Lucky Girl Syndrome, Anxiety, and Victim Blaming...
What is Lucky Girl Syndrome?
If you have social media you've likely heard of 'Lucky girl syndrome'. It's the internet's latest trend, where you use daily affirmations such as 'I'm so lucky' and 'I get everything I want' to bring you luck in getting the things you wish for, and it has over 130 million views. It's basically the latest phrase for manifestation and the law of attraction / assumption where you visualise, and ask the universe for, something you want. It's nothing new, so why has it made a come back?
The psychology behind it:
There's certainly some truth in the fact that being more positive might make you act in a way that opens up opportunities for you, bringing you more than you would attract if you were negative, but this isn't down to luck. Research also tells us that our belief in our abilities can actually affect our abilities - we can do things more if we believe we can. And positive thinking can reduce stress and worry.
Confirmation Bias is another psychological tendency to identify with things that support our already existing beliefs. So you reflect on the things that did work for you, considering yourself lucky, rather than focusing on the things that didn't go so well. When you get something you've manifested, you think that it must have been the manifestation that got you it. It's simple psychology.
But does manifesting actually work? The evidence for it is a sub-selection of lucky people. This can be referred to as the Survivorship Bias - another cognitive bias where we only focus on the successful individuals, those who got what they 'wished' for. You don't hear about those who manifested a house and didn't get one. You only hear about those who did.
But you also have to ask yourself, what other resources did they have? What are the background factors? Money? If you have no money, manifesting a house and calling yourself 'lucky' isn't likely to get you one. Not all of us have the resources to get the things we want, no matter how positively we think.
Victim blaming and Anxiety:
Plenty of people are claiming that they're in love with their lives and living their best lives since practicing 'lucky girl' affirmations, which is great but there are some things that cannot be solved with 'good thoughts'. Comments suggest that the 'toxic' trend comes from young, white, able-bodied, privileged women, and the TikTok videos don't take into account biases like racism and ageism that stop people from being able to achieve their goals.
The trend suggests that you make your own luck, so what happens when you receive bad luck? Believing that things come to you because you're positive also suggests that, if they don't come to you, perhaps you just weren't positive enough. This can be really damaging for people in terrible situations. Did they not visualise something else enough? Did they not want it enough?
What about when it comes to health? Research shows that those with positive attitudes in medical trials do not do any better than those with negative attitudes. It suggests that the person is to blame for not being 'lucky' enough or thinking positively enough.
And affirmations like 'I'm so lucky' and 'everything works out for me' are affirmations that don't actually have anything to do with you as a person. Manifesting is usually about personal wants and gains, products, and materialism. What happened to 'I am strong' and 'I am brave' and turned them into 'I can get anything I want'? What about manifesting and focusing on being a better person? Contributing to society?
Does manifesting just create the idea that we're all lacking and should want more? Has it created an anxiety that you should be striving for more instead of being happy with what you've got? Does it induce anxiety of having to be positive all the time, and then feeling guilty if you're not able to and something bad happens?
Should you be manifesting, and practising 'LGS'?
I think it's spread over the last couple of years because people think they should be manifesting, through social media influencers creating manifestation and vision boards as part of their morning routines.
So by all means use positive affirmations, a gratitude journal, and make goals for the things you want. But when you're thinking about manifesting, or practicing 'lucky girl syndrome', think about whether you're doing it because it makes you feel good, or because you feel pressured to. Do you want a 'quick fix' to your anxiety by thinking that things are in the hands of the universe, not your own?