The Book: You Can Heal Your Life. Louise Hay. Hay House Publishing, 1984.
As lives go, mine’s not as terribly broken as some. Certainly, there are things to work on, and some brokenness to heal, but I was never physically abused, haven’t been through war or famine, and there’s always been a roof over my head. I’m pretty privileged, besides, given that I’m a white cisgender guy.
However, there are clearly some areas that could be better, or this blog wouldn’t even exist. Happy, well-adjusted people probably don’t need to read self-help books, or (and I suspect this might be the case for a lot of them) they’ve already read them.
You Can Heal Your Life has been sitting in my bookcase for years, gathering dust bunnies and waiting for me to read it. I originally bought it the first time I went through a self-help phase. That phase, by the way, consisted of buying several books and putting them on the bookshelf, where they have since languished, but hey, it was a start!
This was definitely a case of judging a book by it’s cover. A big red heart in kind of a watercolor style with the very simple statement that you can heal your life as the title, this was totally appealing, on one hand.
On the other hand, when I first saw it, I *might* have snorted a little and said, “Yeah. Right.” My original skepticism makes it the perfect next book for these Adventures. Will this really help? (My secret believe is that yes, yes indeed it will…that skepticism? It’s a façade. After all, I bought the book anyway.)
Louise starts by laying out her beliefs about how and why we live the way we live, do the things we do, hold ourselves back the way we do. If you’re not into things like the Universe (but you know I totally am), or if you don’t believe that your thoughts affect literally everything around you, then this book might be just a little too heavy on the woo-woo factor for you. But I decided I’d give it a go anyway.
Here are Louise’s beliefs that I find the most intriguing:
- “The universe totally supports us in every thought we choose to think and believe”(2).
- “Most of us have foolish ideas about who we are and many, many rigid rules about how life ought to be lived” (2).
- “When we are very little, we learn how to feel about ourselves and about life by the reactions of the adults around us” (3).
- “The Point of Power is always in the present moment” (4).
- “Believe it or not, we do choose our thoughts” (5).
The whole point of the book is that self-love is the one thing that can lead us to happiness and prosperity: “Self approval and self acceptance in the now are the main keys to positive changes in every area of our lives” (9).
I needed to stop there for a minute. Not because I didn’t believe it, or needed time to let it set in, or wanted another cup of coffee. The question is, HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT? I was thinking that to myself the entire time I was reading You are a Badass, too. I should have kept going, though, because the very next paragraph starts by telling us “Loving the self […] begins with never ever criticizing ourselves for anything” (9). I don’t think Louise means the sort of “what-can-I-learn-from-this-situation” kind of constructive criticism we give ourselves sometimes, but more the “I’m such a f**king moron, I’ll never be good enough” type.
That’s what this book is about. How to love yourself, and heal your life by loving yourself.
This is gonna be and adventure, kids, because to be quite honest, I’m pretty lacking in the self-love department.
We’ll get into the meat of the book next time, when we start a “Session with Louise” and do some exercises!
Next Time: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.