Why Manifesting and the Trends around it are utter Bull Shit
Before you go around saying that I’m a negative person, I’m really not. Of course I believe in energies and being positive but the currents trends around the word “manifesting” is almost as nauseating as the word “Tribe”. I’m not going to talk about the word Tribe. At least not today. But I am going to talk about the word ‘manifesting’ and why you need to cut it out of your vocabulary not just because it makes you sound like a fucking jerk but because its privileged.
Let me start with what made me think about this. Last night I was at pottery and someone came in for studio time. We have a very small class on Thursdays so its not a problem for people to come in and honestly its always fun. This particular lady is a pain in the butt though and I have encountered her before. She is the kind of person where even when she is not in a conversation she will take over it.
First I was talking to a lovely graphic designer Tori. We brought in wine and cheese and were talking about different books and podcasts. We always talk about true crime shows and I told her about a friend that had posted in her Instagram stories that morning the video from her Nest video camera. It was pointed at her driveway as she and her youngest daughter fell asleep in the living room after spending the night watching a movie or doing crafts, something cute like that. Her phone does the same thing that mine does and goes to do not disturb at a certain time so she didn’t get the notification until the next morning. When she opened it up, she saw a full video of someone breaking into and going through her car in her driveway, 50 feet away from where they were sleeping. To me that is fucking terrifying and I was joking (But also not joking) that I wasn’t sure I would want to know!
This woman has the audacity to say that she would never have a camera because having a security camera outside your house is asking for someone to rob you because you are pulling that energy in. Like somehow you are a bad person for wanting to be safe and inviting bad energy in by being cautious.
Never mind the fact that this was a white woman over 50 in one of the richest areas in the wealthiest county in one of the most wealthy states in the country. Of course, she thinks that its just because of her energy. Needless to say I looked at this woman like she had three heads.
You do not just ‘manifest’ things into your life. You should be positive. You should be hopeful, and you should try to be a good person. But that doesn’t mean that bad things wont happen in your life. Nor does it mean that the things that are good happen souly because of you. To think that is so privileged and I just wish people would stop, most of all in the wellness and mental health space.
Mental health is not something that you can make happen. You can train yourself but if you have depression or bipolar disorder, no amount of positive thinking is going to help completely. There are steps that you need to take, therapy and different treatments that need to be pursued. Telling people that they need to be more positive is a disservice and honestly morally reprehensible. You are not going to pull brain chemistry out of the ether.
Not acknowledging your own privilege is something that also attaches itself to the term Manifesting. Primarily to me because of the fact that since I am in the mental health and creative space so there is a lot that comes into my orbit seem to be very polished, well off influencers who happen to be write women. I should lead with saying that I am Caucasian. I do not pretend to be anything else. I am an Italian , german girl from an upper middle class family. I have had some struggles including my divorce, the gaslighting and emotional abuse that took place with my ex for 10 years that broke down my confidence and that I gave ten years of my life to. But I never had any student loans, I have a great family that supports me for the most part, I have never starved. We have never had to worry about being homeless. There was always someone there and there always will me. The shit I delt with from my ex does NOT negate the fact that I have had all the privilege and opportunity in the world. Period. No notes. No ifs ands or buts. We all struggle. We all have point in our life where things get hard. This is part of the human experience and how we navigate it determines who we are. (I don’t say that it build character either because our character has just as much to do with what we do with the good as how we handle the bad.)
But no struggle or bad experience will ever negate the fact that I grew up with privilege. I will never be able to understand what it is like to be black or Latin-x and to think I can is insulting. To think that I ‘manifested’ my inherited wealth is insulting. I can be empathetic, and I am and try to be, but the best way to say that I’m empathetic is to acknowledge that there are things that I was lucky to get that other people weren’t. Nothing to do with Manifesting and honestly nothing to do with Luck. The system was set up to make sure people like me were taken care of.
The last point is that manifesting is appropriative. I don’t say that often because honestly I think all art and all creating throughout time has always been appropriate. Like it or not everything in the world is derivative. All stories, all art, all ideas. We also live in a world of colonization. I’m not even just talking about the British empire either. Before that it was the Romans, before that the Egyptians did it all over the African continent. The Spanish, the Dutch. This is just history in all its messiness. But when you only see young white women talking about manifesting….maybe its time to think about why.
Of course this all started with The Secret (which I’m sorry was so fucking Culty it worried me when I read it) But of course there have been a million books and blog posts about manifesting after that. Visions boards, meditation, ect are huge parts of this and to be honest, I do those things but not with the belief that they will always bring good things into my life. They are more to help me plan for the actions that I want to take to get to my goals.
Instead of relying on these ‘energies’ I welcome people to think instead of the best ways to actually bring things into your life. More then that I also want to point out why we believe in this so much and why we are primed to spend the little bit of money some of us have on books that are really just lining new writers’ pockets with an old idea- the idea that we can get to the top, that everyone has opportunity if they just dream big enough.
In the United States, we have this delusion that “All men are created equal.” Obviously, this has the first red flag that it says Man in it. Most of us know by now that what they really meant was “All white, landowning males are created equal.” That hasn’t changed as much as we think it has though it has a lot. Men are still paid more than woman and people that rent, the majority of which are disproportionately people of color, are stuck in a cycle of giving other people money without owning property and thus keeps them from emassing wealth across generations. This keeps them in jobs where they can not advance and make more money or, even worse, achieve any dreams outside of capitalism and the bare need to survive. But we still keep telling people that they can do it if they just believe in themselves and work harder. Who can blame people for wanting to make a vision board and that alone would get them out of dept? Of course that’s not only not true but really disheartening to hear people talking about how they ‘manifested’ their new job when really they travel in the same social circles as their new bosses SO.
Like so much of capitalism and the Gospel of Prosperity this actually puts a moral category on economic status. People who don’t have it all and are still struggling just aren’t positively motivated enough or tried hard enough. They are somehow morally deficient and someone else who went to the best schools, made the best notworking connections in them and thus got the better job are somehow better.
Like my friend with her security camera pointed to her driveway to make sure her and her two daughters are safe while her partner is away pulled that bad energy in, if you don’t make it, you don’t deserve it. Just like before if people are economically at risk they just didn’t work hard enough. Same idea, different language.
So please, stop saying you ‘manifested it’. You can own up to working for it. You can tell people that you know your new boss, that you studied or whatever you did to get to it but please don’t say that you Manifested it. You did not just make it appear out of thin air and to say that you did is not only insulting but makes you sound like an oblivious, privileged idiot.