Finding Negative Core Images: Worksheet
SELF-ASSESSMENT OF NEGATIVE ELEMENTS
1. Reflect over your life and list any significant problems, negative experiences, or early family experience that have adversely affected you. These would include areas of unfulfillment or frustration as well as specific losses, disappointments, traumas, conflicts, suffering, rejection, discrimination and deprivation, etc. Note patterns and repetitive situations.
2. Reflect within yourself and list those things that you are critical about or judge against in yourself, your shortcomings, prejudices, etc. Look at your feelings and note any deep feelings of a negative sort: loneliness, sadness, fears, hang-ups, hatreds, shame, conflicts etc.. List any addictions or behavior you can't control.
3. Ask family, friends or co-workers who know you well what they don't like about you or what they think are your faults. From work, school or other activities, have you ever had negative assessments or failures?
FINDING NEGATIVE CORE IMAGES
1. For each negative element you have listed, reflect on how it has influenced your life and what conclusions you have come to about yourself as a result.
2. Find the common denominators or links between different negative elements that are related and group these around key negative themes. See if you can formulate the underlying negative images. Besides being a false conclusion, negative images often have a sense of shame and fear attached to them.
3. With each negative image, ask yourself:
Why did I create this?
What were the circumstances when it happened originally?
What was I trying to protect myself from? Or how did this belief try to serve some good purpose?
How is this belief not working for me now?
How might my life be different without this negative assumption?
4. With each negative image, see if you can find how it functions in a self justifying and self-perpetuating manner. For example, a negative image of one's self worth might lead to an endeavor to be perfect or powerful to counteract this in order to get love or acknowledgment. These strategies have a way of sabotaging themselves so that being perfect becomes untenable and being powerful attracts the attacks which in turn seem to justify the original assumptions of vulnerability or deficiency.
5. In trying to clarify your negative images, don't blame yourself. As you begin to bring some of these core images to awareness, just sit with them and feel them although it may cause discomfort, making connections between the image and outer actions and events in your life.