by. We create these rules to avoid situations that might challenge our negative core beliefs because we fear that we will be hurt again if our negative core belief is validated through that particular situation.

If your Negative Core Belief is, I am unworthy, some of the rules you may have created to support it and protect yourself might be:

  • Never ask for anything.
  • Never admit fault or mistakes.
  • Never say no to anything.

Because we are still operating through immature, adolescent type thinking, we believe that living by these rules will help us to avoid facing situations that may cause us to experience pain when that negative core belief is validated again.
We believe we can protect ourselves from a catastrophe this way, but unfortunately, living by these rules is what robs us of the opportunity to prove to ourselves that our negative core belief is actually a lie.

For example, a woman with a negative core belief of, people cannot be trusted, will avoid situations where she may need to trust others.

Though she subconsciously, or in some cases consciously, does this to protect herself, she is actually robbing herself of experiencing the truth that some people can be trusted.

This is why it is so important to identify the rules that we have created to support a particular negative core belief.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

Negative Core Beliefs Will Cause Strong Emotional Reactions

Another way to recognize that a negative core belief is in play is that it will trigger a strong emotional overreaction.

Take notice of interactions where you find yourself having a strong emotional reaction. When this happens, stop and put your attention on what your thoughts are at that moment. There is a good chance that you will find your core belief hidden behind these negative thoughts.

These emotional overreactions are a good place to stop and look for the negative core belief that is driving them.

Note: A strong emotional reaction may not always be loud. Clamming up and refusing to continue the conversation (stonewalling) may also be considered an emotional overreaction.

We’re All In This Boat Together

It’s important to understand that we all develop some negative core beliefs, whether our childhood was smooth or whether it was traumatic.

I do not believe that any of us escape the process of developing negative core beliefs because our flesh so readily believes the lies of this world.

This is why I challenge every woman to take a close look at this.
Begin to look at every negative thought or message you give yourself no matter how small. Each time you catch a negative message, stop and think.

Follow that negative message back and look for the root. Why am I giving myself this negative message? What makes this situation so bad?

For example, you may begin to beat yourself up because you are late for an appointment. “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I ever be on time? I am always late! I can’t do anything right!”

This is when you need to stop and ask yourself some questions:

  • Why is it so bad that I am late?
  • What does being late say about me?
  • Where did that belief come from?
  • What evidence do I support it with?

Always trace the negative core belief back to an I statement. Ask yourself, “What does this say about me?” 

The next step is to put that into an I statement. If this is true about me then I am____________. This final I statement is most likely your negative core belief. It’s critical that we come up with our I statement because until we get these lies out of our heads and our hearts, they will continue to occupy precious space within us that the Lord is wanting to fill with His truth.

Remember, Satan uses our negative core beliefs as strongholds against us. He uses them to keep us from believing and living in the truth of God’s word.

 Therefore, if anyone
is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away.
Behold, the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Breaking Free From Negative Core Beliefs is Crucial to Living a Life Free From Stress and Anxiety

Understanding, identifying, and breaking free from our negative core beliefs is crucial if we are to live life outside of stress and anxiety because these internal lies are negatively impacting every one of our relationships, including our precious relationship with Jesus.

This is why breaking free from these limiting beliefs is the backbone of the life-changing program I created for Christian women.

Hi there! I’m Renee White!

I’m an author and Christian Life Coach for women. I’m a sinner, saved by grace, an over-the-top happily married woman, and mom to one boy and three young men.

I absolutely love helping women develop a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus.

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