When I originally began writing about core beliefs, my intent was to try and uncover some beliefs we may hold that are not beneficial to our sobriety and then break them down based on our rational and irrational thoughts about that belief. Often, when a core belief negatively affects us, we are likely thinking irrationally due to the history and background we have had with the core belief. Why would we choose to think irrationally about something, especially if it is about something as important as our health and eventual sobriety? Once a core belief is set in our minds, I do not believe we are consciously choosing to believe that belief any longer. It has become a part of the way we think and somewhat involuntary. That is why it takes some work to try and change a core belief.
I have been talking a lot lately about specific and narrow-focused core beliefs, but today I wanted to talk about how a belief on a larger scale can affect how we approach sobriety as well. When a core belief is broad, then we have a much larger pool of evidence to draw from in order to support that core belief. It may seem that a broader core belief is more difficult to change, but in reality, it is very similar to the more narrow core beliefs and on some level, they may even be easier to change, if we allow them.
The world is a bad place
This is about as broad a core belief as you could come up with and it is a core belief I have heard a lot of lately; and rightfully so. Remember, we are talking about core beliefs and how they relate to our sobriety. If a trigger for us is our belief that the world is bad, then we are in trouble. There is evidence all around us every day to support that core belief. If we choose to focus on COVID-19, the myriad of injustices happening, war, famine, death, conspiracy, or any number of negative events occurring at any given time; we are certain to believe that the world we live in is a bad place. If we drink because of this belief, then all we have to do is turn on the news and grab a bottle. It's the easiest way to justify drinking; if you believe the world is a bad place.
Another thing we have to remember, as addicts, is that we naturally tend to lean toward the easier path. The interesting thing about negativity is that it seems to be the easier option, from an emotional standpoint, than positivity. For whatever reason, one of the easiest things for us to do as human beings is to find and point out the negatives. I have to believe this is an inherent trait passed down from our ancient ancestors who lived in a truly scary world where food and safety was never something they could take for granted. If we lived in a world of life and death every day, it makes sense that our focus would be on whatever could harm or kill us. We would be focused on any potential for harm, or any negative situations. Fortunately, while we do live in a world with many issues and problems, the majority of us do not have to wake up every morning in a state of unrest over our immediate personal and familial survival.
The world is a good place
As core beliefs go, this is one of the easiest ones to simply flip and say the opposite. The broadness of the original negative core belief made it easy to find evidential proof to support. Conversely, and fortunately, the broadness of the reciprocal core belief makes it even easier to find evidential proof to support it as well.
Let's talk about the media for a moment. Why does the news focus mostly on the negative events happening in the world every day? I believe it goes back to our ancestral need to constantly be on the lookout for harm. We crave evidence to support our inherent concerns so we can feel justified in feeling our fears. With the advent of the internet, the media has a 24/7 line to our fear-driven psyche; and they use it.
What if the media instead used that open line to our psyches to fill us with stories of love, joy, empathy, help, success, and happiness? Are there just as many positive stories as negative stories? Of course, there are but we live in a world that leans toward the negative. Now, is it part of our role as societal members to be aware of and even engaged with the negative events happening around us. Yes, but we can learn to balance our energy between the two so we are not overwhelmed by one or the other? If nothing else, balancing the positive and negatives affords us the opportunity to at the very least live in a state of homeostasis.
It is unlikely the media will change its negative focus any time soon. If we want to balance our emotional state, it is up to us to begin seeking out and finding evidence to support the new core belief that the world is a good place. Is it really that hard to find evidence? Absolutely not, but it does require a little more effort because it is not thrust down our throats every day. The media actually does offer some positive evidence to help us out, but it is generally found in the back pages of the newspaper in small print with no photographs. Or, it is said as a transitional passing statement before continuing on to the next negative headline.
Nevertheless, there are many other ways to ingest positive experiences happening around us too. Look at the beauty that envelops us. It doesn't matter if you live on the beach, in the valley, on a mountain, or in the city. Landscapes and cityscapes offer some of the most beautiful sceneries in the world. Watch a sunset or sunrise. Take in nature. Look at the non-profit organizations that strive to support their causes. Look at the schools filled with teachers and people working as hard as they can to offer education to our youth. Look at the businesses that aim to make life easier for people living with disabilities or hardships. Look at your neighbors who work to make their living space beautiful out of pride for their community. Look at the shelters that provide food and shelter for people who are homeless. Look at yourself and see the good things you do and try to do every single day of your life to support a good and healthy physical and spiritual footprint.
Look around you, the world is full of love, joy, happiness, and hope. It is just as powerful as the negatives; if we choose to focus on them. Put down the drink and instead begin consuming the good of the world.