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Loving Yourself - The Foundation of Louise Hay’s Work

Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D.

Loving Yourself- The Foundation of Louise Hay’s Work

It sounds so simple: just love and accept yourself and your life works!

This is the foundation of the work of Louise Hay. Building a strong inner foundation begins with a change in thought – I am worth loving. The key is moving that thought from a mental level to an emotional level that really takes hold in the conscious and unconscious minds. 
How did Louise do it?

Louise Hay’s story is truly amazing. She experienced the trauma of a very abusive childhood and thus developed many negative beliefs about herself. The turning point came in her late 40’s when a friend invited her to a lecture at a spiritual center.

The topic? Change your thinking, change your life. This intrigued Louise and she began taking classes at that spiritual center. Her life was transformed with this idea and other studies. As a spiritual counselor, she worked with many people who had challenging physical symptoms and diseases.

From her studies and those sessions, Louise put together a small book, Heal Your Body, listing diseases and symptoms along with possible causes and affirmations to use for healing. This small book has helped many to recognize the issues related to their illnesses and thus begin healing.

She went on to write what she called a simple book, You Can Heal Your Life, published in 1984. This simple book has sold over 50 million copies worldwide! From there began Hay House, Inc., now a premier publisher for mind-body-spirit book.

So how can YOU learn to love yourself?

The #1 thing Louise says to STOP doing to begin loving yourself is to stop criticizing yourself.

A powerful technique for making that shift is mirror work.

Mirror work begins with looking into your own eyes – really looking- and saying to yourself, “I love and approve of you just the way you are.” Or if that is too much of a stretch, saying, “I am willing to love and approve of you just the way you are.” When you do this seemingly simple exercise the first time, the result is often a wave of emotion and tears.

In reality, it is anything but simple. Inside, people often hold very unloving thoughts about themselves and have stored up numerous reasons why they are NOT worth loving. They hold criticisms, regret, resentment, and guilt. Looking in the mirror, these feelings and negative messages from childhood come rushing back into consciousness. Women typically have critical thoughts about their appearance, and how it doesn’t measure up to society’s image of beauty.

Perseverance with mirror work is a key to change. It does get easier with time, and you can feel a shift as your inner self starts accepting the idea of loving and approving of yourself. Some of my clients put the mirror down immediately and wouldn’t even do the exercise at first. A few even threw the mirror down. With gentle encouragement, they came to recognize the value of it. Mirror work can also be used to say affirmations and do forgiveness work. There’s a saying, “Try it- you’ll like it!” Well, maybe not immediately, but in time you will find yourself smiling in the mirror, saying “I love you!” and truly meaning it.

Awareness of the negative beliefs you learned as a child is a key part the journey to self-love.

What were you taught about your worth, relationships, prosperity, health, and career? Some beliefs may be helping you as an adult and others hindering you from achieving your potential and living a life you love. Take some time to sit down and write a list of beliefs. Are there some you want to change?

Practicing positive affirmations is a powerful method for changing the old beliefs.

Example: If you learned that money is scare and you have to work at a job you don’t like just to get by, you can create a affirmation like this: I now choose to believe that I live in an abundant universe and I work in a career I truly love and earn a good living. The change doesn’t happen overnight. Repetition is the key because you are reprograming your subconscious mind with the new beliefs. If you are new to affirmations, the You Can Heal Your Life book is a great resource, and there are many Youtube videos you can watch.

As mentioned above, Louise had a very abusive childhood, and related the cancer she developed to the anger and resentment from those experiences. In her healing process, she worked through and released those emotions and was cancer free after 6 months. A significant part of her intense inner work was the F word – forgiveness. Is there someone you need to forgive to free yourself?

Forgiveness doesn’t condone bad behavior, it frees YOU from the resentment.

There is often self-forgiveness work to do as well. Everyone has done or said things they regret. As Louise said many times, “you were doing the best you could at the time with the awareness and knowledge you had then.” Be gentle with yourself as your practice forgiveness.

As you practice these techniques and truly learn to love the person you are, your Life will blossom in amazing ways. Embracing yourself and expressing your gifts is worth the journey.

About The Author

Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D.

Patricia Crane studied personally with Louise Hay and has been sharing her work for over 25 years. Patricia developed the Heal Your Life® workshop leader training in 1995 and now co-leads it with husband Rick Nichols. Their company, Heart Inspired Presentations, LLC is licensed by Hay House, Inc. They will be in Singapore, March 7 – 14 to lead a training program. For more information, visit her website: