Review posted May 30, 2009.
Hay House, Carlsbad, California, 1991. 239 pages.
Recently I've discovered Louise Hay's books, and I'm finding them uplifting and tremendously encouraging. I have to admit that I'm not sure I'm convinced that it's really so simple. I'm not sure you can really heal your body's illnesses, aches and pains with affirmations and changing your thoughts.
However, it certainly doesn't do any harm! And I do think that paying attention to my beliefs and speaking life-affirming, loving statements to myself has actually helped me be healthier. It certainly puts me in a better mood, and that's worth so much all by itself.
Here's what Louise says in the introduction:
I am not a healer. I do not heal anyone. I think of myself as a stepping stone on a pathway of self-discovery. I create a space where people can learn how incredibly wonderful they are by teaching them to love themselves. That's all I do. I'm a person who supports people. I help people take charge of their lives. I help them discover their own power and inner wisdom and strengths. I help them get the blocks and the barriers out of the way, so they can love themselves no matter what circumstances they happen to be going through. This doesn't mean that we will never have problems, but it is how we react to the problem that makes a tremendous difference.
After years of individual counseling with clients and conducting hundreds of workshops and intensive training programs across the country and around the world, I found that there is only one thing that heals every problem, and that is: to love yourself. When people start to love themselves more each day, it's amazing how their lives get better. They feel better. They get the jobs they want. They have the money they need. Their relationships either improve, or the negative ones dissolve and new ones begin. It's a very simple premise -- loving yourself. I've been criticized for being too simplistic, and I have found that the simple things are usually the most profound.
Now, as a Christian, I was taught to be leery of anything that sounds so New Age as this. However, Louise's message is about changing to positive self-talk. And almost all of her affirmations fit with what I believe about God. (She may call Him "the Universe," but I do believe that He is watching over me and loves me.) If you don't like using her affirmations, you can actually substitute similar Scripture verses or Christian songs -- The idea is to work on your underlying beliefs, believing that good things are going to happen and that I am loved and valuable.
Again, maybe it seems simplistic, but even if it doesn't improve your health as she claims, filling your mind with positive truths about the world certainly will improve your outlook.