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Del Morrill, M.S. C.C.H


A Center for Counseling & Hypnosis
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Beliefs, Reality and Change

Michael C. Pollack, Ph.D, CCHT

    Ever wonder how you came to believe some of the things you believe about yourself, especially the negative ones'? After all, you seem to get a certain amount of feedback from your world that is not consistent with those beliefs. Can all those people really be so wrong'? Are you really that good at "giving facade'?" Perhaps, logically you know that those beliefs are not true, yet there seems to be some part of you that keeps them active, keeps them contaminating so many aspects of your life. It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.  

     When children are born, the part of the brain that is responsible for logic and reasoning, the prefrontal lobe, doesn't exist. It has not yet developed. It doesn't grow in, become wired up and functional until about age six or seven in most children. That's why that age period is known as the Age of Reason. I have often observed apparently frustrated parents demanding that their 3, 4 or 5 year old children act like adults and be logical.  

     Until the prefrontal lobe is functional, most children are not really capable of deep, intuitive reasoning ability. Sure, they can figure out that if they touch a hot stove they will get burned and can determine that the round block goes in the round hole. However, generally speaking, they can't reasonably and logically evaluate most of the experiences they have in their young lives.  Children are very magical, egocentric and non-logical. They tend to take everything on themselves; they generally feel at cause for what goes on around them and to them. "It's my fault!" "It's always about me!"  For example, when I was as young as two years old and my father would come home from work every day with a scowl on his face and would soon start his ranting and raving and hitting, I did not have the capability of thinking, "Well; I guess Daddy had a bad day at work. This isn't really about me."  Instead, I interpreted all this as my being bad. "Oh, oh! I must have done something really bad to make Daddy so angry. I must be bad."

     Then I started accepting as true the many negative statements he would direct at me: I'm stupid; I can't do anything right; I'm worthless; I'm no good; it hurts to be here; etc. I made these and many other decisions about myself and my world. "He must be right. He's big. He knows everything."  

     Children tend to deify the adult care givers around them; make them into gods, just as we later tend to make our gods into parent figures to take care of us.  The decisions that we make as children quickly become our belief systems. They stay with us for our entire life, unless we are willing to take the risk of changing our beliefs. Of course, none of this is done at a conscious level of the mind. It takes place on the deep level of the subconscious mind. That is why so many of our beliefs defy logic!  We  developed them at a time when we could not look at them reasonably. Had the same events I just described happened when I was 7 or 8, I would have been able to reason them out enough so as to not take it all on myself.

     At about age 2 or 3, some part of me began to notice that  when I did certain things and showed certain emotions, the beatings got much worse; that they seemed to trigger my father even more.  If I yelled, threw a tantrum, cried, said "No" (which all 2 year olds do a lot), or otherwise "disturbed" him, I got yelled at and hit. So, my subconscious decided I had to do something about this. It noticed that most other adults were very quiet around Dad, walked on egg shells, so to speak.  So, apart of me created this big bottle and put most of my emotions into it and corked it tightly. There my emotions stayed for the next 37 years.

     It worked! The abuse lessened, at least a little.  That led me to make another decision, another belief: "I am safer if I don't show my feelings." That decision may have kept me alive! It was an appropriate decision at the time. The problem was that as I grew, stuffing my feelings and acting out as I did, didn't work in my world, at least away from home. However, the part of me in charge of the emotions bottle had no idea that this strategy wasn't working any more.  

    Much of our generalizations about our experiences, ourselves and our world represent important coping strategies that were learned out of necessity and were usually reinforced through subsequent experience. And, they are understandably guarded by some part of us as tried and true friends. They are the ego defenses with which we survived. 

    Clearly, none of this is accomplished on the level of the conscious mind. It is done at the level of the deep inner mind, the subconscious mind. The problem, when there is one, is that we forget that we made these decisions, developed these beliefs. So, when the behaviors are no longer effective in carrying out the positive intention behind them, we have no idea what we are doing or that we have any control over them. "That's just the way I am."  

    A compounding part of the dilemma is that our beliefs determine the reality in which we live out our lives. It is pretty much impossible for any of us to live in a reality that is not consistent with our belief systems. So, given the negative self-image, negative self-esteem and self-worth that I carried with me growing up and into adulthood, I could not accept the positive  feedback-the compliments, the love, etc., .that people offered me. It was as if there was a part of me saying, "Sure, but if they knew the 'real' me, they wouldn't say that." So, my reality was focused on finding those things in my environment that supported the negative beliefs that I was not OK. That was my reality, just as all of us create our reality based on our beliefs.

     That is also why no two people have the same reality; because no two people, even identical twins, have exactly the same experiences. Each of us interprets our world from the perspective of our own reality; our own set of filters. You can probably imagine the difficulties this causes in terms of human interactions and conflicts. 

    This is what change work is all about; finding the root cause of the decisions we made that became our beliefs, and going back, hypnotically to earlier in this lifetime or, in some cases, to past lifetimes, and 're-deciding'; doing the necessary healing work. 

     Imagine what the impact would have been if, when you were a young child having the experiences from which you made the negative decisions about yourself and your world, which became your beliefs, you had had a big brother, sister, or some adult who told you the truth about what was really happening. Imagine how your decisions might have been very different if you had been told the truth and did not take it all on as being about you. I am certain that if there had been someone like that in my life, I would never have decided that my father's rages meant that I was a bad person, and that would have completely changed my life.

    That is exactly what happened when I re-decided and changed many of my old beliefs about myself and my world. Now, imagine what it will be like when you do this change work for yourself and bring forward into your current life all the new decisions and beliefs, spreading them over all the experiences you ever have had, allowing each of them to re- decide about themselves, and how that could completely shift your perceptions of yourself and change your world! 

 This article originally appeared in Open Exchange magazine, July, August & September, 2003

  --Dr.Pollack can be reached at http://www.wel.net/michaelpollack or through his e-mail nlpman1@aol.com

Michael C. Pollack, Ph.D, CCHT
Currently practicing hypnosis professionally in San Francisco, CA with the specialties of Alchemical hypnotherapy, past life regression and other regression therapy, clinical hypnotherapy, Inner Child healing, Somatic Healing, energy healing, chakra clearing and Reiki.





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