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What ‘Lucky Girl Syndrome’ and the Rest of Social Media Get Wrong About Manifestation

What ‘Lucky Girl Syndrome’ and the Rest of Social Media Get Wrong About Manifestation

Lucky Girl Syndrome is the latest in a long line of flattening rebrands of the concept of manifestation. There are some useful aspects of Lucky Girl Syndrome, mostly the focus on gratitude for the mundane, i.e. small wonders that make life beautiful. However, it’s easy to see that the ‘syndrome’ is steeped in privilege, further excluding Black, queer, disabled, and poor people’s perspectives from the conversation. Unfortunately, the public image of manifestation has been distorted into a materialistic, hyper individual pursuit when in fact it is meant to be a communal practice of emotional and spiritual healing. 

The True Origin of Manifestation

Manifestation has its roots in Hinduism. Specifically, the Hindu Vedas have the first written references to the practice from 2nd century BC. The idea was that one’s thoughts were connected to or could influence the creation of reality. Later it evolved to be a ritual of seeking out what was already in your life that you enjoyed, in order to amplify and deepen your experience of it. 

One of the main tenets of manifestation is what you focus on, grows. For example, if you wake up one morning determined to experience 5 instances of life’s beauty, your brain — being the problem solving machine that it is — will work hard to prove you right. So you might suddenly notice the sky is electric blue after days of being a dreary gray, and then you go into a cafe and they had a catering order get canceled so now they’re giving away free baked goods. These may seem like small things, but small pleasures compound to create a steady satisfaction. Manifestation asks you to be more present and intentional about what and how you want to experience your life. 

Much like everything else, at some point millennia after the practice had been integrated into a number of cultures, manifestation was introduced to the West and we freaked it. One of the first books to bring the Law of Attraction (aka manifestation) into popular American culture was The Answer in 2008. And now 15 years later, manifestation has been flattened into a capitalistic tool that manages to shame us as individuals for the consequences of structural inequality. 


Manifestation in the Black Community

Have you ever wondered why your mama’s prayer circle is so powerful? Manifesting is more potent when multiple people are pushing their energy towards a cause. Often in the older American Black community, they discount or even fear certain mystical elements of life. But, through and despite colonization, our indigenous practices have bloomed into new forms that we still embody today. 

When I was at university, and I needed something that I had no clue how to achieve, I would ask my aunties to bring it to their church. Then I would rest easy knowing whatever I needed was coming my way. Something about that collective effort, the community of folks talking direct to their God’s ear, would move people and circumstances to produce my desired experience. That is not an accident, that’s barely scratching the surface of the potential of community. 

There are a lot of Black folks who look at the Instragram-brand of manifestation and immediately scoff. It can be very easy to see the already rich white women discuss manifesting a mansion or fancy car, and roll your eyes. It’s natural (based on how we were conditioned) to assume that can’t be for us, or there’s no way that would work for me. Because what we’re seeing is people leveraging privilege (and often mediocrity) to secure more privilege. 

We know good and well that there are heaps of Black people who embody and flaunt the same brand of capitalistic manifestation. We are all under the hegemonic beliefs that convince us that the only definition of success is tied up in the aesthetics of immense wealth. And damn do we look good doing it! We, the Black community, love to adorn ourselves. I promise you, I get it. The first person I fell in love with strode into my life decked out in Off White, head to toe, tags on shoes. We do decadence so well.

I completely understand why materialistic wealth is so sought after in our community. We have been historically prevented from attaining it, and as evidenced by the Tulsa Massacre and countless others, when we do attain wealth and build a thriving community, white people will go out of their way to destroy that. But we have the opportunity to move past the shallow definition of manifestation! We can work together to dream beyond material gain and imagine new realities rooted in care. 


See Also

Imagining New Possibilities

Imagine what the world would look like if we were manifesting in community. Imagine what manifestation could feel like if we were using it as a healing practice instead of a vehicle for consumption. I promise our ancestors didn’t dream of isolation and exploitation. Of course material means can be a portion of your manifestation practice, but that’s barely the beginning of what’s possible. 

If we are limited by the ideals presented to us – which praise unsustainable consumption, individualism, and material wealth – it doesn’t leave room for community care. A robust self care practice is actually rooted in community care. Manifestation was alway meant to be a communal practice, a space where we come together and collectively dream of a future that supports us and the values we hold dear. 


3 Ways to Re-Indigenize Your Manifestation Practice

Focus on the feelings. Consider the outcome or object you desire and ask yourself how you think you’ll feel once you have it. Guess what, you can access that feeling now! Pro tip: When you imagine yourself in that feeling, breathe deeply into your belly, so your body knows that this is safe to experience. 

Create in community. Manifestation is about creating your reality, and a huge portion of your reality is who you’re surrounded by. Consider opening up about your wishes and make manifestation a collective effort. Bake in reciprocity where you and your friends are manifesting for each other and amplify your voices to the powers that be. 

Dream bigger! Manifestation is not just for material wealth. We can manifest social justice, we can manifest an equitable socio-economic system. We can collectively dream of a reality that serves everybody and honors their unique contributions. Consider manifesting at a bigger scope.

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