At Peace Partnership, we are obsessed with excellence. One of the benefits of this obsession with excellence is the many in-depth conversations I get to have with our counselors about psychology and human behavior. These conversations challenge me to be introspective, which I enjoy.
A few weeks back I was talking to Jon Thompson at the office when out of the blue he issued me a challenge. We weren’t discussing anything that pertained to counseling when he said, “Jeff, I want to challenge you to discover your core belief.” I don’t really know what his motive was, and I didn’t know what a “core belief” was, but I do like learning about myself so I was up for the challenge.
I asked Cary Corley, one of our counselors, “What is a core belief?” He recommended a book by psychologist Mark R. McMinn on Cognitive Therapy. McMinn describes core beliefs as fundamental concepts residing beneath consciousness that shape our perceptions of reality. Because they’re subconscious we need someone else to help us figure them out.
Our core beliefs can work against us at times. They can motivate us to believe falsehoods that affect our thoughts, emotions, and actions. The purpose of a core belief is to be lovable – to love and feel loved.
Core beliefs can be organized into three categories: compulsive, also called the perfectionist; compliant, also called the people pleaser; and the controller.
The perfectionists believe they are being loved when they perform. In this belief system perfection is the only acceptable standard. The people pleasers feel they are being loved when people accept them. They fear people getting to know them and feel responsible for the feelings of others. The controllers believe they must be strong and in control in order to be loved. They feel personally responsible if anything goes wrong. They also feel that if others don’t do as they wish they don’t really love them.
One reason core beliefs can be difficult to manage is the length a person will go in order to continue believing a lie. People tend to reinterpret evidence, reality, and their own experiences rather than change a core belief. When Jon asked me to discover my core belief he was really asking me to discover where I was lying to myself in order to feel loved. He then asked me some thought provoking questions. It didn’t take long to recognize that I definitely wasn’t a people pleaser or a perfectionist, but I didn’t really see that I was a controller either.
It was Cary who helped me to see my self-deception. He asked me to consider a different approach. He asked me, “What is the advantage you are gaining by having to be in control?”
The answer came to me immediately: my advantage was security. It was a type of self-love. I felt loved when I was in control because I felt safe and secure. The advantage I perceived was security, albeit a false security.
But my journey wasn’t complete. A controller tends to try and control other people as well as himself. I knew I had a tendency to persuade, sell, and manipulate. That self-awareness wasn’t a stretch.
What I couldn’t see was that I was also an enabler. If I thought people might fail, or a situation might go bad, I would intervene. I would “fix things” for people rather than allow them the freedom to fail. I would make other people’s problems my problems. Although I might temporarily solve problems and keep people from experiencing negative consequences, in the long term I was actually hindering their growth. The consequences would eventually come anyway.
The lie I would tell myself is, “I am just doing this to protect them and help them.” My control core belief told me if anything goes wrong that was within my control it was my fault. I believed by controlling people I was keeping people I loved from experiencing bad situations.
Just knowing your core belief makes it manageable. The anxiousness I feel to “rescue” and “fix” is now a trigger to remind me that my control core belief is starting to awaken. But now I know something different. I don’t have to be in control to be secure, and I don’t have to enable to be loved, and it isn’t my responsibility to fix everything. So, what lies are you telling yourself?
When one of our board members, Craig Rookstool, aka Moose Man, received a call from MLB for an interview, to say we were excited is an understatement. Throughout this Royals season, Craig has had several opportunities to use the moose antlers to bring awareness to Peace Partnership and our work in the community. Doors are beginning to open for a future relationship with Royals Charities.
MooseYard has also been a platform the Rookstools use to host friends of Peace Partnership, both individuals and businesses, and give them an unbelievable Kansas City Royals experience. We’d like to congratulate Craig on his MLB interview and give a huge shout out to him and his wife Lorie who have sacrificially given in so many ways to the work at Peace Partnership. We love you guys!
We’ve had a really great summer here in Kansas City! The weather has spoiled us, the rain has kept the grass green, and the Royals are playing well. In addition to these things, we feel it necessary to mention a couple exciting things happening for Peace Partnership. So here are this month’s “Thank You Notes”:
- Thank you to Michael D Blau Insurance Agency for your financial support. We are honored by your gift.
- Thank you to the Pete and Mona Zanoni Charitable Foundation and the Posladek Family Foundation Fund for your generosity. It is exciting to begin this partnership with you!
We greatly appreciate the financial support of our partners. Thank you for believing in what we do. If you would like to find out how to become a partner, please click on the link below or contact our Director of Development, Jeff Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org.