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Confidence: How Core Beliefs May Hold You Back

Confidence: How Core Beliefs May Hold You Back

Confidence is a quality difficult to define, yet the lack of it very familiar to many. Especially if you are at the beginning of your career, starting a new job, or venturing into a new field, you may find yourself wondering “am I good enough“.

Confidence is often (not necessarily always) linked to core beliefs. These are deep rooted conclusions we hold of ourself that influence how we engage with our environment and with others. Core beliefs are often “formed in childhood in responses to repeated relational experiences” (Joyce & Sills, 2001:60).

Core beliefs can mislead us, especially when we grew up in unsupportive environments. Negative messages than form their own existence within ourselves and serve one purpose: to diminish our sense of self and confidence.

The struggle with confidence and the link to core beliefs can be challenging for individuals to resolve on their own. Psychotherapeutic counselling can help to examine one’s belief system and uncover where these thoughts originate from, what purpose they initially served and how they can be managed. Perls, the inventor of Gestalt therapy suggests (1947:152):

  1. The first step is to identify core beliefs and understand their purpose, how they function and what impact they have on you.
  2. Once identified, the “chewing over” helps to re-process historical experiences and relate them to present and future aspects of your self.
  3. By re-processing your core beliefs you will find ways to either reject or assimilate your introjects and inevitably find more confidence in your own abilities.

The process of assimilating core beliefs can be uncomfortable, but inevitably leads to more freedom and confidence.


  • References:
  • Joyce, P. and Sills, C., 2001. Skills in Gestalt Counselling & Psychotherapy. [e-book] 2nd ed. Sage Publication, London.
  • Perls, F. S., 1947. Ego, Hunger and Aggression. [e-book] The Gestalt Journal Press, Goldsboro.

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