I’ve been writing about manifestation and the Law of Attraction for a whopping SEVEN years now! And I’m still a believer 1000%.
But as is the case with so much in life, there is such thing as too much of a good thing.
Case in point: multiple times a week I see people in the Law of Attraction / spiritual or wellness communities using these supposedly spiritual principles in a harmful way.
The truth is a lot of these concepts came from the New Thought movement–and there are some very old-fashioned flawed ideas in there that over time have become even more self-centered and harmful.
If we never stop to question these things, they will continue to be taught the way they always were even though there are more healthy nuanced perspectives available to us today.
I’m writing this today because I passionately believe there’s still so much goodness in the world of manifestation. But we must also think critically about these issues and ensure that we’re not accidentally creating more world problems.
My primary work here is healing. And if I’m accidentally creating harm while I do that, I want to become aware of it so that I can change. I’m always looking for ways to present these concepts that are not harmful. But sometimes that’s difficult to do through something as short as an inspirational quote!
So here’s my deep dive into the topic today. This list is by no means exhaustive but I sincerely hope it shines some much needed light on some of the darkness and opens up a path for our collective healing.
6 Ways The Law of Attraction Can Become Harmful
Law of Attraction Harmful Element #1:
The perfect ideal future, body, life: it sounds like a great thing right?
Only problem being that “perfect” doesn’t really exist.
Don’t get it wrong! This idea can is useful–but only to a certain degree. Dreaming about what we want is the first step for us to start creating that reality.
The idea of perfection can quickly become toxic when we think that we can “manifest” our way to a 100%-problem free happiness-only reality.
Furthermore, this way of thinking can prevent us from being happy now. Setting our sights this high can mean we never become happy–because we’re always waiting for that one perfect day (that never arrives).
We’re human. We will have problems till the day we day. Accidents, illnesses and death are simply a fact of life.
Instead of expecting perfection and blaming ourselves and our “toxic thoughts” when we don’t get there, it’s much more useful to learn better coping and healing mechanisms for those unhappy emotions.
Law of Attraction Harmful Element #2:
“Often [people] recall events in history where masses of lives were lost, and they find it incomprehensible that so many people could have attracted themselves to the event. By the law of attraction, they had to be on the same frequency as the event. It doesn’t necessarily mean they thought of that exact event, but the frequency of their thoughts matched the frequency of the event. If people believe they can be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they have no control over outside circumstances, those thoughts of fear, separation, and powerlessness, if persistent, can attract them to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Rhonda Byrne, The Secret
That my friends, is possibly the most offensive thing that Rhonda Byrne has ever written.
Throughout my work, I’m always here to empower–not to tell anyone that they created the negative circumstances in their life.
To do otherwise is to inflict even more trauma and pain on people who need healing work–in my mind the very opposite of true spirituality.
Victim blaming (whether that’s on yourself or others) is more than just a lack of empathy. It can be straight up emotional abuse.
Who exactly are you helping by telling someone they caused their own cancer?
Taking responsibility for your entire life does create power. But let’s not twist that into something else entirely.
People ever deserve trauma/abuse etc. Ever. Period.
Law of Attraction Harmful Element #3:
Mistaking Wealth For Enlightenment
Manifestation can be used for a lot of amazing things, including simple personal growth.
But what it’s most commonly used for is manifesting money.
Now money in itself isn’t wrong. (I argue that capitalism is but that’s a different conversation for another day.)
Somewhere along the way, the Law of Attraction community began to echo the prosperity gospel church: the richer you are, the more evolved you must be.
Cue: a bunch of manifestation teachers posing with their Chanel bags on Instagram.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with owning (or desiring) a Chanel handbag.
But we have to make it explicitly clear doing more healing and spiritual work will not automatically populate your closet with designer goods.
Some of my favorite spiritual teachers are not the Heels and Tesla types at all. Yet their work, their life, and their influence is just as valuable as those with flashy Instagram visuals.
Yes, you can create it all. And yes, you have permission to stack your closet if you want to!
But please don’t mistake one as evidence of the other. And don’t choose your spiritual teachers that way either.
(As a side note, don’t limit your spiritual journey by only listening blondes on Balinese beaches. It’s fine to listen to that type of teacher but it’s always good to get your teachings from a wide variety of humans.)
Law of Attraction Harmful Element #4:
Ignoring Collective Karma
“Do not talk about poverty; do not investigate it, or concern yourself with it. Do not spend your time in charitable work, or charity movements, all charity only tends to perpetuate the wretchedness it aims to eradicate.” and “Give your attention wholly to riches; ignore poverty.” – Wallace Wattles
Oh look another quote that makes me cringe.
One of the things that attracts me to the world of manifestation and Law of Attraction is the emphasis on personal power.
Learned helplessness and a victim mentality are real. And I can confidently say that after living part of my life feeling out of control and helpless and part of it feeling like the true architect of my own destiny, that one side is definitely much more enjoyable than the other.
However, this is another concept that gets a little twisted in the spiritual community. Sometimes when we take control of our own life, we also start pointing the victim-blaming finger at those who have not created the same results we have. (“They haven’t evolved like I have yet.”)
However, what works for one person is not always the cure for everyone else. Every situation is different and not taking into account this bigger picture can be harmful. Ignoring factors like race and class perpetuates the trauma of self-blame rather than creating healing.
The Law of Attraction was not meant to create legions of self-centered and downright selfish people. But when we refuse to have compassion for others in the world, that’s exactly what happens.
Make no mistake: we’re here to help clear TWO levels of karma. There’s your personal karma and spiritual path that you are here to work on.
Then there’s the collective karma: the stuff that no one person is responsible for but that we all need to put a hand into healing. (Think: poverty, racism, etc.)
Blaming or turning your back on others or shrugging when they’re not where you are at, is not how this healing can be facilitated. Neither is shrugging your shoulders at world events.
Law of Attraction Harmful Element #5:
What do systemic abuse, racism, sexism, ableism etc have in common?
It’s obvious to me that the real reason there are so many narcissists in the world today is that narcissism is baked into our culture.
The idea that any one skin color, sex, ability level etc is better than another is 100% human ego based BS. It’s not your spirit saying that. It’s your cultural conditioning. Which means as spiritual people, we have to actively become better at healing this within ourselves and society at large.
The Law of Attraction can definitely contribute to this narcissism. Focusing only on yourself all the time and dismissing everyone else is a form of narcissism. But while we’re at it, so can other spiritual concepts like starseeds etc.
Just because a concept is spiritual in nature, does not mean we should accept it without question. Again, I also firmly believe there’s a healthy way to hold onto these spiritual concepts without feeding our ego brain’s need to be special–aka narcissism. We just need to be more collectively aware of this happening.
(Conspiracy theories –like vaccine deniers–also feed our ego/narcissism brain by telling us we’re smarter than everyone else. A lot of conspiracy theories will ask you if something “feels right” in your body to know whether it’s true or not. And yeah, thinking you’re smarter than everyone is going to feel very good to your ego based brain!)
Law of Attraction Harmful Element #6:
One of the biggest problems I see with the spiritual/manifestation community is the mistaken belief that you have to rely on your mind to heal everything. (Or alternately to blame you for “attracting” cancer, illness etc.)
There really are teachers out there who will tell you you’re not spiritual if you dare to take modern medicine. How utterly harmful is that?
Yes, your brain has incredible power. Yes, the placebo effect is real. And yes, you can heal yourself.
But none of that means you also have to ignore modern-day science while you’re at it.
This isn’t an either or proposition and it never was. Which makes me wonder who exactly is responsible for this lie?
Let’s contrast that for a second. I also believe you can create a healthier body through the power of positive thinking too. But just because I believe that, I don’t shame people for going to the gym.
I have no idea how this spirituality vs science thing became so mainstream. There’s absolutely no reason you can’t have both! And in fact, you already are, if you take a Tylenol for your headache or wash your hands after using the bathroom.
If you noticed yourself in here, don’t get caught up in self-blame. No one is talking about this stuff but today I’m hoping to change all that. I’m not here to lead a cancellation-thirsty crowd. But I do believe it’s important to address every single one of these uncomfortable topics.
Let’s make it a point to use the principles of the Law of Attraction in a humanity and healing-focused way.
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