The following is a shortened version of a chapter from Wendy Hill, Ph.D.’s book and online course, The True Seeker’s Guide To A Better Life.
Here you will learn how you were originally programmed as a fetus, as an infant, and as a child. You will learn how you have created your own life experience through your thoughts and attitudinal energy. You will learn about your inner child, what a core belief is, and how your core beliefs dictate your thoughts, your feelings, and how you behave. You will learn about the great power your high impact moments have had in your life. You will learn how you made decisions during your high impact moments. You will learn how you can actually believe conflicting things about yourself and you will learn how your unexpressed emotions keep your self-defeating core beliefs locked in place.
You are a living testimony to what you believe. What you do, what you feel, what you think, how you react, the choices you make, the quality of your relationships, and how you experience life are all your creation. You have created your life experience based on your deepest beliefs about yourself, others, and the nature of reality—your perception of what is real, how the world works, and what you have to do to cope with and survive in that world. Outside circumstances can be powerful influences, but how you adjust to and cope with them is your responsibility alone. You determine what you ultimately experience. Your experience is determined by what you believe to be true. Your experience is a reflection of your deepest perception of yourself, others, and the nature of reality. Your inner perception of yourself, others, and the nature of reality is seldom what you think it is. What you think you believe is often not what you really believe. Your true beliefs are buried deep within your subconscious mind. You can bring those hidden beliefs into your conscious mind, examine them, and, if you want, transform them. What I Think, I Am “I am what I think I am.” It matters little what others think of you. It matters a great deal what you think of yourself. If what you believe about yourself supports happiness and success, you will have the experience of happiness and success. If what you believe about yourself is fearful, judgmental, and supports failure, you will have the experience of fear, judgment, and failure.
Again, what you experience is a reflection of and a direct result of your beliefs about yourself, others, and the nature of reality. Others “Others will treat me as I believe they will treat me.” You choose your relationships based on what you believe about others and how you believe they will treat you. Byremaining in them you continue to choose them. Others choose you in accordance with their beliefs. Relationships are a reflection of not only what you believe, but of what the other person believes. Whether it is healthy or not, it is always a match. Reality “Reality is what I believe it to be. There is no reality outside of myself.” Consider that what you see in the world around you are perceptions unique to you alone. “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” can also mean “reality is in the eyes of the beholder.” Everything you see is seen through your mind and your perceptions. All you see is filtered through your beliefs and that is what you see as reality.
If you are wearing rose-colored glasses, you will see all things in your world as generally pleasant and happy. If your glasses are grey-colored, everything will look dark or dreary to you. Your beliefs will determine the color of your life. Attitudinal Energy There is no accident about what you experience, who is in your life, what is happening in your life, the direction of your career, or your well-being. You are the creator. You are the seer. You are the perceiver. You are the chooser. You are the doer. Your beliefs are so powerful that they attract people and circumstances that reflect what you believe. Love attracts love. Fear attracts fear. Success attracts success.
The old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together,” is true. You live in a responsive universe. It responds to what you send out. It responds to your energy. It responds to your actions. It responds to your beliefs. People automatically respond to your attitudinal energy. Attitudinal energy is the feeling or energy you project based on your core beliefs. Much of your experience is the result of your attitudinal energy. Attitudes of success and well-being draw responses that create the experience of success and well-being. Attitudes of fear and failure draw responses that create the experience of fear and failure. You attract responses that reflect your attitudinal energy. You cannot hide your true attitudinal energy by giving lip service to something else or assuming attitudes that conflict with your core beliefs. People respond to your core beliefs and your experience will reflect those core beliefs.
Your true beliefs about yourself, others, and the nature of reality are buried deep within your subconscious mind. Picture your mind as an onion with many layers. Imagine that the outside skin of the onion represents your conscious mind. As you peel the onion, you go deeper into the subconscious mind. When a thought is “on the tip of your tongue” the thought is close to the surface—one of the outer layers of the onion. Each layer you peelaway takes you deeper into your subconscious mind. The deeper you go, the more hidden your memories, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are from your conscious mind. It is in these deeper layers that you carry your most significant and influential beliefs—your core beliefs. Your core beliefs—those deeply hidden beliefs that form your perception of who you are, who others are, and what reality is—come from your experience. The beliefs that stem from your experience are in the heart of you. They are the foundation of your personality and your character and will influence you for the rest of your life. Your core beliefs can change only if you become conscious of them. You can access what is hidden in the deeper layers of your subconscious mind. You can ask your mind to reveal to you the information you need to make the changes you want. But until you are conscious of that hidden information, you will not be able to make the positive changes. You must bring that information into your conscious mind in order to know what you need to change and how to change it.
It is possible to have conflicting beliefs about yourself. For example, you can believe you are worthy while at the same time believe you are unworthy. How is this possible? As a child you may have had experiences that caused you to decide that you are not worthy. As an adult you have come to see that you are worthy. However, having consciously changed your perception of your worthiness does not necessarily mean that you have changed your subconscious or childhood perception of your worthiness. We can carry old beliefs from childhood that still affect us in the present even though we are not aware of them. There is a child within you that carries one perception and an adult within you that carries another. Consequently, your adult self may profess one belief while your child self may profess an opposing belief. Often people tell me they believe one thing about themselves while their lives reflect a completely different belief. Core Beliefs Influence You A core belief is formed during a moment of high stress during infancy or childhood. During the stressful moment you have an intense thought that is highly influential. This experience is accompanied by intense emotion. During a conflicting experience the accompanying emotions range from terror to despair. During a positive experience the accompanying emotions range from love to joy. It is from this intense experience that you make a decision about yourself, others, and the nature of reality. Thus, for better or worse, a core belief is formed.
If you are seeking a better life, it is essential that you become aware of your core beliefs. Why is this so important? Your core beliefs have caused repetitive patterns of feelings and behaviors that have molded your life experience and well-being. These patterns are based on your core beliefs about yourself, others, and the nature of reality. A pattern isactivated in the following way: You have an experience that triggers a memory and a core belief. You then have a thought based on your core belief that is followed by emotions. You make a decision and then you initiate action. Basically you think, you feel, you decide, and you act in accordance with a core belief.
All this happens in a split second. Here is an example: John is at work when his supervisor calls him to his office. As John enters his office, he sees his supervisor’s stressed expression. That expression triggers a memory in John of when he was four years old and his father called him into his study and beat him (the memory). John’s belief that stressed men can be dangerous (core belief) is triggered. John feels anxiety (emotion). John decides that it is not safe to be in his supervisor’s office and that in order to be safe he must leave (decision). John leaves his supervisor’s office (action). It is likely that John is entirely unaware of the sequence of mental events happening within him. He is probably only aware of his anxiety. However, John’s behavior is dictated by a core belief he formed long ago from an event he may have forgotten. The core belief continues to remain in John’s subconscious mind ready to be triggered at a moment’s notice.
The subconscious mind has no sense of time. Events that occurred when you were a fetus in your mother’s womb, a toddler, or a school child are as fresh as the moment they occurred. According to your subconscious mind they are happening in the here and now—at this moment. When a core belief is triggered, the memory is not a memory to your subconscious mind, but an event that is happening now. What you believe directs your thoughts. These thoughts create an emotional reaction that influences your choices and behaviors. If you believe that you are worthy, you will have thoughts of worthiness which will bring about feelings of well-being. These feelings of well-being will influence such things as how you communicate and act. How you communicate and act creates your reality. If you carry negative or conflicting beliefs at the “core of your onion,” you will automatically create a reality in direct response to these beliefs. This decision-making process happens in a split second and occurs on the subconscious level.
Consider the many unseen layers of onion beneath the tough outer skin. It is in these deeper layers that most of your thinking, feeling, and decision-making occur. This means that you are not aware of the genesis of most of your thoughts, feelings, and decisions. Because most of your responses are habitual they occur instantly and automatically. They are responses that you don’t even think about. They just happen. Some of your core beliefs are positive and some are negative. Some lead to failure. Some lead to success. Some lead to misery. Some lead to happiness. Core beliefs are impersonal. They themselves do not have feeling, judgement, morality, or will. Your core beliefs only wish to be expressed.
Your Inner Child
You have a child self within you. Your child self or inner child is all your memories, emotions, experiences, attitudes, and beliefs of being a fetus, infant, and child. No matter how long you live you will always have an inner child that influences you. You must always be aware of your inner child if you are to understand yourself fully. In this guide you will be asked to connect with your inner child many times.
You are the one who programmed you. When you were a child you made decisions about yourself, others, and the nature of reality. These decisions became your core beliefs. How does this happen? How can a mere thought become a core belief? How can a moment in time affect you for the rest of your life? Your self-programming began while you were in the womb and continued throughout your childhood. Clinical research tells us that you were conscious as a fetus. You were dreaming, thinking, and responding to your environment. You were affected by what your mother ate, how she felt, what she did, and the people with whom she related. You felt your mother’s emotions, responded to conversations she had with others, and experienced her moods. You experienced the affects of any drugs or medications she ingested. By the time you were born you already had a wealth of experiences to which you were responding. You had already made decisions about yourself, others, and the nature of reality. Your birth experience itself had an important influence in determining your core beliefs.
Some people may find this difficult to believe, but it is true. If you experienced your birth as harmonious, you responded with harmonious beliefs. If you experienced your birth as unpleasant or conflicting, you responded with conflicting beliefs. The beliefs you formed at birth have likely influenced you for your entire life.
Your early childhood years were also very important in establishing your core beliefs. During childhood your mind was in a state of receptivity and openness that you will never experience again. You learned at an escalated rate. You were highly influenced by all you experienced. You took things personally and literally. You did not know how to rationalize or analyze what you experienced, you simply accepted it. If your experience was positive you responded with positive, self-supporting beliefs. If it was negative you responded with negative, self-defeating beliefs. This condition of such openness continued in diminishing degrees until about the age of ten. The younger you were the more influenced you were. As you matured you became more objective. You developed skills and were more capable of making distinctions and seeing things from a broader perspective. Most of your core beliefs were formed between your experience as a fetus and age four. A core belief, however, can be established at any time in your childhood. The younger you are and the more impacting the experience, the more likely it is that a core belief will result.
High Impact Moments
A high impact moment is an isolated experience that is both stressful and emotionally charged. The stress can be either positive or negative. During a high impact moment you have an intense thought—a high impact thought. The thought can be an automatic reaction. Normally you do not analyze the thought nor do you even note that you are having the thought. You simply have the thought. This thought is highly influential and becomes a core belief. As far as your subconscious mind is concerned, what you thought is reality. Even if the high impact experience that caused the thought is over or changes or is perceived in a completely different way only minutes later, it can still become a core belief. The stress and emotion of that moment lock the thought into the subconscious mind.
Events And Conditions
An event, like a high impact moment, is an isolated experience that can be positive or conflicting. They are usually of longer duration. The following are examples of conflicting events: a freak storm, a visit by a feared relative, an accident, or overhearing an upsetting conversation. Your life is filled with events. You respond to each event with thoughts and emotions. It is when the conflicting event is highly stressful, creating strong emotion, and you have an intense thought, that it becomes a high impact moment. A condition is a series of on-going events that are similar in their nature. The following are examples of conflicting conditions: tension in the family, chronic illness, poverty, or addiction. Conditions can contain many high impact moments that can affect you. The events that take place during a condition can reinforce an already existing core belief.
During the high impact moments of a conflicting event or condition you have many thoughts. These thoughts are really -decisions you make about yourself, others, and the nature of reality. The thoughts come rapidly, so rapidly that they are hardly recognized as thoughts. These thoughts are so instantaneous and -instinctive that they are like prethought perceptions that later become identifiable thought. And they are so intense that they, coupled with high stress and strong emotion such as fear, anger, grief, or shame, become a core belief. During your childhood you made thousands of decisions about yourself, others, and the nature of reality. Most of those decisions were made instantaneously and automatically, and you may have been unaware of having made them.
Your perception of the world as an adult is quite different than as a child. As a child you are comparatively powerless and simply respond to your experience without conscious thought. By the time you are an adult you have developed many skills that give you power, control, mobility, and autonomy. You have a high degree of control over yourenvironment. You can think things through. You can imagine your own future and make plans.
It is the emotion that locks a core belief into the subconscious mind. Emotions serve as a glue that holds the belief in place. A core belief can remain active even though it is no longer helpful or even valid. The belief, however, cannot be changed until the emotions are consciously acknowledged and expressed. When the emotions are expressed, the core belief can mature.
You learn who you are during your childhood. At least you learn who you think you are. You develop perceptions of your worthiness, safety, lovability, goodness, and ability to succeed. Conflicting experiences in your childhood cause you to have conflicting beliefs about yourself. These conflicting beliefs influence your emotions and your actions. Emotions and actions develop into patterns that repeat over and over again. They become familiar and automatic to you. You develop patterns of thought, feeling, and action. For example, you may have particular patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting when you are under stress. You have learned how to deal with problems in predictable ways.
These patterns can be observed in every aspect of your life. They are predictable and consistent. You are continually responding to your early life programming.
Conflicting core beliefs develop in early childhood. This may be difficult for some to accept. Difficult because some may see their childhood as having passed without conflict, or what problems there were as having had little effect. Some people see the problems of childhood as having long since been resolved. I often hear, “I had a great childhood. My parents loved me,” or “I know my family had those problems, but they didn’t affect me,” or “I have already forgiven that,” or “When I think of that I don’t feel any conflict.” Such responses often reflect an unconscious denial of problems and conflicting feelings. Unconscious means out of the realm of consciousness. My clients are not lying to me. They are simply unaware of their hidden perceptions and feelings.
Childhood is difficult even under the best of circumstances. Even if you had wonderful parents they could not protect you from many of life’s difficulties. They could not fully protect you from childhood illnesses, the loss of a pet, accidents, family members leaving or dying, or the challenging tasks of learning how to do things. At best, life for a child is one challenge after another. Parents are simply people doing the best they can based on their own core beliefs. Sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes they do wonderful things.
It is important for you to realize that in exploring your early programming, you are seeking to understand your own experience. Your goal is not to blame others. Your goal is to acknowledge andunderstand your experience. You need to learn what happened to you and how you responded. Only when you see your experience from the point of view of the child you were, do you open the door to a better life.
Eyes Of The Child
It is important to view our past experiences as a child from the point of view of a child. Most of us who take the time to examine our past tend to view it from the adult perspective. We analyze and judge how we must have thought and felt, but see ourselves as little adults with adult thoughts and adult feelings. Because we have forgotten what it is like to think and feel like a child we imagine that the child will react as we would today. This is simply not true. Adult perspective can give you an incomplete and distorted view of your past. It can prevent you from learning the most important facts about yourself at that time. An adult sees things from a more empowered point of view, armed with skills a child has yet to learn.
To really understand what you experienced as a child, you must re-live your experiences as though you were that child. You must see your experience through the eyes of the child. If you do you will see striking differences between your adult point of view and your child point of view. All of us as children have had stresses and difficulties and many of those stresses and difficulties have long since been resolved. For most of us, however, there still remain some unresolved problems that continue to exert their negative influences. As long as those unresolved problems remain in the subconscious mind, we are destined to continue acting on them.
Your core beliefs are a treasure of information and knowledge hidden deep within you. Finding your core beliefs is the key to transformation. You can transform negative selfdefeating beliefs into beliefs that support your life as an adult. You can identify patterns that undermine your well-being and transform them into patterns that create a better life. By upgrading your core beliefs you can mature your feelings and reactions. You can positively influence how others react to you. You can change your life for the better. You can do this!
• You create your own life experiences; you become what you believe yourself to be.• People and circumstances respond to your attitudinal energy.• Reality is what you believe it to be.• Your core beliefs are hidden within you and determine your experience.• Core beliefs reflect decisions you made about yourself, others, and the nature of reality.• A core belief comes into being during an emotional high impact moment.• A core belief is formed when you have a high impact thought followed by a decision.• A series of mental events occurs when a behavior pattern is triggered.• These mental events cause the pattern to activate and become reinforced.• You have a child self and an adult self within you that can carry opposing beliefs.• Your experiences as a fetus, as an infant, and as a child have impacted you the most.• A high impact moment is a high stress moment that is charged with emotion.• During your high impact moments you make decisions.• You decide about yourself, others, and the nature of reality.• Unexpressed emotions lock a core belief into the subconscious mind.• Unexpressed emotions create patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior.• Defensiveness and denial are clues to buried conflicting memories.• Admitting to childhood conflict does not mean you are blaming your parents.• You have a right to understand what happened to you.• Childhood is difficult even during the best of times.• To uncover the truth about your past you must see through the eyes of your inner child.