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“Like attracts like.”
“Negative attracts negative.”
“You are too focused on what you lack.”
“Stop struggling to find what you want. Just let it come to you.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“You need a positive affirmation. Repeat it every day. Write it on your bathroom mirror.”
“Trust the universe’s timing. It’s just not the right time.”
“You need to believe in yourself more! Be confident that you deserve what you want.”
There is a particular belief in American new-age culture that hard work and positive vibes will get you where you want. If you aren’t, then you are doing something wrong.
This belief reeks of privilege.
You may mean well, but when someone is struggling to get out of poverty, leave addiction behind, overcome a chronic illness, or fight off the demons of depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other mental illnesses, these words are harmful.
We can’t just manifest our way out.
When you tell someone who is struggling to focus on what they want instead of what they lack, when they work hard to overcome the negative thinking and the fear and can’t because life is bleak and scary for them in the present moment, it can cause them to feel like there is something else wrong with them. Or maybe they are undeserving. Or they are weak. Or the punchline to some universal joke we just aren’t getting.
Sometimes life is just sh*tty.
Sometimes there is no way out because the hand that was dealt wasn’t the best of the draw. Life sometimes just stinks.
I have dreams, visions that I hold tight to my heart. A beautiful little two-bedroom cottage with a big back yard for my son and me that is all ours and no one can take away. A sense of peace and lightness instead of worry and heaviness.
I’ve worked, hard. I’ve followed my heart path. I’ve clearly envisioned where I want to be. I’ve posted positive quotes and affirmations everywhere. I’ve followed the advice of all of the manifesting gurus out there. I’ve read books. I’ve taken online workshops. I’ve spoken and prayed to a universal power. I have the confidence that I am a damn good photographer and have important stories to tell. I regularly write in my gratitude journal. I take time to notice the beautiful things around me.
Yet still, I fight off depression. Yet still, poverty threatens to swallow us whole.
Sometimes, no matter how much groundwork you’ve done, you still don’t get the call for that job you qualify for. A lead you follow doesn’t pan out.
Sometimes, no matter how much heart and soul you pour into improving your life, things don’t align.
Sometimes, despite living a healthy life, you fall ill.
Sometimes sh*tty things happen to good people.
We are tired. I’m tired.
When you are this weary and worn down by life, there is no raising of energy.
So stop telling us we need to change our energy or think positive. Stop talking and listen to us. Because we sure as hell don’t need anything else to feel inadequate about, but we do need to have someone listen to what we are going through. Gently wrap us in blankets and bring us tea and a box of tissues and listen to us.
We’ll tell you what we really need.