Belief and Manifestation
Question from a reader:
First, for the readers who are unfamiliar, I want to address manifestation/Law of Attraction for a minute. This is a really nuanced conversation and I have some very different views on LOA than most people. People often get confused when it comes to Law of Attraction because they think of “like attracts like” in very literal terms: “If someone is being mean to me, it means I am mean,” or something of that nature, but that’s a little bit too literal.
“Hey Ashley! I’ve been reading about manifestation a lot and how our fundamental/subconscious beliefs draw experiences to us. After realizing what we subconsciously believe, what’s the best way to change it? For example, I’m realizing I’ve always believed that God won’t give me the things I want–I’ve entwined “struggle” with God’s will. Is it best to work “top down” with mantras? Or is there another way?”
Others will tell you that you attract what you already feel, energetically. “I’m feeling upset and sad so I’m attracting more things and people that will make me feel upset and sad.” That’s getting closer, but still a little bit too literal, and way too surface level.
Law of Attraction is often viewed through a self-centric lens: I attract x because I am x. In reality, most if it is more like a self-fulfilling prophecy brought about by confirmation bias.
Let’s take away the concept of “positive” and “negative” energy for a moment and just look at it as energy that is on the same frequency, whatever frequency that may be.
While it is emotional energy that is attracting like energy, it’s a much deeper, more subconscious form of energy that resides in beliefs and attitudes that we hold–the most fundamental beliefs and attitudes that are the foundation of all of our other, more surface level beliefs and attitudes.
A lot of the time, we don’t even realize that we hold those beliefs and attitudes even though we play them out in a myriad of ways day in and day out. For example, let’s say that deep down, you don’t feel worthy of love. That’s the most basic (negative) belief you hold about yourself and it’s the foundation of all kinds of other negative beliefs. Pretend that is the cornerstone, the first brick laid in the foundation of your ego.
The next brick that stems from not feeling worthy of love is, “I’m a bad person,” (i.e. I’m not worthy of love because I’m a bad person).
The next brick is, “I did something wrong,” (i.e. I did something wrong because I’m a bad person and that’s why I’m not worthy of love).
The next brick is, “This is my fault,” (This is my fault, I did something wrong because I’m a bad person and that’s why I’m not worthy of love).
You see, you begin to create a narrative–a personal story–out of these beliefs. But nobody really wants to think that they’re a bad person so they repress those thoughts and push them out of their mind, but they still reside in their subconscious as beliefs. Only now, the person has begun to ignore it. We call this the shadow self.
When these thoughts and beliefs and the emotions surrounding them become repressed and we’re not aware of them, we begin to project. In this instance, it might come out as someone who feels like a victim all the time. The subconscious narrative of, “This is my fault,” turns into, “Everybody blames me for everything.” This is so that the ego doesn’t have to bear the responsibility any longer (even though it’s the one holding the beliefs in the first place).
This is often the narrative behind that of extremely emotionally immature adults who engage in abusive or manipulative behaviors toward others. The foundation of narcissism is usually deep shame about the self. This does not, however, apply to actual victims of abuse. These people don’t have victim mentalities, they are being actively victimized by other people, such as the narcissists I just spoke of.
Now this person has this narrative of, “Everybody blames me for everything,” that they repeat over and over in a variety of situations, consistently reinforcing their own negative view of self, and at the root of it is the belief that they are somehow inherently flawed and they may even subconsciously feel responsible even when it’s not their fault! So they keep projecting that into situations, and it appears to reflect back to them this belief they hold about themselves.
As we dig through those layers and dismantle our belief system, brick by brick, we slowly reach the cornerstone and it’s through that process that we are able to change our most fundamental beliefs and attitudes.
Sometimes, simply uncovering and acknowledging those beliefs is enough to release them. Other times, they are deeply ingrained and we have to reprogram ourselves, in a way and do some really deep healing in order to let go. Most of the time these kinds of beliefs are resultant from some type of trauma, in which case trauma-informed therapy can be very helpful and validating. Explore different modalities and figure out what works for you.
Sky Daddy Issues
Now let’s talk about the idea that struggle has been intertwined with “God’s will.” I find that a lot of the beliefs and ideas that we project onto sky daddy are usually reflective of our relationships with our parents. So where did your parents disappoint you when you were growing up? What sorts of events occurred that led you to believe that you will always be disappointed?
That’s a struggle that I myself am very familiar with and it’s got to do with not having people in my life who showed up for me on a consistent basis, and also with always expecting that those people would somehow change for me and prove to me that I was worthy of being treated with respect, instead of recognizing that I was inherently worthy of it and that it wasn’t something I needed to earn. But particularly when you’re born into a culture with a Judeo-Christian background, the concept that we have to earn god’s love is very deeply embedded, and it’s usually pretty parallel with the idea that we have to earn our parents – and everyone else’s – love.
You’re inherently worthy of love, and you deserve to have people show up for you. Remember that.
Changing These Beliefs
Learning self love after a long life of low self esteem can be difficult. Mantras can be helpful reminders, but they’re not going to be the magic bullet. There’s going to be a lot of work involved, usually internal re-parenting (changing your inner narrative to become the parent you always needed when you were a child), showing yourself more kindness and compassion in every situation you possibly can, and generally just learning to be gentle with yourself.
You also have to take action to start actively choosing people to be in your life that will show up for you and help you reflect back to you that inherent worthiness. As you can see, that’s not so much about attracting things to you as it is actively choosing them.
Thanks for being here,
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