3 Things Not to Overlook When Using the Law of Attraction

by Melissa Karnaze

chicklet looking away from magnetAccording to the Law of Attraction, all matter is reducible to energy, which means that all of the events that occur in the universe reflect energy vibration.

The Law of Attraction also holds that humans are uniquely placed in the universe because of their consciousness. Humans are gifted with the power to co-create their personal reality because their consciousness interfaces with the universe through the Law of Attraction.

This means that people attract events and/or other people into their lives who reflect their inner vibrations, or their consciousness.

So if you successfully focus your attention and energy on visualizing wealth as already being present in your life, then by virtue of the law, you will manifest events and people that bring about this wealth. All that it requires is that you hold the vibration of “wealth” within you, and the universe will naturally respond.

So in simple terms, the Law of Attraction states that your external world reflects your inner world.

While this belief can be beneficial to your personal health and emotional well-being, by giving you reason to be more response able to your life, it can also become detrimental.

In this article we will put aside the scientific criticism of the Law of Attraction, and instead assume that the law exists. From this assumption, we can see that there are at least three limitations of the Law of Attraction — as it has been commonly taught and marketed — that can actually lead to harmful results:

The Law of Attraction minimizes the subconscious

    1.) Because the Law of Attraction refers to how you can consciously co-create your external reality by being mindful of your conscious thoughts and emotions, it is easy for you to assume that it is less important — or not important at all — for you to pay attention to your subconscious thoughts and emotions.

Most of the marketing for Law of Attraction centers around the concept of creating more financial wealth through focused and sustained positive thoughts and feelings about already having that wealth in your life. While many may experience success with this technique, it unfortunately sends the message that the universe only responds to your conscious thoughts and emotions.

But we see that this cannot be true when we consider the complex nature of consciousness and that the universe responds to consciousness as a whole. This is because in addition to our conscious thoughts and emotions, we also have subconscious thoughts and emotions — of which even neuroscientists have much to learn about and demystify.

So no matter how positive you say you are, those statements do not necessarily reflect how positive you really are — because you may be harboring negative thoughts and emotions that you are not aware of at a conscious level. But the way that the Law of Attraction is commonly pitched leads people away from exploring their subconscious so that they focus more on their conscious thoughts and emotions.

The subconscious is an invaluable resource for personal growth because the subconscious directly drives many if not most of your thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, and emotions. And if you ignore your subconscious, then any dysfunctional subconscious thoughts or emotions you have will remain, and will continue to interface with the universe via the Law of Attraction — perhaps sabotaging any conscious efforts you make at positive change.

The Law of Attraction minimizes the value of the negative

    2.) Because the Law of Attraction encourages you to keep positive thoughts and emotions — so that you attract positive events and people into your life — there is an implicit assumption that you should eliminate negative thoughts and emotions.

When you believe that your positive thoughts and emotions draw positive experiences into your life, then you also believe that your negative thoughts and emotions draw negative experiences into your life. This will lead to an aversion for the negative, and perhaps even an avoidance of it altogether.

But this has negative consequences to your emotional health. First of all, scientific studies show that suppressing negative emotions is not very effective, and in fact detrimental. Secondly, when you suppress your negative emotions your rob yourself of the gifts that they may bear — you cut yourself short from being able to catalyze pain into growth, grief into greater acceptance, anger into gratitude, fear into courage, and so on. Additionally, when you invalidate your negative emotions by rejecting and suppressing them, your harm your relationship with yourself — and the universe will reflect that back to you.

Sometimes your thoughts and emotions need to be negative before they can be positive — sometimes you need to embrace your dark side before you can learn how to strengthen your light side. Sometimes you even need to continue with your dysfunctional beliefs before you can adopt functional ones, because you have to first acknowledge that the dysfunction exists before you can begin to understand why it exists and where it came from. In order to transmute a negative experience, thought, or emotion into a positive one, you need to first acknowledge that it exists, by allowing yourself to fully experience it.

The Law of Attraction can lead to self-blame

    3.) Because the Law of Attraction makes you responsible for much, if not everything that happens in your life, you can easily blame yourself for causing the negative or painful experiences that occur in your life.

When something negative or painful happens to you, then according to the law, it was you who co-created that event because it is you who is co-creating your external reality at all times. Therefore, if you get fired from your job, get into a car accident, develop cancer, or lose someone you love to suicide — it is you who co-created that event, and you are in part to blame. You must have done something or harbored some thought or emotion that would allow for such a negative event to even have the possibility of occurring.

This type of reasoning can be very self-destructive because when you are to blame, you have done something “wrong” and deserve to have that negative event to happen to you as punishment. And this means that you are going to feel some guilt or remorse for having caused the event. This guilt and remorse may only be just the beginning, but it is strong enough to have an adverse effect on your health and emotional well-being — which again, will be reflected in your external reality by the Law of Attraction.

So the next time you use the Law of Attraction, keep these 3 important points in mind:

    1.) You need to discover your dysfunctional subconscious thoughts or emotions in order to enhance and in some cases allow for techniques such as positive affirmations to cultivate the kinds of conscious thoughts and emotions that you want to experience on a daily basis.
    2.) You can work with your negative thoughts and emotions instead of trying to banish them, and this will allow you to catalyze them into greater personal growth and self-awareness.
    3.) You can be response able to your life without blaming yourself if life doesn’t turn out as you hoped for, or even as you expected it to.

Viewing the Law of Attraction from a balanced perspective

As you can see, if the Law of Attraction is at work in our universe, it is much more complex than it has been traditionally viewed in the New Age, or New Thought community.

You need to think critically before you put your faith into this law, because first and foremost you need to have balanced beliefs about your emotions, about your thoughts, about your place in our life, and about your relationship with yourself. You need to discern which interpretations of this law you accept, that do not polarize you to avoid pain or negativity at the expense of your personal growth, happiness, health, or emotional well-being.

Any belief that tries to polarize us to the light (or dark) will lead to negative consequences that will ultimately limit our personal growth, happiness, and health. Besides, it is through integration of light and dark, or positive and negative (think protons and electrons), upon which the universe can even operate, let alone exist.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Graham L peveller April 18, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Thank you for such an interesting article which my mind had come across previously. When reading I was minded of talk given by the Ven. Lam Thubten Yeshe a Tibetan more than 20 years ago- in a pamphlet “Becoming your own therapist’ where he states – If you do not investigate your own mind with introspective knowledge – you will never see what’s in there. Without checking, no matter how much you talk about your mind and your emotions, you’ll never really understand that your basic emotion is egocentricity and this is whats making you restless.

Now to overcome your ego you dont have to give up all your possessions; they’re not what’ making your life difficult. You are restless because you are cliniging to your possessions with attachment; ego and attachment pollute your mind, making it unlclear, ignorant and agitated and prevent the light of wisdom from growing. The solution to this problem is meditation. Meditation does not only imply the development of single pointed concentaration, sitting in a corner doign nothing. Meditation isa an alert state of mind, the opposite of sluggishness; meditation is wisdom. You should remain aware every moment of your daily life, fully conscious of what you are doing and why and how you are doing it.

We do everything unconsciously, we eat, drink and talk unconsciously. Although we clain to be conscious, we are completely unaware of the afflictions rampaging through our minds and influencing everything we do.

You article remined me so much of the above

Graham

Melissa Karnaze April 21, 2009 at 12:08 am

Hi Graham,

I agree that it’s a good idea and a healthy idea to as you say, “remain aware every moment of your daily life, fully conscious of what you are doing and why and how you are doing it.” It seems a lifelong challenge to do that, but well worth it.

Thank you for sharing your perspective.

Melissa Karnaze September 17, 2009 at 8:39 am

Cihan, in response to your question here,

I wrote this article because I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer on these three ways that common use of the LoA are emotionally unhealthy and dangerous.

But what I really want to do is write something longer, like an eBook or an online report on LoA — because: I personally am not satisfied with my own understanding of the quantum experiments that have been cited; I think there can be more middle ground found between the so-called scientists and so-called mystics (that article you linked to has some great points, but it doesn’t bridge to the scientific possibilities enough, meaning it doesn’t find enough common ground for my standards of bridging); and the topic is simply too complex to really tackle and deconstruct only with articles (well, it could be done, but it’d make more sense in a comprehensive book-like format).

What I can tell you though is that the two sources on the top of my to-look-into-in-depth list are the Institute of Heartmath’s research on the coherence of the electromagnetism between the heart and the brain, and a re-read of Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief, which tells an epigentic story that challenges the paradigm of genetic determinism. And then there’s all that complex quantum physics stuff I’ll need to wrap my mind around. ;)

Basically, this is a research project that is too involved for me to take on right now, but I’m archiving things I find in my daily research. I’d say it’d be at least a year before I’d have something more comprehensive to present. If you have specific things you are interested in, or more questions that are on your mind, post them here and I’ll add them to my list. (And there’s not reason we can’t use this comment thread as a sounding board in the meantime.)

But yeah, the misuse of the LoA disturbs me, for the reason that people are totally using it as an excuse to avoid working with their emotions. I’ve not seen The Secret (actually avoided seeing it because I already knew what it was about), but have watched What the Bleep.

Personally, I use LoA principles in ways that work for me — and what usually follows are synchronicities that in my opinion aren’t easily explained without some causal link (of course that’s a whole brain-creates-causality debate that I’d also like to delve into).

But as I’m learning right now, if you want to attract success in whatever capacity, be prepared to attract situations that will trigger the fears you need to overcome — in order to attain that success. Because real LoA work is the big leagues when it comes to working with your emotions, not that light, happy go feely stuff that’s portrayed by Hollywood. ;)

Lisa September 28, 2009 at 7:11 pm

You have made some great points.

At the age of 21, I certainly have some fears and obstacles to overcome.

If the law of attraction were to work as simply as the Secret makes it out, denial would be the operative word.

Once you have faced your darkest fear(s) and have come to understanding and acceptance, then it’s time to start throwing a positive spin on things. Gaining perspective can only be done through acceptance and understanding.

Thanks for putting into words what I’ve been noticing myself,

Lisa

Melissa Karnaze September 28, 2009 at 8:20 pm

My pleasure Lisa, thank you for your comment.

Once you have faced your darkest fear(s) and have come to understanding and acceptance, then it’s time to start throwing a positive spin on things.

Exactly!

I learned many meditations several years ago. But they could only be so effective/ go so deep at that time. It was through the years that I worked through some serious emotional “stuff” that has to do with finding out who you are and what you stand for when becoming a young adult in this world — which you can understand, since you are only a couple years younger than I. ;)

And now, years later, my interest in these meditations has come to a new level. I see them, their positivity, and the positive principles of the LoA from a different angle. I’ve worked through so many fears and dark emotions, that I’m ready to use the meditations to accelerate and solidify that transformation.

It doesn’t happen the other way around. People think that meditation/ LoA work can cure your negative emotional afflictions — but to transmute negative emotions you have to accept and understand them first, just as you say, which means you have to acknowledge and express them in healthy ways.

Sandra Hendricks July 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Thank you for pointing me to this article. I changed a lot within myself before I studied LOA, so I could see both the good and not so good in the idea. You addressed this issue beautifully. I am very interested in the subconscious and the conscious mind and how they function together. The Law of Attraction is definitely, in my opinion, not a good place for a beginner of self-help to start. The idea is far too complex and can cause more harm than good, without a healthy perspective.

Melissa Karnaze July 15, 2010 at 7:08 am

“I am very interested in the subconscious and the conscious mind and how they function together.”

This is something science has barely begun to explore.

Yes, I would definitely agree that LoA is not good for beginners to self-help. Unless they have so much discernment and only take it in a functional way. Thanks for sharing Sandra.

Anon September 18, 2010 at 1:07 am

The law of attraction is mostly a load of bunk. I am a professional salesperson and the most credence I can give it is this – if you do not belive in what you are doing (or selling) because it is questionable or shady, some sensitive individuals might pick up on your doubt and this can limit your potential with them. Inversely, if you know that your product is a wonderful value, some people might pick up on this because your attitude will convey your excitement about the product. Outside of similar parameters, I think the law of attraction is a handy way to blame people for things they have absolutey no control over. It is very much like ‘karma’ and the warped and popular version of ‘mindfulness’ you speak out against. But I think that such perversion is its unconscious purpose and people drink this toxic koolaid by the gallons.

Melissa Karnaze September 18, 2010 at 8:15 am

Anon, thanks for your insight from the sales perspective (which is very relevant to psychology and self-help).

I watched The Secret recently (finally) and I got a certain vibe from most of the speakers. Not that they don’t believe in the law and that it’s worked for them — they definitely have confidence in that area. But what most of them didn’t exude was confidence and clarity on what happiness really is as it fits into the spectrum of emotional experience. They know how to discern “good” feelings from “bad.” But lack the depth of understanding how exactly and why that is. And that gets my “shady” signal going.

As a result of that lack of clarity, the whole movie unconsciously perpetuates a shallow 2-year-old mentality of materialism that counters the law’s supposedly spiritual principles. Very toxic indeed.

Teresa November 5, 2011 at 5:51 am

One of the speakers in The Secret film is a psychopath and convicted felon for murder after he subjected clients to an long session in a sweat lodge where some died and others injured. His name is James Ray. The followers of The Secret don’t want to know about that.

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