Updated: Aug 17
We all have negative beliefs about ourselves that plague us in certain moments in our life, stopping us from doing the things that we want to do, or just making us feel so depressed, anxious and self-conscious about ourselves.
Yet where do they come from?
When something has happened to us, normally in childhood, although an adult can experience a major event that can cause a negative belief, we develop a negative belief about ourselves. I always describe these negative beliefs very much the same as when we develop our core beliefs. Think about it this way. If you grow up and you are told constantly that you are smart, kind, or funny, and you engage in an activity that makes you feel that way, we start to build a neuro pathway in the brain that connects the experiences together. This results in us building these positive beliefs about ourselves.
For example, if people tell you that you are smart, and you get an A on the test one week, your presentation is applauded by the teacher the next week and your parents tell you how smart you are, these events will be stored together to form your core belief about yourself that you are smart.
How do Negative Beliefs haunt our day to day?
Now that is wonderful if all we hear are positive things, but that is not necessarily the case. Say if we have parents that are more focused on your achievements than they are on your emotions and want you to always achieve ‘A’s in the class, despite the fact that you constantly feel overwhelmed and anxious. You could end up having the negative thought of “I am a disappointment”, or “I am not good enough” or “I am not important”. It really depends on the person and the experience of how you are going to interpret the negative thought.
Now think about someone going through their life with the negative thought of “I am not good enough”. Tough right. People that do not feel good enough can engage in relationships that are toxic because they do not feel good enough to have positive people in their lives. They may find that in their career they do not fight for that promotion or are always feeling like they are going to get fired for doing something wrong. They just may feel a general feeling of disappointment in their lives, but cannot understand why they are unable to push themselves. These negative thoughts will show up in our lives without us even noticing them and slowly over time change the trajectory of our lives, making us feel that we did not quite achieve all we wanted.
Can we change these?
So how do we get rid of these negative thoughts? This is where Eye Movement Desensitization and Eye Processing (EMDR) comes in. People normally come into therapy because they are having some type of difficulty in their life. They could be in a relationship that is not positive, or they just feel stuck in their career. After the initial meeting with the therapist, normally a negative belief will be discovered and the therapist will look at where that negative belief started, normally in childhood. With the help the therapist, the client will be able to identify certain major events in their life where they felt "not good enough", which will eventually be targeted and replaced with the positive belief of “I am good enough”.
The process of EMDR is amazing to see, and throughout my time using this modality, have seen people change before my eyes. Now, this is a process and most negative beliefs cannot be resolved in one or two sessions, but according to the research EMDR has shown to be quicker than most talk therapies.
How can we help?
If while reading this blog you can relate to anything that has been said, then please reach out to an EMDR specialist for a consultation. For Florida residents, area please feel free to reach out to Clarity Health Solutions.