A Self-Love Legacy - the passing of Louise Hay
I woke up this morning to the news that the original queen of self-love and affirmations, Louise Hay, had passed away overnight at the age of 90. Whilst it is always a sad moment to realise that a leader as incredible, loving and generous as Louise has left this Earth, it also made me take a moment to reflect upon how Louise's work has impacted upon and shaped my own life.
If I had to pin my entire health/self-love/spirituality journey down to one single turning point moment, it would be when I was 15 and Mum gave me Louise's book "You Can Heal Your Life". At the time I was an anxious teenager with basically zero self-esteem, was incredibly negative and didn't really enjoy life. I had no sense of greater purpose in life other than going to school and getting good grades, and I felt incredibly lonely and often very sad within myself. After one particular breakdown in the bath, in which I sobbed uncontrollably to Mum because I truly believed I was hideously ugly and worthless, she gave me Louise's book and said simply, "I think you should read this."
That book was my first introduction to the idea of affirmations, self-love or even actively choosing positive thoughts. At first I read it somewhat skeptically because I didn't really believe that just changing the way I thought would produce outer changes in my life. But despite this, I figured I had nothing to lose, and so I set myself a goal to avoid saying or thinking anything negative about myself (especially my appearance) and instead replace such thoughts with positive affirmations, like "I am beautiful", "I am worthy of love" etc.
The changes that took place in a few short weeks after setting this goal were nothing short of amazing. Outwardly, I was the same person, but internally my view of myself completely shifted. I could see the beauty, worth and love in myself and suddenly the people around me seemed to reflect this back to me. My self-esteem grew from the bottom up and with time I doubted myself and my value less and less. Around this same time I started to become interested in nutrition and how eating better could affect my health, and the rest is history.
Fast-forward five years and I find myself at the end of my exchange in Canada, in a mental state not too dissimilar to the one I'd been in at 15. My self-esteem had bottomed out, I was sad, angry and couldn't see anything good in myself. This was a hard place to be in as someone who had actively spent the last five years trying to be the happiest, most positive version of myself. But once again some divine intervention came at just the right time, in the form of another Louise Hay book that I stumbled upon in a bookshop in Vancouver - called "Gratitude - a way of life".
Reading "Gratitude" was a different experience to "You Can Heal Your Life", as I was already quite familiar with the practice and benefits of gratitude. So rather than learning a whole heap of new information, the book was the exact reminder that I needed about the power of gratitude to transform your life. And so from rock bottom I once again set a goal to start practicing gratitude, in the form of mental gratitude affirmations, each day. Needless to say things starting looking up again very quickly, as these mental affirmations allowed me to focus my energy and attention on all the "good" things that were surrounding me and also to see the good in the "bad" things that may have happened. I even had moments where I could feel myself spiralling into a negative thought pattern and I would catch myself and just say something simple like "I am grateful for my awareness of my thinking." This would trigger a cascade of grateful statements and it literally felt as if a fog was being lifted from my mind.
Anyway, I could go on at length, but the point I want to make is that Louise was the author/guiding light that allowed me to pull myself up from seeming impossible depths not once, but twice, in my short 21 years on this Earth. The self-love, gratitude and empowerment I have gained from reading Louise's books are something I will be forever grateful for. So Louise, as you rest amongst the angels, just know how incredibly grateful I am that I came across your work. Thank you for being a gracious, loving leader and for the incredible legacy you have left behind. I have no doubt that you work and your gifts to this world will continue to change lives for many, many years to come.
Love Erica x