The Law of Attraction: An Analysis.

My preaching of the Law of Attraction and manifesting has always been accompagnied by disclaimers and a message of common sense/reality. At least, I hope so. I know I run a total positivity-for-president website, but still. I hope you noticed.

In case you hadn’t, let’s take a trip down memory lane:

Lately, I have been re-evaluating how I think about the Law of Attraction. For me, it grew into an adaptive and beneficial cognitive strategy I use, more so than the whole “The Secret” of it all. Over the past two years, it has given me so much. Great focus on the things I love and the things I want, it helped me monitor my mood and mind and most importantly, it made me a happier person. It was a great continuous exercise in positivity and it has internalized (current moods excluded). That’s how and why I ‘believe’ in the Law of Attraction.

However, I’m not blind, deaf or stupid*. This theory has GAPING HOLES in it. I’ve been thinking about these inconsistencies a lot. More than ever, I understand the skeptics. That doesn’t mean you can just be a negative nancy without some self-reflection and at least some sort of attempt to govern your own happiness, but I do get why Law of Attraction related stuff isn’t always the best thing to use for everyone.

So I decided to give the Law of Attraction a complete, honest look-over. Putting my own twist on the Law of Attraction as I understand and use it aside, let’s look at Law of Attraction The Main Theory for a little in this long ass article.

NOTE: I am not trying to convince you either way. I want to give you the information on the Law of Attraction (as I understand it naturally, but still) so you can formulate your own answer to questions about the subject. I actually think that is a lot more useful for you in the long run anyway.

So let’s start out with why (I think) the Law of Attraction quite possibly doesn’t exist. Bear with me for a second:

  • [FACT] There is -still- no actual scientific empirical data on the ‘Law’ in the strict sense. There is some research to concepts that are a part of the Law of Attraction Theory (adverse effects of pessimism, positive effects of gratitude, positive thoughts and visualisation) but the Law-part has never been proven.
  • [PERSONAL] While I was feeling like crap and being caught up in negative thinking I have seen ZERO evidence of ‘making it worse by my own negative thinking’. I wasn’t happy, obviously, but everything was pretty neutral and stayed as it was. That I was being a negative little shit about everything (and that this obviously wasn’t fun and didn’t make things better besides the point!) did not do any further harm for as far as I can tell.
  • [OBSERVATION] There are lots of people who are negative little shits ALL THE TIME and who seem to do just fine without their negative thinking getting them in the way. They are not as happy as the positive people, but doom doesn’t follow them around the way it should according to the principle of the LoA.
  • [OBSERVATION] There are also lots of positive people who despite all their positivity have horrible things happen to them. If you take the Law of Attraction 100% literal (pro tip: FUCKING DON’T) this means it is always a manifestation of what they were thinking or feeling. When they are little beacons of pure positivity, how come they have to deal with drama?
  • [FACT] The world is fucking unfair. For me, personally this cannot be explained solely in terms of the Law of Attraction. This is something that’s just incompatible with my personal view of the world, other people and how things work.
  • [PSYCHOLOGY] Confirmation bias: A psychological phenomenon where we only notice and/or remember things that confirm our own hypothesis or views and that we subconsciously disregard and forget the evidence that is not in line with our frame of reference. I will notice things I get from the Universe, but not so much the things I have also asked for that I haven’t gotten so far.

Sheesh. I think I need to go lie down.

No wait, my planet needs me.

Here’s why the Law of Attraction might still be okay to use:

  • [FACT] The Law of Attraction exercises and practicalities include a lot of things that are good for a person. Gratitude, positive thinking, the belief something out there in the great beyond is rooting for you, trying to brush off negativity; you can’t tell me that that’s not good psychological behavior.
  • [PSYCHOLOGY] Priming: The principle that when you give attention to a certain thing beforehand, by thinking about it, talking about it, looking at it, your brain will register that very thing in real life quicker and easier.
  • [OBSERVATION] I don’t believe in everything, but I believe two things:

1) Just because we can’t explain or prove something yet shouldn’t mean it should be excluded completely all the time, especially not in personal use.

2) Energy. After my energetic healing sessions and the course I did afterwards, I know people, things and situations carry a certain type of energy. Maybe it’s made out of a 1000 tiny little signals or subconscious observations that create that energy or maybe it truly is energy itself; but to me energy is a thing. A real thing. And if I can manipulate my own energy by aligning my thoughts and feelings with what I love, want and what I think is good, I will damn well do it.

  • [OBSERVATION] Law of Attraction teaches you that you are one of the most deciding factors in how your life is going to turn out and that you should take this responsibility serious, beyond just your actions but into your own mind (because that influences your actions). I like that.
  • [PSYCHOLOGY] Self efficacy is the belief that you are able to do something, and psychological studies have been shown that just the belief you can do something will increase the likelihood you actually will pull it off, even controlled for your actual ability. When working with the Law of Attraction you can create this belief that you are able to do/have/be what you want, and this alone can increase the chances of you getting it.
  • [OBVERSATION] I have had a lot of weird, special stuff happening to me (best friend, boyfriend, apartment, job, people coming into my life, finding things) that I could attribute to manifesting. I prefer this over being lucky because it indicates I at least could play some sort of active role by having put my desires out there.  It increases my self efficacy (see previous point) as well as my motivation to be responsible for what I think and feel as well as my behavior.

When doing all of this analyzing of the LoA, I reread my own articles as well as my own e-book. To my great relief I still stand by what I say, and would still give most of the same advice to anyone. I was even a bit amazed at the examples I gave throughout the chapters – I had forgotten about a lot of them, especially some of the crazier ones.

So there you have it. My tl;dr analysis about the Law of Attraction. Short summary: I cannot say the Law of Attraction is an absolute truth in the tested-and-stamped sense. I wish it was, but it isn’t. I can say that it works on some levels, psychologically.

I came to the conclusion that despite the flaws and lack of evidence that I fully acknowledge, I still appreciate the Law of Attraction as one of the most adaptive, fun and beneficial strategies to use in life. If you do it Self Help Hipster style right.

*Only when sleep-deprived, promise.

Leave a Reply

13 comments

  1. Your memory lane point #4 can be summed up by one of my favourite quotes.
    “wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first!”

  2. Hey SHH,

    Interessante post. Ik vroeg me af: heb je weleens iets van Carl Jung over synchroniciteit gelezen, of iets over synchroniciteit in het algemeen? Dat heeft natuurlijk veel raakvlakken met de LoA. Synchroniciteit gaat er voor mijn gevoel meer over dat er iets op je pad komt dat je de weg wijst, lijkt te wijzen – zinvol toeval. Kan dan weer uren nadenken over hoe dat dan kan ontstaan (hoewel ‘zinvol’ natuurlijk uiterst persoonlijk is): komt het op je pad (synchroniciteit) of manifesteer je het (LoA)? Geen idee of daar ooit een antwoord uit volgt, maar het is in ieder geval boeiende materie.

  3. Hoi Self Help Hipster 🙂
    Het deed mij ook denken aan het existentialisme waarin de opvatting heerst dat je geboren wordt als een tabula rasa en vervolgens alles wat je wordt en wat in je leven komt helemaal zelf bepaalt. Dat betekent ook dat je voor alles zelf verantwoordelijkheid draagt.

    Ook bovenstaande over Jung is interessant! Hebben de makers van de theorie uit deze bronnen geput?

    Verder lees ik (nog niet zo lang) met plezier je artikelen! Je hebt een heel erg leuke stijl en je weet je echt goed uit te drukken in het Engels! (Ik vind het goede schrijven, vooral in het Nederlands er nog wel eens bij inschieten bij veel bloggers, dus vind het heel leuk dat je zo’n goede taalbeheersing hebt!)
    Cool! Happy thoughts! 🙂

  4. echt love it dat je er zo’n nuchtere draai aan geeft. Dat je niet zegt dat de LOA ALTIJD werkt en dat mensen die dus een ongeneselijke ziekte hebben, dit hun eigen schuld is (om maar een voorbeeldje te geven)

    Ik sta er overigens ook zo in. Net als bij mijn godsdienst, pak ik ook uit de LOA de dingen eruit die voor MIJ werken en waar IK ook echt iets aan heb.

  5. Het lijkt me een gezonde theorie. Je maakt je leven ook gewoon leuker als je positief in het leven staat. Beter dan je hele leven negatief blijven. Dat laatste lijkt me echt heel vervelend.

    xx

  6. I don’t really want to go over every little thing you wrote, because most of it has obviously been discussed before (by people who actually make this work quite well) and if you research a little, you’ll find thousand of answers from people all over the internet. That being said, let’s just go over the reasons that keep you from believing the LOA exists.
    1) Expecting LOA to be backed up by scientific proof is (still) a waste of time for two reasons: 1. We don’t know enough about energy and it’s connection to our brain yet, so though there’s evidence of it, there’s not much science heads can do about it, since it’s currently still impossible to connect the dots. Another important thing to bear in mind is that even though many people have been achieving what they want, the formulas used differ from person to person. And it’s not something we’ve learned to completely control yet, otherwise all of us would be wealthy and immortal. Just like I said, we don’t know enough about our universe as we should by now.
    2. Most scientists don’t dare to investigate about it because there’s still not enough information to conduct a serious research (though in the past we’ve had good results with brain-energy connection experiments- if you look it up you’ll know what I’m talking about). Also, if the LOA was proven apart from the huge impact it’d make on everyone’s life….just imagine what would happen if everyone could have whatever they wanted. Imagine no one needing doctors, scientists… that’s what I’d call “The World’s Destruction”, I think it’s actually good it hasn’t been proved and I honestly hope it won’t soon.
    2) You say you felt depressed but didn’t see evidence of it in your life. Well, then why were you depressed in the first place? You might say everyone has bad days which is true, I won’t deny it but people who use the LOA don’t usually feel disconnected enough to get depressed. You assume your reality didn’t match your vibration because you were feeling bad but your reality remained the same. Well If your reality was good enough in the 1st place, would you get depressed at all? I don’t think so. The manifestation you claim to haven’t witnessed was your reality becoming worse but you actually DID witness a manifestation, the opposite one of what you were looking for. Your reality remained the same because what was manifested was your “depression”. Think about it again. Is it that confusing now?
    3) You say negative people don’t let negative thoughts get in their way, what makes you say that? You see good things happening to them but that’s YOUR perception. Just like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so is one’s life. Let’s put it simply: Since having money is a desire we all share in common, let’s just imagine someone who earns twice as much as you, you might say they lead a better life than you but do they? Remember “vibrations create your reality but they’re intimately connected to your personal beliefs”. That person may seem to have something you’d kill to have but what if they want much more than that, what if that amount is not enough for them? Would you still say their negativity isn’t getting in the way for their goal accomplishments?
    4) It’s exactly like this answer above…People don’t create reality through their thoughts or feelings unless those feelings are of unflinching belief they’re going to get what they want so they can get vibrate accordingly to it. What may seem like shit to you, might not be anything at all to some people, also some people surprisingly, especially happy people, actually have been proven to enjoy having a bit drama in their life. It makes life more exciting. The one’s who don’t most likely hold a personal belief they haven’t gotten rid of, that attracts shit into their lives. Example “God gives the heaviest burden to those who can carry it”; “I’m the type of person who always stands up, no matter what”…at 1st glance this are empowering thoughts but at a 2nd glance, are they? Whoever says this obviously holds a belief that no matter how good things seem to be, something bad will happen and though they’re strong enough to get through it, they still expect something unfortunate to happen to them. There are also other reasons, like the “fake” happy people, who smile at you and then cry when you turn your back and the happy people who don’t believe in themselves or the achievement of their own goals.
    5) If you’re talking about poverty, wars, animal cruelty, children abuse, rape, murders, etc…That’s called a global manifestation. Though everyone wants to put a stop to it, and many fight against it, less than 10% of our global population believes they can. If that wasn’t the case, everyone would be doing way more to stop it than they are currently.
    6) You said it all, that’s the Loa but with a few twists. Yes, you can only manifest things that are within your range of vibration but that doesn’t mean you’re disregarding any evidence. You find evidence with your beliefs that’s why you can’t see the same I see in both 3) and 4), but that doesn’t mean my reality is real and yours is not or the opposite. You see the evidence of your beliefs through your life and I see mine. That’s it. No one’s reality is more real than the other.

    *There’s no scientific evidence that stands for the Loa but there’s also no evidence against it. Actually the scientific world has been presented with more experiments where it’s principles have worked than the opposite.

    1. Thanks for your elaborate response, Demi, in which you actually did go over every little thing I said. I am not going to do the same because I can tell we are not going to agree. When I read your comment all I could thing of was that you’re clearly very convinced of your own belief system. Must be nice.

      – If I researched a little I would find correct anwers? Oh, really? You mean the anecdotes of everyone ever who found something in line with the principle of manifesting? You think I haven’t read that? Feel free to provide me with links that you think will have an impact on the way I think.

      – “If your reality was good enough in the 1st place, would you get depressed at all?” Actually, yes, this is possible. You can get depressed purely because this is something that happens neurobiologically, without an external cause present. Not everything is to blame on the person themselves/the environment. I think this is exactly the problem with the Law of Attraction. It tries to hard to be a Law and to explain everything and becomes offensive and off putting in the process.

      1. No, I didn’t go over every little thing, mostly because it’s not in my interest to argue with anyone over personal beliefs. I replied to your post with a different point of view.

        Since you’re also very convinced of your own belief system, I guess you know the feeling so there is no need for the apparently sarcastic “Must be nice” .

        Now, with all due respect but it doesn’t really matter to me whether my reply to your post had any impact on you, changing your point of view wasn’t my intention to begin with. My intention was to provide your blog traffic with a different mindset so they aren’t limited to your point of view alone.
        Also, what do you want me to send you links for since you said it yourself, you consider it to be “anecdotes”?

        Since you seem to enjoy science and science has studied depression many, many times, you should know that 80% of it’s causes are (indeed!) due to environment and the person themselves. That doesn’t mean people are to blame for being depressed, most of the time they are the last ones to know they’re sick themselves. The environment and people’s life provide triggers which in turn affect the person on a neurological level. Why do you think depression rates go up whenever crisis does?
        Every depression has a trigger, no one wakes up one week and says “Man, I feel like being depressed this week”. Unless you’re confusing extreme sadness with depression. If you are then you’re right, you can feel extremely sad for no reason, but depressed? Depressed is on a whole ‘nother level and if you’ve had it before you should know that.

        Reading between the lines, it seems to me you’re having problems accepting the fact that we’re not victims of luck, destiny or any other type of thing and that we should be responsible for our lives.
        But the truth is that we are not victims, no matter how much we all want to be. And especially NOT because loa says so but because even without the loa…if you’re not responsible for your own life then who is?

        1. Demi, I came across more rude than was my intention. Thank you for providing me and my readers with your point of view.

          Incorrect statements in your last comment:

          – I don’t think it’s 80% and there is no huge scientific study taking all populations over different establishments and countries together, to my knowledge. I haven’t seen a meta-analysis like that yet, and I have seen different estimates. Of course it’s a big percentage because we are affected by what happens around us, of course a crisis is correlated to higher levels of depression. Life does provide triggers that affect you neurologically, especially if you have a tendency for depression. But you can also get depressed from a purely neurochemical standpoint without ANY external cause.

          – What you read between the lines of me having a problem with being responsible for our own lives is dead wrong. This website is filled with articles about doing just that. There is a huge difference between not using the Law of Attraction to explain everything and leaving some room for coincidence and chance, and not taking responsibility for our own lives.

          1. I apologize if I also came across as rude, that wasn’t my intention at all.
            After reading your reply I think I actually agree with you at some points.
            I feel a little offended when people claim the loa isn’t true because I often forget the loa was introduced to the world by the so called “The Secret”, which sounds like a bunch of rubbish to me. “The Secret” glamourized a theory that has been around for years and made it sound as easy as child’s play which is not. It’s something that might actually take a lifetime to (come close to) master.
            The 1st time, I saw the book, I laughed for what seemed like hours, but fortunately years later I found my own “loa”. I don’t seem to be able to explain myself all that well so I’ll give you a link with some of it’s most basic concepts:

            http://www.oshonews.com/2011/09/positive-thinking-osho/

            Hope you have a good read, tell me what you think.

          2. Hi Dei, no worries – me neither. I think we actually think a lot more alike than we initially thought, because I wholeheartedly agree with you on The Secret, which is basically ‘How To Color For 2-Year Olds’ while really working with the Law of Attraction is ‘How To Create The Sistine Chapel.’ I loved the Secret at first glance but later learnt it is a lot more complicated and that the theory is very complex (and unable to explain everything, at least to me, just yet) The Secret, in my opinion, did more harm than good for the reputation of the LoA.

            I like Osho’s philopshopy actually. Last night I was scrolling through Tumblr and suddenly all these Osho quotes appeared. Synchronicity much?

            As said in the post, there are some things about my life that can be explained by the LoA but because it just isn’t complete (to me) I like to present the picture as I understand it thus far, in a way that is relatable and understandable for a bigger public.