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We Need to Talk About How the Law of Attraction is Ableist

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The Law of Attraction is a popular theory that’s been around for awhile now. In simple terms, it believes that what you believe and what you surround yourself with is what you will ultimately manifest in your life. For instance, if you focus on being happy, healthy and wealthy, the universe will return to you the energy you put out into the world.


The biggest problems with this theory, beyond the fact that it is complete pseudoscience with no basis in actual science, are that it is very ableist and lays personal blame back on the person for anything negative that comes into their life.


To assume that embracing happiness and positivity will automatically bring happiness into one’s life is to discount actual verifiable medical conditions such as depression. According to the Law of Attraction, any feelings to the contrary of your goal are evidence that you just are not trying hard enough. If you struggle with depression, you’re just not trying hard enough to embrace happiness.


The Law of Attraction also discourages reaching out for assistance, because it believes that what you surround yourself with is what you ultimately bring into your own life. By that line of thinking, going to support groups and being around others who are struggling as well will only bring that negativity back onto yourself.


It also encourages inaction to the point of delusion. You are supposed to live as if you have already achieved what you want. If you envision health and wealth for yourself, you must already live as if you have achieved those goals. To budget your money, to count calories or to take any other action in an effort to achieve your goals is to place doubt upon them and yourself. You are simply supposed to believe it to be so and will it into existence. All faith is put into the universe to find a way to make it happen as long as you just believe.


Many of us that are struggling with serious or chronic health conditions simply do not have the luxury of embracing the Law of Attraction.


People who believe in the Law of Attraction will often ask those struggling with their mental diagnosis if they have just tried being happy. If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness such as depression, you can not simply will yourself to be happy. It is a medical condition that can cause bouts of both deep negative emotions and a lack of emotion entirely, through no fault of the person experiencing those emotions. Law of Attraction places blame on the sufferer, telling them they are just not trying hard enough, not believing strongly enough, that their suffering is ultimately their own fault.


Likewise, the Law of Attraction discourages both seeking help and actively working towards goals.  It believes that if you surround yourself with others who are struggling, as well, you are surrounding yourself with their negative energy and will never be able to harness the positive energy you desire. And that by seeing a doctor or otherwise actively working to improve yourself or your situation, you are nullifying that positive energy and not putting enough faith in the universe to provide what you want.


By that way of thinking, someone who is unable to walk after an accident doesn’t need physical therapy.


Someone who is struggling with addiction shouldn’t attend support groups.


Anyone who wants to run a marathon just needs to believe they can do it.


Anyone who wants to be healthy and well just needs to believe they are.


According to the Law of Attraction, relying on medicine or doctors is considered a sign of lack of faith and lack of trust in the universe.  You do not have to seek treatment, only to believe that things are better and they will be.


And if you are still sick, still struggling, still depressed, it is proof that you just aren’t trying hard enough, just didn’t believe hard enough, just didn’t put enough faith into the universe to make it be.


For many of us, the reality is that life is a daily struggle. No amount of well-wishing or positive thinking will whisk away our health conditions. While an able-bodied person might be able to run a marathon simply because they believe in their ability to do so, someone with mobility issues is never afforded that same luxury.  Likewise, while merely thinking positive thoughts and embracing positive vibes may automatically put an otherwise healthy person in a better frame of mind, it will not erase medical conditions such as depression.


We are not to blame for our medical conditions. We do not have them simply because we are not trying hard enough. All the positive thinking in the world will not will away our diagnosis. We must be steadfast, seek help when needed and trust in science and doctors to help improve our situation and ur lives, not the universe to deliver because we think a few happy thoughts.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Originally published: November 6, 2020
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