Book Reviews

You Can Heal Your Heart

Louise L. Hay, David Kessler

Affirmations, Self Improvement, Empowerment, Relationships

978-1-4019-4387-5

In You Can Heal Your Heart, self-help luminary Louise Hay and renowned grief and loss expert David Kessler, the protege of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, have come together to start a conversation on healing ... More

May 29, 2014 rschechter
My first experience with death came when I was 13 years old. My grandfather, the backbone of our family, had passed away due to lung cancer and even despite the large role he played in our family, all my parents had to say to us regarding his passing was “your grandfather has died.” There was no comforting, and there was no discussion about the loss or about death. Looking back, I see this as a significant event that very likely shaped my thoughts about loss in general. Unshockingly, those thoughts were negative and unsophisticated and result in my inability to recover in a timely manner from any sort of loss whether it was permanent or temporary. Just to think of losing someone was frightening (and of course, sparked a whole range of counterproductive behaviors).

Because of my background, I found You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After A Breakup, Divorce, or Death an invaluable read. First, anything Louise Hay has her hand on is brilliant. Second, this book exposed me to new thoughts and beliefs about losing relationships whether they be familial or romantic and the lessons that can be learned from those losses. I also learned about disenfranchised grief; grief that is undermined by society (e.g., the loss of a pet) and how disenfranchised grief poses additional problems because society does not deem certain types of loss as significant (not yet, anyways). Louise Hay collaborated with David Kessler on this book and he currently has a radio show on Hay House Radio that builds on the material in the book. I highly recommend this book for anyone struggling with the loss of a loved one or anyone looking to help someone who is grieving.

For me, it cast light on distorted views I had on loss and provided me with new thoughts and beliefs that I can work on incorporating into my life. That is the best part about Hay House books — they always provide you with practical tools to implement the material being shared.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.
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Apr 05, 2014 Inspired Angel
When was the last time you felt empowered? No, I don’t mean at some “Yes, I Can” rally or while you were at the gym burning calories and such like. I’m referring to feeling empowered while going through a divorce or after you’ve lost your job, or even while grieving the suicidal death of a child/loved one. Often in life, we are faced with different/difficult circumstances. With every up and every down, our choices can either move us forward or cause us to become stagnant, which ultimately leads to our demise (emotionally, mentally, etc). Hay and Kessler are impressing upon us the notion of moving forward and how that can be done in a healthy way, in their collaborative work – “You Can Heal Your Heart.”

Empowerment is a strong undercurrent of this work that wants to transition us from suffering through grief and loss to peace and stability and growth. The title says it all – You can heal Your heart; but empowerment and loving yourself is understood from their constant recurrences of affirmations in each chapter. There’s a responsibility we have that does not have to be negative. Hay and Kessler talk about the emotions many go through with life’s changes and how we tend to blame and/or criticize ourselves; taking on responsibility wrongly. They say that we should take responsibility during these unforeseen and uncomfortable situations but as one refusing to be utterly distraught the rest of one’s life from it. It’s their idea of taking in the grief without the torment. Accepting that it happened with or without your help or permission or understanding and now moving into your future without being haunted.

“Forgive yourself.“

Take losing a pet for instance. About 5-7 years ago, my husband and I was entrusted with pet-sitting for inlaws who were going out of town for a few days. Unfortunately, before they returned, their bird died. I felt so bad. What made it difficult for me was the fact that this wasn’t the first time a pet had died in my care/on my watch. Many years prior (20+) my brother had a bird that was given to him by a friend who was moving away. One morning I woke up first and decided to check on the bird. It was dead! My mother asked me if I did something to it, since I wasn’t fond of animals. I know that I didn’t but she gave me a look of suspicion and her tone was of ridicule, nonetheless. Now as I’m getting older, plants were dying too. I would do everything my friends would tell me to do and they would still die. So now with the in-laws bird dying, I’m faced with the fact that another living thing has died and it must be my fault. Well its not. Hay and Kessler would have me affirm myself with the understanding that maybe it was just those birds timing. I am not a killer of the things God has created. To confirm that, I now have plants in my new house that are growing.

“Life is always moving toward healing.”

Now what I’ve just done is an example of the layout of the book. It is flooded with stories, and I mean flooded. This can work for or against them. For some readers, it’s important to see that others are dealing with or have overcome the wave of life they, themselves, are currently in. While that is good for group A, group B is still feeling that someone else’s story is still not their’s – thus annoyed. As for me, I found this book to be easy reading on one hand and a struggle on the other. Let me explain it this way:

The book in itself was not written on such a collegiate level that adults with only a middle school reading level would become frustrated from lack of vocabulary in their arsenal and the use of puns and such like. It’s almost conversational in a sense, when reading through other lives. You find yourself talking with the book. It would make for a great group discussion for people of all ages and walks of life. Children should be taught early how to deal with lost so that they would mature better and understand how not to internalize everything the wrong way.
On the other hand, as a Christian, I wavered with whether I should continue to read it or not; but because neither I nor God lives in a box I continued. So this book is not for the very religious who is not open to broad conversations for the betterment of all. I say this because, Hay -and I believe Kessler also, use the term ‘universe’ a lot. As Christians, we do not speak of the universe as though it is a supreme authority but rather as one that is controlled by One. Also, it seems as though their view on divorce -”When they’re no longer needed, they are complete and successful,” and ‘untimely’ death may be a problem for some Christians too. Yes, there are many Christians who have divorced but there is still a large group that frown on it. And dying too young will probably be debated on the grounds of bible history showing that some people received length of days and the 5th commandment that indicates that days are stricken due to dishonor.

Personally, I understand their idea of sometimes knowing when to let go and say good-bye for peace’s sake but I also believe that divorce is a lot more about pride and fear and selfishness than a change in the tide. One of my favorite sayings is,

“Remember that you come into this world in the middle of the movie,…so do the people you love.”

For me, this says that we should not put such demanding expectations on people, or ourselves, who are functioning within ongoing drama or a scene that none of us were prepped for. Some were never taught to love and others know nothing less than giving of themselves completely.

No matter who is reading this book, or any other book, it is important to know that no person has all the answers to life. The authors are not suggesting that they know it all but their field of study have led them to this resolve on life, that I’d like to call – Just because I’ve lost…, doesn’t mean I’ve lost. It’s okay to cry and feel hurt, but then what. Anything that’s alive should be growing; each scene of life presents us with this awesome privilege whether you’re very religious or cringe at the thought.

This blog is all about inspiring people and so we’re careful about what we say and suggest. I have no trouble recommending this work for your enjoyment and journey and curiosity. Be inspired to live and love and be loved and grieve without painful memories. Be inspired to know that You Can Heal Your Heart. Get your copy today.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.
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Mar 10, 2014 BWegel
In the book You Can Heal Your Heart, grief counseling expert, David Kessler, and author and founder of Hay House Publishing, Louise L. Hay, collaborate on a wonderful book about healing from grief and loss. The book covers many different types of loss... the loss of loved ones (spouse, lover, parent, child, friend), the loss of a pet, loss from a breakup or divorce, and even other types of loss such as disenfranchised loss, loss in limbo, and complicated loss. The book is full of personal stories of people who have suffered different types of loss and personal affirmations and exercises to help heal a grieving heart.

I chose this book to review because I recently lost my dear mother after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer and I wanted to find peace and healing during the grief process. This book was very helpful with assisting me to move forward in my life. I found the personal stories that were included very touching and the positive affirmations and exercises to be of great comfort to me. I also found the section about loss after infertility and miscarriage to be extremely helpful as well. I suffered through years of infertility and numerous miscarriages before I finally had my two precious children, and I'm not sure I ever fully processed the grief I felt during that experience in my life. This book helped me deal not only with the loss of my mother, but also helped heal the unexpressed and often disenfranchised loss of infertility and miscarriage.

I love several of the quotes from the book:

"Grief is as unique as a fingerprint."

"Grief is the window that provides the opportunity to examine your primal thinking about relationships."

"We are faced with a choice when we wake up in the morning: Will we choose to live our lives in fear or in faith? Then we step out into the world where good and evil do battle every day. It is the charge of each one of us to bring light and love into the world. and we achieve this through every thought and interaction we have on a daily basis."

I would highly recommend this book to anyone experiencing any type of loss of in their life...past or present. This book helped me to remember that "Love is eternal and is a bond that can't be severed....even in death." You Can Heal Your Heart teaches us a new way of thinking about loss and encourages us to change every thought into a loving one, each and every day!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product and I was not financially compensated for this review.
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Feb 26, 2014 essvagon
Relief of Grief From Any Type of Loss!

In typical Louise Hay fashion, this book does not disappoint. The collaboration between grief counseling expert David Kessler and metaphysician Louise Hay brings about a wonderful book with intelligent insight into the behavior associated with grief. Louise guides the reader to analyze their thinking. Most likely it will contain negative affirming thoughts that hinder the healing process. She advises positive affirmations to change the thought processes which are the first step to overcoming grief. When grief incapacitates ones life to the point they can not move forward, they need to re-evaluate their thinking as well as their behavior.

David Kessler brings his expertise in dealing with grief and how to handle it. Both of them agree it should not be suppressed in order to move on, as it will only re-emerge with a vengeance later on. They cite examples in story form that allow the reader to see the alternatives to thinking negatively and the possibilities with the changes.

The beauty of this book is that it does not only deal with grief of death. Grief is an emotion that is felt at any loss. Although the principals could be attributed to seemingly simple losses its main focus is life-altering loss such as relationship break-ups, divorce and death. There is also a chapter on other losses such as miscarriage, job loss, lost dreams/achievements and so on.

Divorce or Break-ups do not have to be a war between the parties involved. With respect, both parties can heal their hearts and honor what was between them, what brought them together in the first place and what they will continue to carry with them as they separate.
The lessons within are beautiful and if followed will lead to a more nurturing society based on respect and honor rather than competition of victimized thinking.

If you have a family member or friend dealing with a loss, this book can help them to heal. They would have to be open to move past the trough of grief and anguish, but it would lift them toward a path of recovery. Beautiful insight, beautiful nourishment for the soul!

FTC Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this title by Hay House Publishing for review purposes only, no other compensation was awarded.


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Feb 20, 2014 timlarison
Everyone experiences loss in this life, whether it be the breakup of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or something else. If you are like me who sometimes find loss hard to take, authors David Kessler and Louise Hay can help. They have created a wonderful new book on the subject – You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After a Breakup, Divorce, or Death.

On the cover of this month’s Unity Magazine Kessler is called “America’s Leading Grief Expert”. I love how the book mixes Kessler’s expertise with Hay’s affirmation techniques. “Grieving is challenging, but it is our thoughts that often add suffering to our pain,” the authors write in the first few pages. Kessler knows all about grief, Hay knows all about positive thoughts. It’s a powerful combination.

You Can Heal Your Heart is a book that gives readers hope, even in the most dire of circumstances. “Although it’s natural to forget your power after you lose a loved one, the truth is that after a breakup, divorce, or death, there remains an ability within you to create a new reality,” they say. The most common causes of grief are covered in different chapters: a broken romantic relationship, divorce, death of a loved one, even death of a pet. One chapter is devoted to other types of losses, such as losing a job. Regardless of the loss, there is light on the other side according to Kessler and Hay. “Our ultimate wish is for you to discover that no matter what you’re facing, you can heal your heart. You deserve a loving, peaceful life.”

Reading You Can Heal Your Heart caused me to take a fresh look at some of my past losses, and to appreciate the lessons learned through those events. “Life is always moving toward healing,” say the authors. One story that touched me was of Candy Lightner, who lost her first grade son Jesse in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Mrs. Lightner encourages us to “change an angry thought into a loving one, each and every day.” The book is full of other inspiring stories of people who have dealt with loss and have come out on the other side with a positive outlook on life.

“We deeply believe in the affirmation Life loves us, although you may wonder how that applies in loss,” the authors conclude. “It doesn’t mean that you won’t experience loss—but depending on how you hold, perceive, and think about that loss, life can be there for you, even cradling you through your toughest times.” This is a book to read if you are having difficulty with a loss of your own, or to give to a friend or family member going through a similar ordeal.
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Feb 17, 2014 KariF
You Can Heal Your Heart is written by Louise Hay and David Kessler. I have had a ton of positive experience with Louise Hay. However, David Kessler is not someone I had read before (but I will definitely be reading more from).

The book is full of personal stories, which I easily related to and, more importantly, learned from. The stories show how people were able to overcome their loss through various methods, and many of them had me in tears because they were so detailed and easy to relate to.

The Book Covers All Kinds Of Loss

I was surprised at the types of loss that were mentioned in this book. When you think of loss, you think mostly of death. But, as I realized in this book, there is a lot more to loss than just death.

The book even discusses a type of loss that you can't fully express because you fear that others will judge you for being so emotional over something so silly. For instance, many people are scared to openly grieve their pets in front of other people because some people are quick to say, "It's just an animal, get over it!" I've seen this time and time again with my friends and family.

As I read through the book I could relate to each and every loss in some way. Even losses discussed in the book that had not happened directly to me had happened to my friends or family.

If you have dealt with any kind of loss, such as the loss of a job, lover, marriage, or even the loss of the life you expected, then this book will help you look at that loss in a brand new way through some insightful information and positive affirmations.

If You Are Struggling With A Particular Area Of Loss, Then 'You Can Heal Your Heart' Will Resonate With You

One thing I noticed was that as I read the chapters about break and divorce, I found the information interesting and useful, but it didn't resonate with me in the moment. I write a lot about breaking up and surviving heartbreak, and I have personally done a lot of breaking up and surviving heartbreak, so those topics didn't hit an emotional button for me.

But when I got to the chapter about the death of a loved one, I broke down crying just from the title of the chapter. The chapter helped me look at my grandparent's death in a different way and helped me to face the future death of my parents and other loved ones in a new light.

Therefore, I think that if you are going through a breakup or divorce, then those chapters will resonate with you as strongly as the chapters regarding death did with me.

I suppose if you are not going through any loss and you have dealt with the losses in your life, then you may not resonate strongly with any chapters. You may have a good handle on dealing with loss right, and the book may not be as valuable to you as it would be to others.

In the end, You Can Heal Your Heart gives us a new way to look at loss and replace the common negative things we tell ourselves with something more empowering. That ultimately helps us to move forward with love, and live our lives in the moment, instead of being stuck in a negative state.

Interested? Read more reviews and find the book on Amazon here: You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After a Breakup, Divorce, or Death

I received this book from Hay House to review as a part of the Book Nook blogger program. I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. As per my disclosure, the links to the book are my affiliate links.
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