Core Beliefs

Exercise: What do you believe?

Core beliefs are such an important part of us that we’re not always aware of them. Try making a list of your core beliefs.

Where do you think your beliefs come from?

Four circles overlapped on an aqua background with the four influences on core beliefs.
Image Description: Four blue circles overlapped on an aqua background. Each circle describes one of the ways we form core beliefs (our experiences, family, community, and society). Other image text reads, “Our core beliefs may push us to do or say things that are prejudiced.”

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Core beliefs come from lived experiences, our families, our communities, and from society. We are not always aware of our core beliefs.

Lived Experience

The things that happen in our lives form our lived experiences. When lived experiences are repeated, we may add them to our core beliefs.

Example: If I get a flat tire every time I drive down a certain street, I may form a core belief that the people who live on that street don’t take good care of their neighborhood.


Our families are the second most powerful place where we learn core beliefs (after our lived experiences). Families teach us traditions, expectations, and social rules.

Example: My father never let us waste anything. As an adult, I believe it is important to try and repair broken items or reuse them in some way.


The communities where we live can change the core or reinforce beliefs we learn from our families and our experiences. Communities include people who are not part of our families – usually our friends, acquaintances, community leaders and helpers, and others who we meet.

Example: My community celebrates people who donate to the local food bank. Many people in my community share the core belief that donating food is important.


Society includes our families, our communities, and also people who we have never met. One of the most important ways society changes core beliefs is through media (TV, movies, TikTok, and so on).

Example: If I see that nurses on TV are always played by women, I may develop a core belief that nurses should be female.

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