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4.7 out of 5 stars
You Can Heal Your Life (Gift Edition)
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54 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2012
I got this book hoping it would help me change my thoughtpatterns and eventually help get rid of my anxiety.
the front of the book i purchased said "Its just a thought, and thoughts can be changed" which was what i was after. a way of changing my thoughpattern.

The back of the book also seemed to say the same thing. That we can get rid of many physical problems by changing the way we think. This i know to be true... but the author takes it way too far.

She claims we're alll responsible for ALL experiences we have, and that no one can boss us around in any way. this is not true... as a child we dont have the power to chose what we want to do or not. The way we deal with things, yes that is up to us, but what lead us to the experience itself... thats out of a childs control. This annoyed me because many of my problems come from traumas from my cildhood. things i had no control over. I did not need to hear that i basically put myself in the situation, what i wanted to hear was a way of gettting out of the problems these events caused.

there is also a list at the back of the book. Of illnesses and what causes them. Here we're told that cancer comes from our thoughts... that epilepsy is also caused by the way we think. Im sorry... but my three year old nephew did not THINK epilpsy on himself.

Its misleading and scarily so in saying that serious illnesses can be cured by thought alone. That AIDS is also a product of our emotions.

Im all for changing our thoughts to make physical discomforts go away, but you cannot heal cancer by thought... if that was the case no one would die would they? thinking you love yourself wont change that you were born with asthma... or some other syndrome.

the scary thing is that people believe this and will refuse treament and could ultimatly die from a serious illness.

No one can be as happy go lucky, floating in the clouds as this book paints a picture of.

No this book did not help me.
It scared me.
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110 of 142 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2009
I met Louise Hay in 1981, a few years before she hit the big time by capitalizing on the AIDS crisis. When I met her, she had a small one bedroom apartment on Goshen Ave. in West L.A. and had no furniture. In fact, we sat on the floor to talk. This was her life after several years of chanting her affirmations. The reason she became so successful is she catered to the gay community when the AIDS crisis hit. Certainly it is better to have positive thoughts than negative thoughts - but she has a very short sighted, narrow view of the cause of all problems. Most problems are caused by our unconscious thoughts, not our conscious thoughts - so by definition, we are not aware of the cause of our problems. If we were - we would be able to do something about them.

She told me once - she's been lonely her whole life. Why not just say some affirmations if that's the case? Apparently her affirmations didn't help her get a husband or boyfriend. Also, if she loves and approves of herself so much - why did she feel the need to get a terrible facelift and nose job? Apparently she didn't love and accept herself enough not to go under the surgeon's knife. She's never given any documentation to prove she healed herself of cancer. She claims there are no longer any medical records proving her claims - but at the time the book came out - there were certainly records available. Saying she healed herself of cancer makes for a nice story, however.

I have to agree with the woman who was shocked at Louise's rudeness. As someone who has known her personally, I am not shocked. Remember, just because you see someone on TV and they claim to be spiritual and new agey doesn't mean anything.
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144 of 187 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2008
I borrowed this book from the library in hopes that I would like it enough to buy the very pretty gift edition. (The colorful, pretty gift edition appealed to my ADD and I knew if I liked it, it would be something I would refer to often.)

I picked up the book from the library and perused it while I waited for the bus so I could go back to work. One of the first things I read is "I believe that we choose our parents...We choose our sex, our color, our country and we look around for a particular set of parents who will mirror the patterns we are bringing in to work on in this lifetime." So some of us choose to incarnate ourself with physically, sexually, verbally abusive parents? Some of us choose parents that have Munchausen's by proxy syndrome? Prince Charles chose to be born a prince? The child born to impoverished parents who can't even provide it with food chose that? We choose our color? Some really dangerous trains of thoughts come about if we start to believe that. Like perhaps there is a Master Race and we need only resolve our baggage & be confident enough to choose parents who are part of it. I, being a very odd fusion of races and ethnicities must have been contemplating one day while between parents and floating about the cosmic soup -- Gee this homogenized world I've been a part of is a real bore -- I need to Jazz it up a bit. Or people like Paris Hilton can feel even more superior to others because their soul was finally confident enough to be born to the Hilton Dynasty and all those other people born in poverty have weak souls so we needn't worry about them.

As other's have said -- if we have crappy mates in our life -- we chose them. Yes, we choose our job, yes we choose our bad attitudes whether we realize it or not. But choosing our parents, race and sex? Yes, it is her belief, but what justification does she have for this belief, & above all, what justification does she have for printing this towards the beginning of a book and laying an even heavier trip on someone whose heart and soul is already feeling heavy -- now they can lay one more layer of guilt on themselves -- she believes they are the root of their childhood abuse or poverty.

Towards the end came the long list in the book where she explained the mental/emotional roots of all ailments. -- Even Athletes Foot. While I do believe that our outlook on life can affect our health, as negative emotions cause different bodily chemicals to be released vs positive emotions. And our mental state can cause us to behave in ways that cause illness -- binge eating, substance abuse, irresponsible sexual behavior etc. But to attribute every ailment to an emotional/mental cause is irresponsible. Herpes cannot be cured by changing your outlook on life!!! And it was caused by having sex with someone that had herpes!!! Gum disease is caused by being wishy washy about life? -- How about gum disease is caused by not taking care of your teeth & gums properly -- i.e. not flossing. I've never heard a dentist recommend to any patient w/gum disease that they should be more decisive in their life if they want to cure their gums from being inflamed & bleeding. She even assesses that fungus has a root emotional cause-- stagnating beliefs (hmmmm -- I know people that should be crawling with fungus if that's the case).

In the middle of the book, I thought there were SOME decent things she had to say -- but the good things she said could be found in other self help books w/o the crappy messages at the beginning and end. If you believe in the law of attraction, there are plenty of books that are strictly about the law of attraction. If you want to learn about projecting yourself, watch the Dog Whisperer. If you want to learn more about self esteem, I recommend, if you have a decent library system in your area, you borrow books from the library before investing in something you may find disappointing and a waste of money. Keep in mind something being popular does not necessarily make it good. (Crappy music that sells millions because of it's cool videos & promos is still crappy music.)
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210 of 274 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2010
I wish you could give zero stars but I would actually give it half a star because if the book did anything it made me understand the person who purchased this for me (I will use the name Anna) and their point of view. In Anna's own words, by following Hay's belief system which is the basic mind over matter concept on steroids with a sprinkle of plutonium grade narcissism thrown in, she has serious problems feeling empathy. Empathy for others being something I would not trade for a completely healthy body.

I was given the book when I called Anna to tell her that my medical situation had changed and I was back to a pre-cancerous stage. This is after many years of remission gained through a variety of Western and Eastern Medicine. I had just found out and was making arrangements for the necessary procedures and panicked and looked for support... in the wrong place. I figured I was entitled to a few days of "oh no" before I put on my boot-straps and moved forward. Instead, Anna, demanded to know why I would even use the term pre-cancer because words are power and I was giving it more power and allowing it to do more harm. I explained I was just using medical terminology as to not confuse anyone. In addition, I was told that I had complete control over my life and had brought this energy to myself and I had complete control of the outcome by giving up resentments and forgiveness. All ideas from the book.

Quoting from the book page 158

Probable cause of cancer:

Deep hurt, long-standing resentment. Deep secret or grief eating away at the self. Carrying hatredism "What's the use?"

My new thought pattern for correction:

I lovingly forgive and release all of the past. I choose to fill my world with joy. I love and approve of myself.

Back to reality, the brain is an important ally when dealing with any health problems and I have gone down many roads since I was born with congenital health issues. I went through a constant stress and reading every snippet I could find and yes I did feel worse. Does this mean with a more positive outlook I was now cured? No.

The mind is a part of the team and not the team itself. I still needed medical treatment but learning tangible things (not from this book) such as Biofeedback, Guided Imagery, Breathing Techniques, etc helped me immensely. In addition to accepting certain black and white facts regarding my health instead of trying to constantly make it something it plainly isn't and not because I have the wrong attitude about it but because I was born that way or as Hay's puts it I chose it before I was born or am paying for something from a past life.

I researched the author a little and found this from an interview in the NYT.

"When I asked her if, since people's thoughts are responsible for their conditions, victims of genocide might be to blame for their own deaths, she said: "I probably wouldn't say it to them. I don't go around making people feel bad. That's not what I'm after." I pressed harder: Did she believe they are to blame? "Yes, I think there's a lot of karmic stuff that goes on, past lives." So, I asked, with a situation like the Holocaust, the victims might have been an unfortunate group of souls who deserved what they got because of their behavior in past lives? "Yes, it can work that way," Hay said. "But that's just my opinion."

(The Queen of New Age by Mark Oppenheimer)

If this works for people I think that is great. For myself, I really can't even take this seriously. The author took many concepts from a variety of places and merged and distored them. Strangely, for a self-help book it had an entirely strange and unhelpful (for me) "atmosphere."
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63 of 81 people found the following review helpful
First of all I would like to say that I have not read the whole book- but I was put off straight away by some of the things mentioned in this book- such as you can't blame your parents you chose to be born through them etc...

This book is waffly and hippy-ish- I get the kind of person who will like this book- I was one of them. I dont mind the technique behind them- not my style- but I can see why people like them.

What I disliked thoroughly about it, is that the idea that things that are bad in your life are only your fault- to be truly disturbing. It is not an untrue idea, just a false one- and one that doesn't help people who want to for example get through depression or a difficult time in their life. The idea that your parents are not to blame- what if your father sexually abused you? This idea of falsely 'forgiving' someone doesn't help anyone- and has been shown by people who work in such fields. Forgiving all the time, even without sexual abuse mean that you just repress your feelings... which means the real problems are never addressed...

The author is taking somewhat of a hard line approach here- but I honestly think that someone who is depressed and reading this book might find harm rather than good- which is why I have rated it one star. I am sure that many people have been helped by it- but a lot of the ideas reiterated in this book are unhealthy and ought not to be read by the people who are the target audience of this book.,
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2012
I was really hoping this book would be helpful. I started to lose interest when it said that everything that happens, bad or good, is your choice. That's not true. I stopped reading when it said everyone decides to come onto the planet at a certain time, and before we are born we choose what we will look like, where we live, and who our parents will be. How am I supposed to take the rest of the book seriously after that? That doesn't even make sense.
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67 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2009
As a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, I cannot assert enough how wrong this book is. It is at best naive, and at worst toxic- I can see how those who are likely to pick up this book, looking for answers, feeling vulnerable, will attempt this simplistic way of solving their dilemmas, only to fail, and blame themselves. It therefore propagates the emotion that is in the heart of most disorders- shame, what this book ostensibly sets out to correct. If I had to save one book if my office is on fire, and the one that has most elicited that "aha!" moment in my patients, it is "the mindful way through Depression", by Teasedale et al. Check this one out!
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2014
Positive thought can be important but believing that it can cure eyesight and other more serious illness is dangerous.

This is not to mention the victim blaming that you attract negative events in your life. Including being a child and attracting sexual predators or having a serious illness.

Do not waste you time with this book
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103 of 141 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2004
if your problem is that you feel sad, and you wish there were more pop-psycology in your life, this book is for you.

I am a rape victim. Are you honestly telling me that because I didn't "Love myself truly enough," I was asking that kid to attack me? Please. This woman has such a limited perspective. It is NOT always as simple as she describes here. Develop your own philosphies, and do NOT base them off of this book.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2010
Last night I opened this book, and the author says that children who need glasses have bad eyesight because "there is something in their household they don't want to see." And I was so disgusted by her idiocy I couldnt take the rest of the book seriously. However I do think psychology can affect you physically. If that point was made more reasonably and without this sense of absolutism, the book would be far more valuable. Stress does make you tired and more susceptible to illness. Yes, unhappiness adds tension and pain to your back. But a virus is a virus, not some cosmic force punishing you for not being comfortable with yourself.

Sadly, I would guess that a lot of doctors are quick to prescribe drugs rather than more homeopathic/psychological/placebo options because they are worried about this slippery slope into, "take your kids glasses away and tell them to cheer up!"
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