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You Can Heal Your Life - Book summary

First published in 1984, You Can Heal Your Life was one of the pioneers in self-help books. Many of Louise Hay’s ideas have since been used and expanded upon by self-help gurus and holistic healers. In nutshell, our thoughts and beliefs shape our lives, and self-love is the key to all self-healing. With the right mental work, we can turn around or create positive outcomes in any area that we desire. In this free version of You Can Heal Your Life summary, you’ll get an overview of the relationship between mind and body, and how limiting thoughts, beliefs and negative emotions can affect us and our physical diseases.

The Real Source of Your Problems

At the root of most of our issues or problems is the fundamental belief that “I’m not good enough” and the lack of self love. For example, the underlying belief of financial disaster is often “I’m not worthy of having money”, that of having no friends is usually “nobody loves me” and the tendency to always try to please others often comes from the belief “I never get my way”.

Where does it all come from?

These beliefs, along with many other ideas of who we are and the rules we must live by, are often learned when we are very young, from the adults around us. When we grow up, we tend to re-create our lives around these beliefs. Hay recommends several exercises, such as shifting “I should” to “I could” to realize we have a choice, identifying underlying issues beneath the visible problems, and identifying where some of our limiting beliefs come from.

Essentially, we are dealing with thought patterns. Once we recognize this, we realize we have the power to begin change right now, at this present moment. Since it all begins in the mind, we also have full and complete control of the outcomes in our lives.

Are these beliefs even true?

Our beliefs (e.g. “boys don’t cry”, “you are not good at this”) become our reality, hence we should examine if they are true to begin with. Even if they were true in the past (e.g. don’t trust strangers as a child), they may no longer be true today. Learning to let go of false or old beliefs is a key to changing our lives.

You Can Heal Your Life: Start the Change Now

You can take control of your life and the process of change. To do so, you need to overcome your own resistance to change and mane your thoughts/emotions. In the full 11-page version of You Can Heal Your Life summary, we elaborate on how to (i) nurture the willingness to change (including mental housecleaning and releasing internal resistance), (ii) control your mind/thoughts, and (iii) forgive yourself and others.You can Heal Your Life summary_transform your life

Rebuilding your Life

Creating positive change is like planting seeds. It takes time for the seeds to sprout, and we need to constantly nurture the seedlings and keep the weeds away.

Build on the Positives

What you place your attention on will grow. Hence, move away from negatives e.g. “I don’t want to be fat”, “I don’t want to be unhappy”; instead, focus on what you do, be or have e.g. “I am healthy and slender”, “I am happy, joyous and free.” Learn to think in positive affirmations as a habit, using the present tense e.g. “I am”, “I have”.  In our complete version of the You Can Heal Your Life summary, we explain how to catch your negative thoughts and take a series of small steps to start developing self-approval!

Holistic Philosophy

Hay advocates a holistic approach to nurture and nourish your entire being. This includes your Body (through nutrition, exercise etc.), your Mind (through visualization, affirmations, workshops etc.) and your Spirit (through prayer, meditation, practicing forgiveness and unconditional love etc.).

Your Body and Health

How we think and speak leads to our bodies’ “eases” and “dis-eases”. We create every dis-ease in our body due to our own thought patterns. Essentially, patterns of thought relating to resentment, criticism, guilt and fear are the main contributors to our so-called illnesses. Forgiveness and releasing these thought patterns (alongside healthy nutrition and care for our body) are the key to wellness.

Hay explains how some of these conditions come about, and how to listen to what our body is telling us through its dis-eases and discomforts, including headaches, baldness, sore throats, arthritis, back problems, heart attacks, cancer, ulcers etc. The book includes an additional 60 pages of detailed Probable Mental Patterns (from Hay’s book Heal Your Body) that cause illnesses and suggested affirmations or thought patterns that can be used to create health instead.

Getting More from You Can Heal Your Life

This book is strongly anchored in New Age concepts and alternative healing methods. If you’re interested in such concepts, do get our full summary bundle which includes an infographic, 11-page text summary, and a 20-minute audio summary.

You Can Heal Your Life summary - Book summary bundle

Hay wrote this book in the same way she takes a client through a private session or a workshop. Each chapter starts with an affirmation and includes one or more exercises or treatments, like a step-by-step guide to help you uncover your personal limiting beliefs and negative thoughts, and to start making positive changes. You can purchase the book here, or get more resources from Hay’s official website.

Here are additional resources on how to manage your self-talk and energy:
You are a Badass summary: Unleash the inner badass in you and start living your best life.
What to Say When You Talk to Yourself summary: Tips and insights to master your self-talk and inner dialogue
Make Time summary: Take control of your time and energy to focus on what truly matters to you.

About the Author of You Can Heal Your Life

You Can Heal your Life was written by Louise L. Hay (born 1926)–an American motivational author, and the founder of Hay House, a new thought and selfhelp publisher. Louise’s teachings are derived from her own personal journey, having overcome a difficult childhood, a divorce and cancer.

Born in Los Angeles, Louise’s mother was almost fostered out by her mother, who eventually remarried Louise’s violent stepfather. She was raped by a neighbour at five years old, and continued to be sexually abused until the age of 15. Louise left home and gave birth to a girl one year later, whom she adopted out and never saw again. She spent a few years doing menial work in Chicago before becoming a successful fashion model in New York. There, she met and married Andrew Hay, an English businessman, who left her after 14 years of marriage for another woman. Her life changed after a chance attendance at a Church of Religious Science meeting, after which she became a certified church counsellor, got into Transcendental Meditation and became a Minister with her own counselling service. After writing her first book Heal Your Body (detailing metaphysical causes of bodily illness), she was diagnosed with “incurable” cervical cancer. Through a combination of radically changed diet and mental techniques, she was healed.

She eventually moved back to Los Angeles and was reunited with her mother before her death. Besides this book, some of her best-selling titles include Heal Your Body, A Garden of Thoughts: My Affirmation Journal, The Power Is Within You, and Living Perfect Love: Empowering Rituals For Women.

You Can Heal Your Life Quotes

“If a thought or belief does not serve you, let it go! There is no written law that says that because you once believed something you have to continue to believe it forever.”

“Love is always the answer to healing of any sort. And the pathway to love is forgiveness”.

“Love is never outside ourselves; love is within us.”

“True prosperity…is never an amount of money; it is a state of mind.”

“The body, like everything else in life, is a mirror of our inner thoughts and beliefs…Every cell within the body responds to every single thought you think and every word you speak.”

“Your security is not your job, or your bank account, or your investments, or your spouse, or parents. Your security is your ability to connect with the cosmic power that creates all things.”

Click here to download the You Can Heal your Life infographic & summary

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