I am probably the only author who has used a quote from "Chicken Run", a very funny movie that's set in a chicken farm that oddly resembles a World War II concentration camp.

Many of us spend our lives, or at least parts of them, in self-imposed prisons. If this is our own doing, why do we not simply decide to release ourselves? Why not indeed? Unfortunately, many of us believe that we just have to play the hand we've been dealt. Is biography necessarily destiny?

In most cases, we didn't create the problem, yet we often perpetuate it. How and why? The prison bars are merely some of the patterns in our subconscious. These patterns, known as core beliefs, drive most of our behaviors, attitudes, and emotions. Some of them perform to our advantage, and some actually work against us. When we self-sabotage, we become aware of this imprisonment. Any time we notice negative self-talk or doubt our abilities, we are bumping into those prison bars.

Where and when do these core beliefs originate? Stay with me here. This is so basic that you might just miss the significance. Until children reach the age of about seven or eight, their brain waves are so slow that, in a sense, they are hypnotized. A defensive shield to ward off misguided influences is not yet in place. This protection, known as the Critical Factor, is built along with the conscious mind, and is fully-functional around the age of seven.

What about before that age? What are the implications of having no defense? This early part of a child's life is known as the Imprint Phase of personality development. This is when the patterns are manufactured. Whatever a child hears, sees, or experiences is considered 100% valid and true. It has to be, because the sources are often giants - namely adults.

Patterns that operate against our best interests go hand-in-hand with a brittle self-esteem. The environments that spawn this condition are often influenced by parents or caretakers who are perfectionist, or who manipulate through conditional love. They are the unwitting caretakers who say things like, "Why can't you be more like your cousin Jane? She's always getting good marks." Or perhaps, "Your room is so messy. You're never going to amount to anything." These kinds of utterances inflict incredibly subtle mental and emotional damage. In essence, the child's subconscious mind is being told that it's flawed; that the child will never succeed and has no right to be taken seriously. This is the way fragile self-esteem and limiting beliefs are established.

OK, so how do we transform these patterns? Although there are many ways, I recommend hypnotherapy. Since the patterns are in the subconscious, you must address them at that level. A nationally-certified hypnotherapist can get the belief identified, and initiate a plan for its removal and replacement. The first step though, is to realize that you might have these unsupportive patterns that I've described here, and to then choose to do something about them. Your decision will empower you.

And the movie? Ginger, one of the main characters, says, "The fences aren't just around the farm, they're up here in your heads." Truly, fate is a joke. You can take control of your destiny, despite your biography.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Brian Walsh is a clinical hypnotherapist and a specialist in accelerated learning. He helps people in their quest for personal empowerment by promoting brain-friendly strategies using his workshops, videos, teleclasses, books, and his self-hypnosis audio CDs.

He is the author of the bestseller Unleashing Your Brilliance and a contributing author to 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. His website is www.WalshSeminars.com