NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, The Healing Project.
In order to further lay the groundwork for this blog and my work here, I would like to highlight some of the key principles which Louise Hay outlines in “You Can Heal Your Life.” I will list each principle as stated by Louise Hay, and then I will explain this principle in my own words and relate a bit about what it means to me personally. As there are a number of principles which I would like to cover before delving into the deep work of my personal healing project, this is the first of four posts on this topic.
“We are each responsible for our own experiences.”
Louise Hay advocates personal responsibility. Although she asks people to explore their childhoods and past experiences through the exercises in her book, she cautions her readers against laying blame upon anyone else for his or her current life condition. While it is true that our past experiences and interactions with others have shaped who we are, we are the only ones who are truly responsible for where we are in our lives today.
There is both good and bad news to this principle. The bad news is that we don’t get to blame anyone else or hold anyone else responsible for what’s happening in our lives. The good news is that it is completely in our power to transform our lives wholly and completely. This is, of course, a double-edged sword. It is in our power to change, we are free to change our lives in both small and great ways, but it is US who must make those changes.
I am completely willing to own that I am responsible for my experiences. This means that if I fall into “victim mode,” which happens to all of us at times, it is up to me to pull myself out of that abyss and step back into ownership mode. I am responsible for what I think and what I do. I am responsible for doing what I say I’m going to do and for honoring my commitments to myself and others. This is a tall order, but it affords us great freedom to be and to create.
“Every thought we think is creating our future.”
We each think thousands of thoughts each day. We are unaware of the majority of these thoughts and many of us have more negative thoughts than positive ones. Our thoughts have both energy and creative power. Like attracts like and through the powerful Law of Attraction (see “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne for more information), our thoughts are basically bringing about our experiences.
We all have a negative inner voice which exerts power over us. This is the voice that tells us we’re not good enough, that we’re foolish to want what we want, and that we’ll never accomplish the goals which we’ve set for ourselves. This voice is sometimes referred to as the “Gremlin” (see “Taming Your Gremlin” by Rick Carson) and it’s amazing how miserable this gremlin can make us! I once did an exercise in which I recorded all of my negative thoughts over the course of an eight hour time period. I literally had hundreds of negative thoughts and many of them were repetitive! This simple exercise helped me to understand how I was limiting my energy, my creativity and my happiness by my limiting and destructive thoughts.
The good news is that positive thoughts are MUCH more powerful than negative thoughts. If we consciously replace some of our negative thoughts with positive ones, or if we deliberately think positive thoughts throughout the day, we will notice a big difference in our sense of well-being. One example of an easy positive thought to think is the declaration “I approve of myself” which I mentioned in my last post. If you find yourself thinking something negative, either replace it with its opposite, say “cancel cancel” to clear the negative energy, or use a mantra like “I approve of myself” to turn your thoughts and your energy around.
“The point of power is always in the present moment.”
We cannot change the past and we have no control over the future. The only time which is under our control is this moment, right now. So often, we spend so much time and energy lamenting what we did or didn’t do in the past and worrying about what we might do and what might happen in the future. These thoughts and worries are really a big waste of time and usually serve to make us less happy instead of more happy.
If you want to be happy and joyous, focus on the NOW. Not only is this one of Louise Hay’s key principles, but it is also set forward as a precept among many thought leaders, including Eckhart Tolle, who published the best-selling book, “The Power of Now.”
This is a simple but not easy concept. When one is first starting to live in the present moment, he or she will often find the mind drifting backwards or forward. This is the time to gently nudge yourself back to the now, just as one might clear their mind or return to a mantra during meditation. If you find yourself worrying about the future, it can be helpful to ask yourself the following two questions (from “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks):
- Is this worry realistic?
- If so, is there anything I can do about it right now?
If the answer to the first question is no, then bring your attention back to the present moment; likewise if the answer to the second questions is no. If the answer to the second question is yes, then do something to remedy your worry. Even something minor can be helpful. Then bring your attention back to the here and now, the point of your power.