Louise Hay on the self-help audience and affirmations

Louise Hay with Ray Hemachandra in Tampa, Florida

Ray: Why do you think the American audience for self-help titles primarily is made up of women?

Louise: Because women are more open. They are more open, so they start. The audience is women, gays, and then men. We are getting some more men now. I also wonder if people like Anthony Robbins, who is a very manly man, attracts more men. I don’t know.

I’ll tell you something else that surprised me: A few years ago I was in Barcelona, Spain, and I spoke to a huge audience. Ninety-eight percent of them were couples — him and her. They came together, and I thought, “Oh, my, all these men!” It was very interesting.

Ray: When I read You Can Heal Your Life, I always am struck by how practical the information is. And that flies in the face of generalizations — the airy-fairy, pie-in-the-sky stereotype — about the work you and other self-help authors do. Such generalizations might contribute to the disinterest of many men.

Are there ways authors can project a better image of their work to the general public, so more people will be open to the material?

Louise: People have to be ready. Again, they say when the student is ready, the teacher appears — and not a moment before.

You can’t force this down people’s throats or their minds or their ears. You can’t force it. They have to be ready to make a step.

Ray: When people first encounter affirmations in particular, they often resist, or even belittle, the idea of them.

Louise: Sure, because it’s something new. They don’t know about it.

Ray: What are some tacks for getting people past the resistance of their preconceptions?

Louise: Explain to people that everything they say is an affirmation. Everything they think is an affirmation. Everything!

What you want to do is to get control of what you are saying and thinking, so these things bring you good experiences in life rather than rotten experiences.

I have trained my ear to hear what people say. I can immediately tell where they are going wrong for what they want.

If people just understand that everything is an affirmation — they are affirming that life sucks, or they are affirming that life is good, or all the different variations — they will learn how to heal their lives.

*Read this full interview, conducted for New Age Retailer magazine in 2005, on Louise Hay’s website, and read a lengthy excerpt from a 2008 interview with Louise here on Hemachandra.com.

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