This is my 3rd post for my monthly series #SelfHelpBookReview. I cannot believe it is March already. I am so glad I started this series because it is giving me the motivation to read again and to actually finish reading the books which I struggled with last year.
So for this month’s review, I have picked a controversial book: “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay.
So let me tell you the story about how I acquired this book. 3 years ago before my urostomy surgery, I was in a dark place with the pain and this affected all areas of my life. My ex at the time gave me this book and as soon as I read the blurb I felt angry and insulted so I put this book at the back of my bookcase and vowed I would never read it. However, roll on 3 years and now I felt I was ready to delve into this book. I am a big fan of affirmations and I knew this book covered this in spades so I grabbed a cup of tea and started reading.
My review is a mixed one, although there were brilliant ideas and the affirmations were fantastic I felt very uncomfortable with the claim that “All diseases including cancer are caused by negative thinking and can be cured by positive thinking and self-love” I will delve a bit more into this later on.
Louise Hay offers practical steps for dissolving both the fears and the causations of diseases and shares her first-hand experiences about healing – including how she cured herself after having been diagnosed as being terminally ill with cancer. She provides exercises, affirmations and valuable steps in assisting others to transform their limiting and negative beliefs into becoming whole, healthy, happy individuals. As a metaphysical counsellor, she devotes her life to assisting others in discovering and using the full potential of their own creative powers.
Her Philosophy is stated simply and clearly: “We are each 100% responsible for all our experiences. Every thought we think is creating our future. The point of power is in the present moment. When we really love ourselves, everything in our life works. We create every so-called illness in our body. We must release the past and forgive everyone.”
This book was published in 1984 and contains 250 pages; 145 are dedicated to theory, describing behaviour, negative habits and how to change them. The book starts with the author giving her suggestions to readers, her philosophy and what she believes in. The book breaks down where you work through 8 chapters that look at identifying your problems, how to change and daily work/exercises. Then it goes on how to put these ideas to work for 6 chapters that help put the theory to practice whether its work, life or the body. After this, there is a long table listing all the ailments and affirmations that can help. To tie the book up the last section is about Louise’s story.
I struggled with this book I think there were excellent concepts and I am a true believer that affirmations work. They have helped build my confidence up in my body and myself again and have definitely helped with my positivity. However, when I discuss affirmations with friends or in my blog I have never felt or said that they could ‘cure me’ of my illnesses and diseases.
I believe that some physical elements may be connected to mind and emotions. However to take such a giant leap to claim that you can cure cancer by loving yourself more is farfetched and can be dangerous for anybody reading the book who has been diagnosed with cancer and is making a decision about treatment. I believe in holistic therapy and treating the person as a ‘whole’ however when you take this as complete alternatives and turn down medical treatment this can be risky and ultimately impact your life. If you read this book and decide to practice the exercises and affirmations alongside treatment then I think this could help through the process but I’m left feeling uncomfortable with the claim that Louise has made.
However saying that I did take some things from this book: self-love, forgiveness, compassion, adjusting the negative self talk and that affirmations are important to not be stuck in the past and to live in the now. This book focuses on targeting a person’s self-esteem, how they treat themselves or let others treat them and how to overcome negative thoughts based on your past. The book provides tools for taking responsibility and how to control your thoughts instead of letting the thoughts, feelings and fear get in the way of achieving goals.
This book is not for everyone which is sad because I believe the affirmations are fantastic and can help everyone but this is tarnished by the assumptions that I have described above. I do think it is a good book to read especially if you have had a hard past and need some help letting that go and being in the now. I still practice affirmations to help mentally and with my self-belief but I do not believe they can cure my illness. They can help me accept where I am and to try and still find the positives in life.
About the Author
Louise L Hay is the author of the international bestseller ‘You can Heal Your Life’ is a metaphysical lecturer and teacher of more than 40 million books sold wide. For more than 25 years, Louise has helped people throughout the world discover and implement the full potential of their own creative powers of personal growth and self-healing. She, unfortunately, passed away last year at the age of 90.