What is the name of the book which has most influenced your life?
This was a post on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. I did reply – but found myself wondering why the particular title I mentioned has had such a profound influence on my thinking.
When I divorced I had been living in Switzerland and could not foresee being able to raise my two sons there without the moral support of my sisters and parents. So I packed up my small family in the car and drove to England.
In those far-off days buying a property was much easier and within a few months I had moved into a house where I envisaged bringing up my boys. But all was not sweetness and light!
On the surface I was getting on with life – much easier to find work where there is no language barrier, and my sons were in a calm and peaceful environment, but I felt guilty that I had uprooted them from their original home environment.
A book arrived in the post – sent by my oldest friend. The book was ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay.
One of the tenets of the book was the use of affirmations – and the first that Ms Hay advocated was “I approve of myself’. Easy-peasy I thought. Finished the chapter and determined I would repeat this to myself as prescribed many times a day. Imagine my surprise when – on closing the book – I couldn’t remember the words. Open the book again and re-read – oh yes. Close the book and again it was gone. It slowly dawned on me that I was having trouble remembering the words precisely because I didn’t (approve of myself, I mean). I was reduced to writing said affirmation on bits of paper and sticking them around the house in prominent positions for the first week until I could recite the words by heart.
I wish I could say that I did learn to approve of myself immediately – it has taken many years. And by ‘approve of myself’ I don’t mean that I am always right or am doing the right things. It just means that I realise that I make the decisions I make and perform the actions I do from a good place within myself.
One kind word can change someone's entire day - even your own.
At a very early stage during this time I began to realise how important our self-talk is. I know so many people who constantly disparage themselves “How could I be so stupid”. “I’m no good at that.’ and even crueller comments.
Somewhere deep inside we believe the things we say to ourselves. Now ask yourself – would you make the same negative remarks to someone you really care for?
I have just returned from a week in the UK staying with my amazing mother – in her late eighties she is a constant inspiration both to me and to everyone she comes into contact with. But my darling mama has a very bad habit of giving herself a hard time. This blog is aimed at you Jeanie…
Give yourself the love and encouragement that you would give to the people you care about and be as kind to yourself as you are to them.