Before I begin, let’s all get on the same page. Manifestation is the concept that a person can “call” something into existence through Intention, prayer, or thought. People have been talking about manifestation and the law of attraction for a long time on the internet and as a parent, I have some concerns about it especially when I see it used on Instagram and other social media platforms. So it is time to cut the nonsense. You can’t manifest it, you have to work for it. What parents of teenagers need to know about manifestation and the law of attraction.
And now Netflix is screening a movie about The Law of Attraction called The secret Dare to Dream, based on the concept of Ask, Believe and Receive. Starring Katie Holmes as Miranda Wells, the romantic drama tells the story of a hard-working young widow struggling to raise three children on her own and on the surface seems just to be a soppy romance, however, there is an insidious undertone. It has the feeling of a faith-based film and tacitly implies that setbacks are largely a failure of their own imaginations and that working hard isn’t as powerful as believing in “The Secret”.
First off, I am a planner. I believe in goal setting, planning and vision boards. I understand the benefits of being told as a child that you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it, but that comes from a place of privilege as the daughter of a white working-class family whose parents were the first within their peer group to own a house.
I also believe in the power of cognitive thinking after having postnatal depression and undergoing cognitive behaviour therapy. So I really do understand how reframing negative thoughts and introducing positive ones is a life-changing thing. When I underwent my double mastectomy I learned how potent positive affirmations were.
I also know that words are powerful and it is vital that we use them in the correct context. Deborah James has spoken eloquently in the past about how terminology around cancer is so important.
As far as I am concerned the emotional landscape of the next generation is increasingly tied to online connections and social media, for better and for worse and my job as a parent is to help them navigate the unknown waters.
This is why the term manifesting and the way that it is often used on social media concerns me. So many times I see people saying they are manifesting the life they deserve or the watch they want for.
I have manifested a car park at the fish and chip shop (nope that is just good town planning. Thinking about a friend and she messages you – magic! I refuse to just write it off as some hippy woo-woo nonsense.
So are the influencers that “manifest” a new watch on Instagram more worthy or better people? Or are they the ones that just got lucky and had a PR company following who saw it as an opening to their followers and good advertising?
Manifesting seems to me to pray on the vulnerable and impressionable. It is faux-spirituality being tied up in consumerism? Does it just give permission for the pursuit of excess materialism in the name of spiritual perfection and performance?
Does the fact that I haven’t manifested a cure from my chronic illness mean I am not worthy of being healthy? Hell no, but the implication is clearly there.
You see no one talks about manifesting a solution to the global climate crisis or starvation in Yemen. What about corona pandemic? But manifesting a new lifestyle is possible if you listen to the charlatans selling the online courses for £200 a month.
Manifesting creatives unrealistic expectations for our children and vulnerable adults. It taps into insecurities that are prevalent in the teenage years, that somehow they are not deserving of materials goods or meeting their perfect partner right now. Even worse people are selling courses and making money off the back of learning all about how to manifest your perfect life.
So I am calling out manifesting used in this way on social media for what it is – a blag or a beg. A cry for a brand or social media to send stuff in exchange for exposure on that person’s social feeds. You Can’t Manifest it. You have to work for it.
Let’s stop talking about manifesting as though it a magic pill and instead talk to our teenagers about making long term goals and plans and working towards them. Show them how to create a vision board or how to use positve affitmations to reduce the negative thoughts that they might have.
Let show them that with hard work they can achieve their goals and that the people who are successful in achieving their plans are the ones that put the work in. Hard work pays off as does a good mindset. So let’s stop using the term manifested and start using words such as privileged, hard work and earned.
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