Louise Hay Shares Her Secret For Aging Gracefully
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Louise Hay Shares Her Secret For Aging GracefullyA Tip For Feeling Comfortable In Your Skin
It was a warm November day in Tampa, and Louise Hay had just delivered the welcome address to more than 3,000 attendees of Hay House’s “I Can Do It” conference. Standing at the side of the room, I watched as the sold-out crowd erupted in affectionate applause when she announced that she was in her ninth decade, and that it was the best one of her life so far. It was such an inspiring moment.
As we walked to our hotel, I studied Louise as she walked purposefully toward the front door. A unique blend of funky and elegant, she was dressed in a flowery crinkled shirt draped over tight-fitting leggings. She radiated the energy of youth and the beauty of aged wisdom.
We arrived at the hotel and headed up to Louise’s room. She immediately opened the balcony doors, and I felt a comfortable breeze graze my skin while I scoped out a place to sit. I flopped down, cross-legged, on a wingback chair near a stunning arrangement of flowers—lilies, tulips, sunflowers, and raspberry-colored roses—resting on the center of a coffee table in the middle of the room. “The flowers are a gift from someone who needed my help last week,” she told me. “They make me so happy.”
She made her way to the kitchenette and proceeded to make us each a cup of tea. While she removed the tea bags from their wrapping, she shared her excitement at having found a new black velvet cover for her iPad—the latest technology tool she’d been enjoying with gusto. I realized that even at age 84, Louise is an eternal student. I so admired her curiosity and hunger for learning.
Louise Hay's Secret To Aging Gracefully
I set my tools around me and wondered what Louise knew at 84 about feeling comfortable in her skin that I could learn at 51. I asked her how she looked and felt so good at her age—what was her secret?
“Well, to me it comes down to loving yourself, loving your body, and making peace with the aging process,” she replied. “You can’t do anything well or for the long term without loving yourself first. When you love yourself, you care about your body, and you care about what you put into it. You also care about the thoughts you choose to think.”
So if we’re diligent about practicing what we’ve talked about in our book, You Can Create an Exceptional Life, we’ll have a much easier time as we age?
“Yes. Life has gotten much easier for me because I’ve learned how to plan my experiences. My positive affirmations go before me, smoothing the way. I make a point to anticipate what I would like to experience in the future. For instance, today I needed to do three errands, so I affirmed: This is a glorious day, and every experience is a joyous adventure. As I entered each of the three different stores, I found lovely salespeople making friendly conversation with me. One clerk and I even laughed and laughed over something silly. Each of these experiences was a small yet joyous adventure. Part of the wisdom of aging is to find joy in even the simplest situations. When we live our lives to the fullest, we’re going to make the little things in life wonderful and good and important.”
I noted that as we get older and lose friends or family members, it seems that we value our connection to others more, even the kind of connection Louise was talking about in these everyday situations.
“We could, or it could make us bitter. We can choose to be bitter about losing loved ones, or we can choose to reach out to new people and fill the emptiness.”
The more I got to know Louise, the more I could appreciate, on a deep level, the value of putting good thought habits in place early in life. When she talked about her approach to living, it was clear that she had invested a lot of time and energy in managing her mind. As a result, this investment has given her a far more positive view of aging. Her vigilance about living life with purpose and intention keeps paying great dividends year after year. As I’ve witnessed her response to life, I keep being reminded to deepen this habit myself.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Louise admitted. “I’ve faced the same challenges most people do as they age—wrinkles, weight gain, stiffness, hair loss, and noticing that young men no longer look longingly at me. But there’s no use making myself miserable about things I cannot change. We’re all going to age. I’ve just made a decision to take care of myself and love myself no matter what.