"Huh"? you say. I live in the United States - of course I'm in control of my life....."aren't I"?
Have you ever wondered "Why the heck did I do (or say) that? I would never say that (or do that). What was I thinking?" Or, perhaps, you react to something without even thinking about it. And then wonder where that came from. Here's something to do for fun (and profit actually). Spend a day or two and write down your reactions and thoughts about things as the day goes on. I'll give you an example. We were having an email dialogue with the people at our headquarters the other day. My "roommate" (office mate) sent a great email. Well, the last email that came from the boss said "Let's do it and end the debate". My roommate interpreted that as the boss being mad at his last email. When I read it (and another colleague thought the same thing) I immediately thought the boss was telling someone else to just "let it go". See how my roommate responded (reacted) to what he read and felt he had done something wrong. That's just a tiny example but I imagine if you look at your day AND take the time to write your observations and thoughts down, you'll see very similar patterns in yourself. They could be bigger than this or even smaller.
What's happening is that you have all these beliefs embedded in you from your prior experience - your growing up and even now. If we are not paying attention to what's going into our conscious and subconscious, then things slip in without anyone acting as the gatekeeper. Then we perpetuate it and continue onward thinking and reacting in the same way over and over again - it becomes a habit and then a way of life.
You don't want your autopilot (other people's thoughts and ideas) running your life. Yet, that is what is happening when we're not attentive to what's going on with this autopilot. Are your beliefs really yours? Are your reactions yours?
Paying attention and writing your observations down will help you recognize thoughts and actions you don't want to embrace. Once you notice them, you'll have begun to identify beliefs that are not your own and beliefs you don't wish to continue to claim as yours. That is the very first step and is the hardest and most important one.
After this identification, you'll want to list the beliefs you WANT to choose to replace these.
This part will not happen overnight. Most of those beliefs are long standing - they've been ingrained in you since childhood and put there by your parents. So you combine the authority figure feature with the amount of time you've had that as a part of your subconscious, you'll simply set yourself up for failure if you expect to change it in one attempt.
Start by claiming "That is not my truth" every time you start to think something that is uncomfortable for you (a clue that it might not really be your belief) or that you're uncertain about (another clue). An example is the way that everyone falls into the trap of thinking "flu season is just around the corner" because the TV and radio ads are out there in abundance selling cold and flu products. So we mindlessly accept that there's a high probability that we'll get sick in the next month. And when we do, we just accept it as the expected outcome of life. If you start by saying "that is not my truth. I do NOT get sick in the winter time and I do not believe in a flu season", you'll start to remove that belief from your subconscious. You also should add "I am healthy all year round" to replace the one belief with one you want to embrace.
There are more techniques but this is the primary way to start.