“So what often happens is when we want something so badly, we get so attached to the result,” says the short honey blonde woman, who casually walks across a stage in the video on Instagram.
What we end up doing is paying more attention to the fact that we don’t have it yet.
Remind yourself that you are worth feeling good about and reach for the good feeling emotion and know that the good feeling emotion that we just escalated in this space is…how…we manifest.”
She now punctuates her words by pausing between them and waving her hand to continue carrying the message home.
This is Gabrielle Bernstein (@gabbybernstein) and she has over a million followers on Instagram.
You could call her a wellness influencer; Her biography describes her as a “new thought leader” (named by Oprah no less). She is one too New York Times Bestselling Author.
Bernstein’s feed is full of videos like this one. There’s ‘why do you attract the same relationships?’ ‘Do less and wear more!’ “The Secret to Manifesting”, “What It Means to Be a Super Attractor.”
She is a figurehead for the trend. The top five secrets according to an article on their website? “The universe always delivers”, “It’s good to feel good” (see above, being a superattractor). “The more you tune in, the more you attract.” “Fun is the goal.” And number five? ‘Publish what you want to receive.’
The point of manifesting is that it’s all up to you. In the right sense. Think it and you can make it happen. Positive thoughts attract desired positive outcomes.
In essence, it is the Law of Attraction, which can be traced back to the 19th-century New Thought movement, more recently popularized by Rhonda Byrne in 2006 The secret.
Except that this latest iteration is called Manifest and has gained a foothold on social media, namely TikTok and Instagram, where it’s being picked up by Generation Z (those born between the late 1990s and 2010s). manifesta neatly packaged book by Roxie Nafousi aimed squarely at this demographic has topped bestseller lists since its release in January.
It’s a trend brilliantly dissected in Louise O’Neill’s latest book, idolreleased earlier this year.
Manifesting promises that you just have to think positively to get what you want. “How to manifest anything you desire – yes, that even includes love… and money,” reads an article on oprahdaly.com.
The internet is not thin on the ground in this regard.
That mindset never really left us (The secret regularly ranks among celebrity favorites), but we have the pandemic to thank for the current surge; 2020 saw Manifesting take off with Google Trends showing a peak of interest in Summer 2020.
The hashtag #manifestation currently has more than 19.5 billion views on TikTok.
And then there were the memes. Most common; “Shut up, I’m manifesting.” Most insightful; “Maybe you manifested it. Maybe it’s white privilege.” And the inspirational posts. “It’s not your job to make a difference. It’s your job to dream of it and make it happen. TRUST THE PROCESS.”
There are the posts that ask you to just type “yes” in the comments section, it’s that simple. The most meta are the posts that show you how to manifest more Instagram followers. On TikTok, the 3-6-9 manifestation method is used by teenage girls to summon a friend or get an existing crush to text back.
Scripting, a form of writing or journaling as it is often called, is where the practitioner writes as if their dreams have already come true. “If you can imagine it, you can have it,” the #inspo post on Instagram likely reads.
In January, Twitter ran a Tweet Manifesting ad campaign that featured celebrities who had tweeted “their dreams of being alive.”
These included Demi Lovato and Niall Horan, who tweeted in 2010: “Applied X factorhope everything works out.” It did.
Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga are also said to be fans of the manifestation.
It makes sense that this adoption, if not widespread then widespread, of a method by a generation that, while not exactly a religion, certainly borders on spirituality. Manifesting is comforting. It’s easy. And most importantly, it at least offers the illusion of some kind of control.
Even before the pandemic, Generation Z faced an adulthood that promised very different security than their parents.
This generation could see that hard work and effort no longer guaranteed things like job security, owning a home, or even renting. Instead, they face zero-hour contracts, endless financial worries, wages that barely cover basic living expenses, a retirement age that seems to be being pushed back and forth, all against the backdrop of a terrible climate crisis-related apocalypse .
Furthermore, they had seen millennials, the generation before them, chasing the dreams of older generations in a society that no longer supports a social equation based on hard work (“you get out what you put in”). You watched these millennials burn out for their efforts. No wonder so many have turned to a method that seems to offer rewards for, say, a different kind of effort.
And while manifestation differs from traditional religion in that it focuses solely on the individual, belief in some form has been shown to have positive effects on longevity and sanity.
So what harm to the comforting practices associated with manifesting, such as journaling and gratitude?
When the pandemic brought everything down, older generations could wait and see and hope to return to more of the same after the pandemic subsided.
But what if you were just starting out? It’s little wonder that for a generation that’s on the cusp or in the early stages of life-building, manifesting seemed appealing—since it offers the potential to build a life exactly the way you want it. And the illusion of control.
Except… does it really? Isn’t there an element of magical thinking in all of this? Not to mention ignoring one’s own privileged circumstances.
Problems like class, poverty, race, health, gender, sexuality, systemic problems cannot be overcome simply by positive thinking. And is it actually helpful to shift responsibility to the individual?
Not only does it seem to ignore the vastly different set of circumstances people are born into.
It also manifests somewhere between the kind of thinking that suggests the climate crisis can be solved through the efforts of individuals: recycling and using storage cups (which certainly keeps governments and big corporations off the hook) and the kind of ill-informed Messages are sometimes heard around illness; someone who is “fighting” a cancer battle.
As if a negative outcome were brought about by a lack of willpower or positivity; They stayed sick because they just didn’t feel well enough. Extremely individualistic? blindly privileged? Both?
Practitioners of the faith would say that when you manifest and it doesn’t work, you’re just not doing it right. Without even knowing it, you have limiting beliefs. Or you are too focused on what you want. Which in fact makes you worry you’ll never get it / think too much about not having it now.
Whatever the problem, the fault is yours.
Practitioners of the faith would also obscure the fact that much of manifesting is a business; manifest merch is not cheap. You can buy anything from t-shirts to stickers, jewelry, posters, crystals to something called The Intentionator ($350.00, Etsy), not to mention a variety of courses and classes promising everything from the Manifestation of your own business to general prosperity, your perfect life, energy healing and protection and of course love.
But isn’t that part of the problem? The promise of the perfect life? Is that even a worthwhile goal?
Manifests to violate people’s basic expectations, not only about what kind of effort, luck, and circumstances it takes to get what you desire, but also about what kind of outcome you can expect.
Why shouldn’t Gen Z at least expect better?
Not only is the manifestation overselling how much we can control over our lives, but are we over-promising what we can expect?
It’s too easy to suggest that manifesting is the practice of a generation raised on social media with an exaggerated sense of their own specialness, uniqueness, and overconfidence in their own abilities.
Given the world they’ve inherited, why shouldn’t Gen Z at least expect better?
And given that they don’t have access to the certainties of Boomers and Gen Xers, and that the path to millennial burnout is unappealing, it makes some sense that what they’re striving for might not be based on either a healthy social fabric or the Promise based to be hard work.
In a world with no guarantees, belief in magic becomes remarkably appealing.
But manifestation is still something above overcorrection.
It’s a case of The Emperor’s New Clothes that Louise O’Neill dissects to perfection in her latest book. “This was a saturated market – so many broken girls with money to spend – and there were a lot of beautiful white women out there selling spa and crystal encrusted yoga mats and fifty dollar meditation candles…”
https://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/health-features/from-gabrielle-bernstein-to-roxie-nafousi-why-has-gen-z-fallen-so-hard-for-the-manifesting-trend-41938665.html From Gabrielle Bernstein to Roxie Nafousi, why did Gen Z fall for the “manifestation” trend so much?