A new year brings new hopes, dreams and an endless stream of strategies to help you meet your goals.
It’s also a time of year when you are likely to hear a lot about manifestation, a concept with deep roots in history and collated in Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling book, The Secret, which is based on the law of attraction. Basically, the assertion is that if you put yourself in a positive mindset, good things will happen to you.
With the growth in people talking about quantum physics and arguing that via a quantum field, people can actually create their own reality by mentally occupying it.
As per usual these days, manifestation has become a polarizing issue, with some people supporting it has supernatural effectiveness and others who say it’s just ineffective wishful thinking.
Manifesting, or the practice of thinking aspirational thoughts with the purpose of making them real, has spurred an internet craze and a new echelon of professionals. For example, #luckygirlsyndrome on TikTok, which has garnered more than 80 million views, surged early this year as scores of young women posted videos raving about the life-changing effects of becoming a “lucky girl”. Lucky Girl Syndrome is simple: If you repeat positive affirmations and truly believe in yourself – repeating “I’m so lucky, things work out for me” – good things will come to you. As part of the backlash, critics weighed to call out the pressure to consistently think good thoughts as toxic and potentially damaging for those who struggle with their mental and emotional health, and to call the trend ableist and steeped in privilege.
Brinda Iyer, a PR and communications manager based in Mumbai, India is not convinced in the power of positive thinking alone.
“I don’t believe in manifestation purely as I truly think for thoughts to come alive you have to put in a certain amount of hard work, take the right steps and charge towards it headfirst. For example, I cannot wish for something only and hope things fall in place. As humans, our only purpose is to try relentlessly and that will yield results.”
Having tried manifestation techniques unsuccessfully, Iyer prefers to control her own destiny through hard work.
“I don’t want all my manifestations to come true. Sometimes we tend to get so overwhelmed with what we want — could be a person, a job, or a situation — and we wish for things, not fully realizing what we would do if it came true.”
While Iyer is a self-proclaimed skeptic, UK based manifestation coach Esther McCann leans in, and encourages others to do the same. In a recent Instagram reel (@missmanifesther) she says, “This trend is not just for the ladies. It is for anybody to step into the energy that they are lucky, that they are blessed, that they are fortunate, that they are favored and that everything is working out for you all of the time. Everything is working in your favor and that you can always connect to your highest path, to your path of least resistance so that things are more effortless and easy. You are not knocking on 100 doors. You are just primed and aligned to be at that one door that is meant for you.”
McCann believes in manifesting as a way to achieve goals because she says it completely changed her life.
“When I understood that my beliefs about myself, and the possibilities available to me, were either supporting or hindering my expansion; and when I started to make my own changes, I saw amazing results in every area of my life. Manifesting comes from within us, it’s not just about the tools and intention-setting rituals. It’s a blend of energy, trust, belief and action. Who you are being, determines what you create and attract. If I am not manifesting things that I desire, or am repeating undesirable patterns, I will always look inwards.”
“As a manifestation coach, I help people release their subconscious resistance to love, money, success and more. In doing so, they create new empowering belief systems that allow them to create a life of happiness on their terms, and become a frequency match for their desires. I do this using manifestation techniques, mindset coaching and energy healing tools such as EFT [Emotional Freedom Technique].”
Whether you believe in manifestation or not, the power of positivity is undeniable; a smile begets a smile and a compliment lifts the spirits but how do you measure manifestation to actually prove it?
McCann says that it’s not purely quantitative.
“There’s often a blend of specific desires being fulfilled as well as generally more things to feel blessed about. I always say as well, the way you feel about yourself and life is an indicator that things are about to shift for you. It isn’t about feeling happy when you get the stuff, it’s about finding peace and contentment in the now, and good things follow from there.”
Esther McCann is set to launch her first book, Manifesting Journal: How to attract all good things, in July 2023 under Penguin Random House.