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Beyond ‘Good Vibes Only’: Is the Law of Attraction Toxic Positivity?

Hey there, lovely! Have you heard of the Law of Attraction? It’s the idea that positive thoughts and energy can attract positive experiences into your life. These days it’s almost impossible to read mindset and personal growth books without hearing about it.

But is there a darker side to all this positivity?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for positive thinking and manifesting your dreams (I have oodles of woo-infested posts on this blog). But as with any powerful tool, it’s important to understand its potential downsides. 

So, grab a cup of tea (or a glass of wine, I don’t judge… actually on second thought pour one for me too, ok?), and let’s explore whether the Law of Attraction is all rainbows and sunshine, or if there’s a storm cloud brewing underneath.

is the law of attraction toxic positivity?

The Basics of the Law of Attraction

First, we need to define the Law of Attraction. This mindset is about focusing on positive thoughts and emotions to attract positive experiences into your life. It’s a like-attracts-like ordering system, where you visualize the things you want and then let the universe do its thing.

You can use affirmations to reprogram your thoughts and beliefs, or practice visualization to imagine yourself already achieving your goals. Some people create vision boards or practice gratitude to stay in a positive mindset.

The Rise of Toxic Positivity Culture

Toxic positivity is the idea that you should always be happy and optimistic no matter what, and that any negative emotions or experiences are somehow your fault for not being positive enough.

You’ve probably seen examples of toxic positivity in our culture. Maybe it’s the Instagram influencer who only posts pictures of herself looking flawless and #blessed, or the motivational speaker who tells you that you can overcome any obstacle if you just have the right attitude.

social media and the law of attraction toxic positivity

There’s nothing inherently wrong with positivity, but when it becomes a way to shame people for not being positive enough, that’s when it can become toxic.

The negative effects of toxic positivity are real. When people feel like they can’t express their negative emotions without being judged or dismissed, it can lead to feelings of isolation, shame, and inadequacy. It can also minimize people’s pain and invalidate their experiences, making them feel like their feelings don’t matter.

So, what does all this have to do with the Law of Attraction? Well, some people argue that the Law of Attraction can contribute to a toxic positivity culture. When the focus is always on being positive and avoiding negative thoughts, it can make us feel like we’re doing something wrong if we’re not able to manifest our desires.

It can also lead to a lack of empathy for others who are going through difficult times as if they somehow brought their negative experiences upon themselves.

Of course, it’s important to remember that the Law of Attraction is just one aspect of positivity culture, and not all Law of Attraction practitioners are guilty of toxic positivity. But it’s worth exploring whether this mindset is contributing to harmful cultural trends, and what we can do to combat them. 

Also, sidenote, while looking through Giphy for a meme I could use to demonstrate toxic positivity lightheartedly, it kept giving me clips of the “Toxic” music video, and flight attendant Britney is giving my life rn.

via GIPHY

What a legend.  We love you Britney. 👑

Is The Law of Attraction Toxic Positivity?

Now, let’s take a closer look at how the Law of Attraction can contribute to toxic positivity culture. One of the potential downsides of this mindset is its emphasis on positive thinking and minimizing negative emotions. While it’s important to have a positive outlook on life, it’s equally important to acknowledge and process negative emotions in a healthy way.

If the Law of Attraction encourages people to suppress their negative emotions and only focus on positive thoughts, it can lead to an unhealthy emotional imbalance.

Another issue is how the Law of Attraction can sometimes be used to shame people for not being positive enough or blame them for attracting negative experiences. This can create a toxic cycle where people feel like they can’t express their negative emotions, which only reinforces the idea that negative emotions are bad and should be avoided at all costs.

It can also lead to victim-blaming, where people who are going through difficult times are told that they somehow brought it on themselves with their negative thinking.

Furthermore, the Law of Attraction can sometimes lead to unrealistic expectations and a lack of empathy for others. When people believe that they can manifest anything they want with the power of positive thinking, it can lead to a sense of entitlement and a lack of understanding for those who may not have the same opportunities or privileges.

It can also create a sense of pressure to always be successful and happy, which can be exhausting and unrealistic.

I want to be clear when I say the Law of Attraction itself is not inherently toxic or harmful. However, when it’s used in a way that dismisses or shames people’s negative experiences, it can contribute to a toxic positivity culture.

As with any mindset or belief system, it’s important to approach it with a critical eye and a willingness to question its potential downsides.

Finding a Balance: Embracing Both Positivity and Authenticity

So, how can we practice the Law of Attraction without falling into the trap of toxic positivity? I think the key is to find a balance between positivity and authenticity. 

Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge and validate negative emotions. Instead of suppressing or denying them, take the time to process and healthily express them. 

I know, easier said than done, right?  Here are a few tips for how to validate our negative emotions while still cultivating a sense of positivity:

  1. Acknowledge and accept your emotions: The first step is to simply acknowledge and accept that you are experiencing negative emotions. This can involve labeling your emotions and recognizing that it’s okay to feel them.  It’s okay to not feel okay. 
  2. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and offer yourself compassion as you work through your negative emotions. This means permitting yourself to feel your emotions without judgment. You can offer yourself comforting words or actions, like taking a warm bath or engaging in a relaxing activity.
  3. Seek support: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist for support and validation. Sometimes it can be helpful to talk through our emotions with someone else who can offer empathy and understanding.
  4. Engage in healthy coping mechanisms: Engage in healthy coping mechanisms that allow you to release your negative emotions in a healthy way. This can include exercise, journaling, art, or meditation.
  5. Focus on the positive aspects of your life: While it’s important to validate negative emotions, it’s also important to cultivate a sense of positivity. This can involve focusing on the positive aspects of your life, like relationships, hobbies, or personal accomplishments. Practicing gratitude can also be a powerful tool for cultivating positivity.

At the same time, it’s crucial to cultivate positivity in a healthy way. You can try practices like gratitude, positive self-talk, and visualization. However, it’s important to approach these practices with a sense of balance and realistic expectations. It’s not about forcing yourself to feel happy all the time, but rather cultivating a sense of gratitude and optimism that is grounded in reality.

Another key is to practice empathy and understanding for others, even when their experiences may be different from our own. This can involve actively listening to others, acknowledging their pain, and avoiding the urge to offer unsolicited advice or judgment.

I’ve found through experience that sometimes the best thing you can do for someone else is to just listen.  And let them feel heard.

Overall, finding a balance between positivity and authenticity is key to practicing the Law of Attraction in an empowering way. By acknowledging negative emotions, while still cultivating a sense of positivity and empathy, we can create a mindset that is both powerful and authentic.


So that’s my take on whether or not the Law of Attraction is toxic positivity.  

Just like the Temperance tarot card, finding the balance between positive thinking and authenticity requires a delicate blend of opposites. It’s recognizing that both positivity and authenticity have their place in our lives and embracing them in equal measure.

temperance card showing a balance between being positive and being authentic

By finding this balance, we can create a mindset that is both empowering and emotionally honest.

What are your thoughts about the Law of Attraction and toxic positivity?  How do you practice the Law of Attraction while remaining true to your own experiences and feelings?  Leave me a comment below and let’s have a conversation!

I hope this post has been helpful to you.  Happy manifesting!

If you want to learn more about the Law of Attraction, check out my LOA Guide for Beginners!

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