Core Belief Engineering
By Lisa Sidorowicz, B.A., M.A., B.Ed., Certified Practitioner and Instructor
The ability to analyze clearly and effectively is a necessary and useful task of our intellectual mind. Core Belief Engineering (CBE), a highly effective results-based belief change technology, views the subconscious not as a singular entity but as a compartmentalization of multiple parts or subpersonalities, each with its own beliefs, values, feelings, and views of reality. One major intellectual part that everyone has is the "analyzer part." If the analyzer part is healthy and aligned with one's conscious mind, it can function as a powerful adjunct to the intellect, analyzing and assisting in learning and perception, when needed. If, however, the analyzer part is functioning excessively or compulsively, it can seriously undermine the intellect, resulting in over-analysis and indecision, rigid mind sets, perceptual distortions and limitations in comprehension and learning.
People who "analyze everything to death" are usually replicating an outdated, subconscious mental coping strategy created during childhood. Their minds are on over-drive, constantly replaying scenarios, strategizing, mind-reading, predicting, comparing, second-guessing, and cross-referencing in order to figure things out, avoid failure, achieve goals, etc. This frenetic mental activity can even occur during sleep. Most over-analyzers have adopted the coping perspective of "I must be right" or "I can't fail" in childhood, as a way to live up to parental expectations and gain approval. As a result, over-active analyzer parts often find the decision-making process excruciatingly difficult or impossible. When faced with making a decision, they begin a process of gathering and analyzing as much information as possible. Because each new additional piece of data alters the whole context of what is being considered, the analyzer part does not know when to stop analyzing. More and more information is gathered in order to consider every angle and nuance of the situation. Hence, a never-ending analysis loop is created which can block the ability to arrive at a solution or make a decision.
"Living in one's head" is a common result of excessive analysis. Many people over-analyze as a subconscious avoidance strategy. They keep themselves so busy and preoccupied analyzing that they avoid experiencing the emotions they learned in childhood are unacceptable or dangerous, such as anger or weakness. In some cases, analysis is used subconsciously to deny or keep at a distance other parts of the mind that may be storing intense, repressed emotional pain. Disconnected from their emotions, these people may feel dead from the neck down, cut off from their body, and blocked from recognizing intuitions and other current conscious perceptions. If left unchecked, such distraction- and avoidance-based analyzing can eventually lead to emotional and physical symptoms (the most common being depression) and dysfunctional relationships with the self and others.
Rigid, black and white thinking is another outcome of a compulsively analytical mind. People whose analyzer parts have adopted the perspective of "I must be right" as their coping strategy may believe that they know what is best or right and others do not. They might also believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to do things, and that making a mistake or asking for help means they will be perceived as stupid. Consequently, they may avoid trying new activities for fear of not mastering them immediately. This rigid mind set will only seek information similar to its own logic, criteria, and beliefs: any information that does not fit into specific preconceived ideas and premises will be distorted, rejected, or invalidated. It is common for rigidly analytical people to miss seeing a nuance in a situation, to judge too quickly, or to leap to a conclusion based on previous perceptions, mind sets, and decisions. When presented with new information, such people may feel afraid, indifferent, irritated, or just unable to understand. Indeed, such inflexible thinking severely limits learning and the ability to communicate effectively.
One of the most interesting but rarely discussed facets of excessive analysis is the inability to handle ambiguity. When the mind is structured around black and white sorting categories, such as good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable, logical or illogical, information that falls outside of these dichotomies can create confusion and anxiety. When ambiguities are encountered, they are usually labeled "illogical" because no other category exists in which to place them. This black and white structuring severely limits growth and learning, and can restrict one's ability to explore the rich paradoxes of life.
The goal of Core Belief Engineering is to return an excessive or compulsive analyzer part to healthy, balanced functioning. When the analyzer part is performing optimally, it is a powerful partner to the conscious mind: it aids in decision-making, performs clear analysis when required, and knows when to stop analyzing. It also includes intuition and emotion in its evaluations, along with rational and logical thinking. As a result, the entire mind and all parts are more able to embrace the unknown, learn new ideas, and develop beyond any previous limitations. Self-awareness and personal efficacy are strengthened, and self-trust and confidence are expanded. True, lasting change is possible.