When I reviewed Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, I reflected on my own resistance to the idea that affirmations can actually affect your health. However, I also pointed out that the maladies I have suffered from do seem to be helped by her affirmation “prescriptions.” So I continue to read her books, admittedly with a dose of skepticism.
Then, a few weeks ago, I had a CT scan done of my neck which found an anomaly in my left pyriform sinus (behind my vocal cords) which could possibly be cancer. They did an additional MRI and put a scope down my throat, and I was hoping it was a false alarm, because they thought it might just be normal variation. However, my neck and throat have been hurting since, so I’m going to ask them to go ahead and do a biopsy.
It just so happened that when I got the news about the scan, I was in the middle of slowly reading Louise Hay’s latest book, written with a medical doctor. And I was on the chapter about problems in the mouth, neck, and throat.
Now that I’m again afraid there might be an actual problem, I thought it would be worth revisiting her words.
In addition to the current problems, the stroke I had 3 years ago happened because of a right vertebral artery dissection — an injury in my neck.
First, she says neck problems relate to communication, but I don’t really think I have a problem with that. Why, I’m a writer at heart. I love words.
Then I read this:
Problems of the neck are often found in people who — even if they have flawless communication skills on a regular basis — become inflexible and frustrated when they are unable to control the outcome of a situation….
Neck pain, arthritis, and stiffness often come to those people who have amazing communication skills — both listening and speaking. Trying to see both sides of almost any story, they often become ill when their ability to clearly communicate things doesn’t work as they expect it to. When an argument can’t be settled by talking or when something in their lives goes wrong and they can’t control it, they often become aggravated and stubborn, sticking to their opinion and refusing to consider other viewpoints. The frustration that leads to the breakdown in communication often creates illness in the neck.
And, well, when I read that, I immediately thought of my ex-husband.
Mind you, I’ve been working hard on letting him go. I’m no longer praying that he will come back to me. But I still pray that he will come back to God. I still so wish that his faith would be restored.
There’s more from Louise Hay:
People with neck problems, in general, tend to not be as good at the listening aspect of communication because they cling to set opinions and block out new ideas. They tend to be stubborn and inflexible and unable to see or understand other people’s points of view.
— I thought I was good at new ideas.
But then I realize that about faith? Not so much.
Now, I’ve come a long way. I’m not *nearly* as much a little Pharisee as I once was. But I just can’t believe that my ex-husband is doing the right thing rejecting God. And I also don’t believe he did the right thing rejecting me or having an affair. And Divorce is Wrong. And, yeah, I guess I’m still stubborn and inflexible.
More from Louise Hay:
Once your neck is healthier, some fundamental changes must occur to maintain equilibrium while moving forward. Learning to accept your emotional limitations in the middle of a discussion is one key to improving your neck problems. You do have an amazing skill for intuitively listening, understanding, and making logical arguments. However, you must accept where your intellectual power to reason and communicate ends. When you encounter conflicts that you can’t resolve, don’t push your opinion stubbornly, adding to the frustration of the situation. Instead remind yourself that there are multiple answers to every problem. Realize that your role is only one part of the solution. Finding balance between what you can control and what you can’t and knowing when it is time to walk away from conflict will lead to better health in the fifth emotional center….
We can create so many problems for ourselves by our attitudes. Stubbornness, inflexibility, and trying to fix other people against their will can all contribute to neck problems.
Trying to fix other people against their will. Um, yeah.
Then it hit me even harder when I was talking with my sister on the phone and started telling her about Louise Hay’s description of people with neck problems. She laughed (Laughed!) because the description was so apt.
I had imagined that I would tell her this and then explain, despite her incredulity, that I suspect this description might, a tiny bit, apply to me.
I am an INFJ, and I recently read a post about Myers-Briggs type New Year’s Resolutions where I related to the ENFJ resolution:
“I resolve to avoid meddling in the lives of my loved ones, even if they are making a mistake.”
Outcome: Allows their friends to fail at their new year’s resolutions, then sits each of them down to talk about what went wrong and how they can fix it.
I have to say that my sister did get me wrong in one aspect. She started talking about ways I could feel more compassion for my ex-husband. That is not the problem. If I didn’t still love him deeply, it wouldn’t bother me that he’s so wrong!
I suspect that meddling in other people’s lives is an INFJ and ENFJ failing. Because first we see the world in black and white. Then we are able to intuit what other people need. Therefore, we know what is best for everyone around us! Yay!
This is actually something of a superpower in my job as a librarian, because I am very good at knowing what books other people really “should” read. However, I am able to let it go once I make the recommendation, and I don’t mind if they don’t follow it — because I know myself how long it takes me to get around to reading recommended books.
But with life choices? With someone I love deeply? There it’s so much harder for me to accept their choices that seem completely wrong to me.
I’m actually not crazy about the affirmations Louise Hay proposes to help change your thinking. She suggests, “I welcome new ideas and new concepts and prepare them for digestion and assimilation.” Or, “It is with flexibility and ease that I see all sides of an issue. There are endless ways of doing things and seeing things.”
This isn’t consistent with what she pointed out above that such people do try to “see both sides of any story” — but have a hard time when we can’t convince others with what we’ve learned.
Also, I’m not particularly sure I want to accept new ideas that suggest it’s ever acceptable to cheat on your spouse. Or that it’s ever a good idea to reject God. (Accepting the new idea that Divorce Can Be Good is something I still struggle with. And since I was the one who filed for divorce the final time, I do want to get there.)
However, I do believe that God can bring good out of absolutely anything and that some people will have to go through hell before they truly understand God’s great love. Some people learn much more effectively when they do it the hard way. And that’s Okay.
And I definitely want to be the sort of person who lets those I love make their own choices, even when I think they are bad choices.
I wrote my own affirmations, and I hope I can learn to think this way:
“I put my loved ones into God’s hands.”
“I love and respect my friends and family enough to let them choose their own paths and make their own mistakes.”
And the truth is, it’s hard to go through life knowing what’s best for everyone else! As I tried to explain to my sister, it’s no problem with people I don’t care about. If I hated my ex-husband, what he does wouldn’t bother me. Even with my sons, it doesn’t bring me as much agony to let them make their own mistakes, because I can see that they’re learning and growing.
With friends? I do have a natural inclination to meddle. With people I love? I so want them to have a good life! Let them use my insight! I know what they should do!
Well, maybe not.
I wonder if it will help my neck problems if I can learn to love and respect my friends enough to put them in God’s hands, to acknowledge that He actually knows better than me, and to let my friends choose their own paths and make their own mistakes.
It certainly can’t hurt.