The law of attraction is a popular concept these days, with celebrity endorsements and all kinds of seminars that are built upon using the principle of the law of attraction to make your life more fulfilling in whatever capacity you feel you are lacking. But is this philosophy true, and is it truly helpful?
I wrote a post a little while ago about the importance of critical thinking in the intuitive arts, and how there are many half-truths being peddled that end up doing more harm than good. The law of attraction in its popular form is one of those half-truth pieces of poo. I feel it deserves its own post.
So, here’s the deal. It’s said that if you want something and set the intention that you will have it, and visualize and work hard and make sure to think positively all the time, you will get that thing you want. In nature, like attracts like, they say.
When I was really little there was this stuffed animal raffle at an away basketball game that my sister was in. I wanted this stuffed lion so bad. I visualized having it, I thought positively about it the whole game, I got my mom to enter me into the raffle, and waited as patiently as a little girl can for the raffle winners to be announced. I was sure it was mine. Someone else won.
Did I do something wrong? No.
You can work hard for something, believe in it, visualize it, and still not obtain it. This is experientially true. The purpose of this post isn’t to rationalize the reason you don’t get what you want, so I won’t go into that, but it’s important to remember that we do not always get what we want regardless of what any guru or celebrity promises and regardless of how badly we want it.
For a universal law to be a law it has to be true all the time. The “law of attraction” is, demonstrably, not true all the time. As a general rule, like actually repels like (think magnets) in nature.
The law of attraction (popularly) states that if you focus on positive thinking, positive things will happen to you, and if you focus on negative thinking, negative things will happen to you. I’m about to be very blunt, so brace yourselves. Did a crack baby not think positively enough in the womb? Did an abused child invite the abuser into their life with his or her thoughts? Did Jewish people invite the holocaust with negative thinking?
Of course not. In this context you can see how this philosophy is at worst victim blaming and atrocious.
Or conversely, how would a proponent of this butchered principle explain the good things that happen to chronically pessimistic people, or depressed people, or anxious people who spend all day focused on the worst possible outcomes?
The blame cycle of the law of attraction exists to make sure that you don’t question the validity of the hypothesis. If you don’t get what you want, you obviously weren’t thinking positively enough so it’s your fault and maybe you should buy this book or take this seminar to get better at practicing this ‘law,’ (conveniently named so to give it more credit), or just shut up already. This is nefarious pseudo-spirituality and pseudo-metaphysics. This is what makes it a dangerous rabbit hole.
There are people working their own wills in this world. That’s why the the holocaust happened, crack babies happen, abuse happens, a depressed person gets a bouquet of flowers just because, etc. because there are people enacting their wills and affecting their lives and the lives of others (for good or bad).
Positive thinking is helpful because it is what leads to taking action. Taking action is what leads to changes and results. Results, however, are not guaranteed. Ditch the shame game that is ‘The Law Of Attraction’ and work your will by actively committing to and going after what you want without the excess concern about whether or not you’re thinking positively enough. You can’t control outcomes, but you can influence them. You don’t need to believe in fake science or take on the baggage that comes with it. You just need to believe in yourself, take action, and accept life for the crapshoot it is.