What's your beliefs


You aren’t born with values, so how do you develop your values? Morris Massey outlined three periods during which our values are formed as we grow and develop.

These include

  1. The Imprint Period (age 0 to 7)
  2. The Modelling Period (age 8 to 13)

  3. The Socialisation Period (age 13 to 21)

During these periods we develop our values – what many people believe to be the ‘rudders’ of our lives. It’s our core beliefs that then develop around our values. Beliefs and values have a profound effect on our lives because they act as a filter. We use our values and beliefs to filter all of the information that we’re processing on a daily basis, and as a result, we take specific actions, which then influence the outcomes we go on to achieve in life.

For example, if you develop the belief that you’re too fat, then your mind begins to only see things that confirm that belief. Eating disorders are perfect examples of how beliefs influence the outcomes we go on to achieve in life.

The imprint period

From the day we’re born until the age of seven, we are like sponges, that absorb everything around us. Typically, we’ll accept much of what we absorb as true especially when it comes from our parents. Unfortunately, the confusion and blind belief associated with this period can lead to the early development of trauma and other neurological problems.

The crucial thing within this period is to gain an understanding of right and wrong, good and bad. We will usually use our feelings as a guide or monitor the responses from our parents to determine what is right and wrong.

During the imprint period, children are ‘all ears’ – they’re listening and taking in everything that’s going on around them. They pay attention to everything, in particular, the emotions coming from those around them. This is usually simply understood as ‘anger’ means ‘bad’ and ‘laughter’ means ‘good’. Children want to understand what their parents think in order to know what they themselves think and will often accept their parent’s beliefs without questioning. It’s crucial that we’re diligently paying attention during this window of opportunity in a child’s life because it passes quickly.

Children love stories, games, songs, etc. which are all creative tools that we can use to help teach them sound values and beliefs.

The most crucial period is from the age of two until four when most of the major imprinting occurs in a child’s life. At this stage, they take in information without any analysis. So, if a child is taught that they are ‘bad’ during this crucial stage of their life, they will be likely to take this literally and are unable to put it into context. As a result, they go on to believe that they are a bad person, as supposed to what was really meant- someone deemed their behaviour as ‘bad

 The modelling period

From the age of eight to thirteen, children model or copy other people. They usually model their parents, but they will also model other people who they look up to or admire. This phase is kind of like trying on different sets of clothes to see how they feel – as supposed to just blindly accepting everything.

We more than likely all have memories of people who have significantly influenced us – whether it’s primary teachers or friend’s parents who seemed so knowledgeable (perhaps even more so than our parents).

This is the stage when children start paying attention to their friends, family, and heroes – closely watching how they behave and around the age of ten, this is when they begin to emulate their heroes. The environment surrounding a person has an extremely powerful effect upon them. It’s often said that people become who they most admired at the age of ten.

The Socialisation Period

From the age of 13 to 21, young people are strongly influenced by their peers. During this phase, they often group together with like-minded others or others who look like them. As they develop as individuals and look for ways to break away from the model or mindset that they’ve experienced in early life, they naturally turn to other people who seem more like them. Other strong influences at this stage include the media, particularly those parts which seem to resonate with the values of our peer groups. At this stage, people develop relationship and social values. After the age of 21, our core values are less likely to change unless a significant emotional event occurs or the person experiences effective coaching.


Questions are a powerful tool as they force us to reflect and find answers. Deep questions force us to examine ourselves, and often they challenge our beliefs about what we ‘know’ to be true.

Deep questions can be used to help others develop insights, uncover mistaken beliefs, and adopt a new perspective about who they are and what it is they want in life.

Take time to work through the questions below to gain further insight into who you are, what you believe and what you want in life:


1) In what ways am I living outside of my integrity and compromising my personal values?

2) What have I left unfinished or unresolved that currently needs my attention?

3) What deep needs do I have that are not getting met?

4) What am I fighting against that I can choose to release?


Core Beliefs 1

5) What legacy am I leaving behind in the world after I’ve gone?

6) In what ways could I be more engaged in life?

7) In what ways am I behaving inauthentically?

8) Who (or what) am I tolerating that I do not want in my life?

9) How am I making choices based on ‘I should’ as supposed to ‘I desire’?

10) In what ways am I behaving as a ‘reactor’ rather than as an ‘initiator’?


Core Beliefs 2

11) How am I not accepting someone that I love for who they really are?

12) How do I diminish other people in order to make myself feel better?

13) Are there any areas in which I’m holding back forgiveness? Where?

14) In what ways am I manipulating someone to get my own needs met?

15) What consistent negative thought patterns do I have?

16) In what ways do I allow other people to cross my boundaries?


Core Beliefs 3

17) What weaknesses or vulnerabilities am I afraid to share with those I love?

18) How am I completely present with those that I love when I am with them?

19) In what areas do I have a ‘lack’ mentality?

20) In what areas am I making my own life more difficult or complicated than it needs to be?

21) Are my beliefs about life, religion, my spouse, my family, my children, the absolute truth?


Core Beliefs 4

27) How have I miscommunicated or created a misunderstanding?

28) How much of my time do I spend focusing on things of the past or worrying about the future?

29) What events am I focusing on in the past that are hindering my ability to live fully in the present?

30) In what ways do I consider ‘I’m not deserving or worthy’?

31) What relationships need my time, care and attention


Core Beliefs 5

32) In what areas am I waiting for someone else to take responsibility for me?

33) In what ways am I allowing fear of change to hold me back from moving forward in life?

34) In what areas am I spending too much time on things that are not my priorities?

35) In what areas do I need to learn or further develop my skills in order to get ahead in life?

36) What would those close to me say my strengths are?


Core Beliefs 6

37) What would those close to me say my weaknesses are?

38) In what ways am I not taking responsibility for the part I’m playing in a relationship problem?

39) How does my work reflect my interests, passions, skills?

40) Where am I prioritising money/material possessions over relationships and my values?

41) What am I allowing to distract me from living life to the full?


Core Beliefs 7

42) What is my vision for the next five years?

43) How am I helping other people to become better versions of themselves?

44) If I were to die tomorrow, what would I regret not having done?

45) In what ways am I living a life someone else has defined for me?

46) What is my intuition telling me that I might have been ignoring?


Core Beliefs 8

47) What really pushes my buttons that does not need to?

48) What drains my energy and in what ways can I change it?

49) In what ways am I being unwise or irresponsible financially?

50) In what areas am I so desperately longing for an outcome that it’s preventing me from enjoying the journey?



Mistaken beliefs stem from negative self-talk. They are deep rooted beliefs or assumptions that we hold about ourselves, other people and life in general.

Most often, such beliefs are incorrect and completely unhelpful. We usually learn these beliefs from our parents, peers, teachers, and the larger society that we grew up in. Most people tend to take these beliefs for granted and don’t even realise that they’re beliefs at all. We just assume that they are true!

Examples of mistaken beliefs…


‘Life is a constant struggle.’

‘I should always act nicely no matter how I’m feeling.’

‘I am nothing unless other people love and approve of me.’

‘I am not important. My feelings and needs are not important.’

‘I can’t cope with scary or difficult situations.’

Mistaken beliefs that you hold about yourself and ‘the way life is’ are the root cause of the anxiety you experience. Choosing to let go of such beliefs will help you to feel less worried, stressed and unhappy.

Mistaken beliefs hold us back from the things we want in life. For example:

‘I can’t afford to have what I want.’

‘I don’t have time.’

‘I don’t have the talent.’

At an even deeper level, ‘I don’t deserve to have the things I truly want.’ Believing this means that you won’t even try to get what you want, which is actually, the surest way to guarantee that you won’t!

Mistaken Beliefs 1

Mistaken beliefs set limits on your self-worth… Mistaken beliefs are usually based on the idea that self-worth depends on something outside of ourselves, for example, material possessions, social status, wealth, the love or approval of another person.

Believing that ‘my worth depends on the things I achieve’ or that ‘success is everything’ places your self-worth outside of you and prevents you from realising that you have many qualities and talents regardless of your outer achievements.

As your self-esteem develops, you will learn to respect and believe in yourself aside from the things you’ve achieved and without being dependent on anyone else to feel secure within yourself.

Discover your own mistaken beliefs

We have all developed our own set of mistaken beliefs through hearing direct messages from other people such as ‘nice girls don’t get angry’ or through our reactions to being criticised by other people (eg – ‘I am worthless’), ignored by others (eg – ‘my needs don’t matter’) or being rejected by others (eg – ‘I’m unlovable’).

Unfortunately, what tends to happen is in holding these beliefs, we act in ways (and as result others to treat us in a way) that confirms them (this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy). It’s crucial that we understand how our own set of mistaken beliefs came about before we can go about reprogramming ourselves with more functional and supportive beliefs.

Mistaken Beliefs 2

Examples of mistaken beliefs and counter-statements:

1) I am powerless. I am a victim of outside circumstances.

Counter Statement: I am responsible for myself, and I’m in control of my life. I can’t determine the circumstances, but I can determine my attitude toward them.

2) If I take a risk, I will fail. If I fail, other people will reject me.

Counter Statement: It’s alright for me to take risks and it doesn’t matter if I fail – I can learn from every mistake I make. It’s okay for me to be successful.

3) Life is a constant struggle. There must be something wrong if life seems easy, pleasurable or fun.

Counter Statement: Life is pleasurable and full. It’s alright for me to relax and enjoy myself. Life is an adventure in which I’m learning to accept both the ups and the downs.

4) I am not important. My feelings and needs are not important.

Counter Statement: I’m a unique and valuable individual. My needs and my feelings are just as important as anyone else.


Mistaken Beliefs 3

Five questions to ask yourself to challenge your mistaken beliefs

1) What is the evidence that supports this belief? If I look objectively at all of my life experiences, what is the evidence that this belief is true?

2) Is this belief always true for me?

3) Does this belief consider the whole picture? Does it take into consideration both the positive and negative ramifications?

4) Does this belief encourage my own peace of mind and well-being?

5) Did I choose this belief, or has it developed from the influence of my family/friends as I was growing up?

Remember that whatever value these mistaken beliefs may have offered you in the past, they no longer offer you and only serve to create stress and anxiety for you now.

Self-Reflection Exercise

Take 5-10 minutes to reflect and consider any mistaken beliefs that you may be holding on to. Work through the following questions and then consider what counter statements you could use to begin changing this belief today.

6) What counter statements can I begin using to start changing this mistaken belief today?




1) Name a problem or limitation that has held you back for a while?

2) What is it you would like to do/have, yet something is stopping you from

getting it/doing it?

3) What is it that is REALLY stopping you from getting what you want?

4) This is a problem because?

5) And this means? (Repeat as many times as necessary)

6) What must you believe that makes this problem even exists?

7) What is it you believe about YOURSELF that has made this a problem?

8) What do you believe about the WORLD that has made this a problem?

9) What is this problem an example of?

10)…and what is THIS an example of?

11) When did you decide that your problem was a problem (roughly)?

12) At what point in your life did you buy into this concept?

13) What decision did you make that caused this problem to be born?

14) What does this problem mean to you?

15) What will life be like when you don’t have this problem?