The opinion of psychologists on the law of attraction

“It’s crazy, I was sure it would happen, I had to manifest it!”: in 2021, this kind of sentence has become common. The law of attraction, small star of personal development, enchants us more and more, so much so that the famous Secret by Rhonda Byrnes, published in 2006, is no longer so secret. The idea is simple: to manifest something is to attract positive events by means of positive thoughts. For example, it’s about going to an exam being sure of passing it, in order to put the odds on your side, or arriving at our cousin’s wedding being convinced of meeting the ‘soul mate. Without caricaturing, the law of attraction simply consists in attracting the positive by means of positive energies, like a boomerang effect, so that the Universe returns to us what we release.

In truth, it is an extremely vast and ancient concept, which has its roots in several philosophical currents and religions, including Hinduism. In the personal development department, multitudes of books continue to address the issue: we can notably cite the new edition of 50 exercises to practice the law of attraction (Ed. Eyrolles), or even Attract abundance into your life with the law of attraction (Ed. First) by Slavica Bogdanov. On Instagram, a swarm of inspiring accounts (@raise.the.vibe.tribe@lalahdelia Where @tobemagnetic) offer to help us enhance our energy, in order to manifest what we wish. The famous English author, former Hindu monk, Jay Shetty also often refers to it, notably in his best-selling book Think like a monk (Ed. Tredaniel La Maisne).

Indeed, today’s great thinkers, such as Eckhart Tolle on his YouTube channel, address the issue at length, emphasizing how complex the subject is. To grasp it in its depth, it is necessary to read, again and again. But its daily use, easily understandable, is now known to everyone. One question remains: does the law of attraction really work? Since it seems to help its followers so much, we asked several experts about it.

Not a magic formula

In the eyes of FSP psychologist and psychotherapist Paul Jenny, the concept is above all akin to an image: “To my knowledge, the idea of ​​a law of attraction is based on the postulate that reality is multiple and that our state of mind will influence what happens to us, he summarizes. This is a theory new-age which would be inspired by a physical law, which brings a kind of legitimacy associated with the spectrum of science.

Indeed, the concept is currently not based on any concrete scientific evidence. However, there is a mechanism that could explain our tendency to attract the elements on which we focus: the FSP psychologist Julien Borloz evokes the reticular activation system: “It is a cerebral system that allows us to find what we are looking for, with the objective of survival. For example, when we want to pick chanterelles, our eye will be attracted by anything that is small, yellow and mushroom-shaped. This comes from the fact that we have given a precise mission to our brain, so that we will be more quickly attracted by what we are looking for or what we are thinking about.

This reminds us of those times when a happy event in the morning will persuade us that we are living “a lucky day”, bringing to our attention all the small successes that will occur during the day. Our expert summarizes this hypothesis: “Some people will say to themselves that it is the universe that brings them what they want: for my part, I would explain it by this attentional mechanism which makes us focus more on what we want. to see.”

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Although it is not a magic formula (too bad!), the idea is therefore not that absurd. Moreover, for Sarah Bezençon, these famous positive thoughts can have real repercussions on our daily lives: “The first thing that comes to mind is a quote from Carl Gustav Jung, she shares: “Until what you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” For me, this idea is related to the law of attraction. For example, many people ask me why they always fall in love with the same type of partner, ending up living the same stories. In terms of unconscious dynamics, we attract people who resonate with what we carry within us:

So if you have a positive attitude to people, to circumstances, that mindset will attract positive conditions.”

You can learn good habits

Even without giving it unlimited power, the manifestation can therefore help us, on a daily basis, in our way of approaching or apprehending things. “In pragmatic terms, the law of attraction amounts to directing your attention towards the success of the objective that you set yourself, continues Sarah Bezençon. This is widely recognized in high-level sport: great athletes benefit in particular from mental support, which helps them to visualize the success of their forehand, their sprint or their dribble, by representing themselves once ‘goal achieved.”

Paul Jenny agrees, pointing out that the idea of ​​positive self-suggestion can have a motivating effect: “I think the success achieved [par les adeptes de la loi de l’attraction] is based on the hope generated by the belief that we can have an impact on the events of our lives. To a certain extent, the awareness of being an agent of one’s own existence is an element that can reinforce confidence and self-esteem.

I also think that this success can be understood by the fundamentally human need to dream and to escape a certain daily life which can be saturated with problems, or a certain modern scientific determinism.

Not to mention that the concept of manifestation can transform the way we view the events of our daily lives, leading us to hope for the best. For our expert, she is able to bring us a positive state of mind, openness, availability to improbable events and a flexible attitude in relation to what is experienced on a daily basis, all elements that allow better adaptability. .

“If to get to your place of work you always take the same route, it may be that your journey is synonymous with habit, explains Paul Jenny. Taking another route will allow you to see things differently. You will see details that you never noticed, it may even be that certain problems are perceived differently or that your thoughts change. We can thus understand that these ingredients facilitate daily life and lead us to live more easily what we wish, not by a certain magical effect which would be material but by the magic of perceiving things differently.

Where does manifestation find its limits?

Unfortunately, the law of attraction can’t do all the work for us. Certainly, it will promote this positive, confident, energetic, grateful state of mind, but it can only be up to us to give ourselves the possibility of achieving our objectives. “If you go to an exam thinking you’re going to pass, you’re definitely more likely to pass,” says Sarah Bezençon. However, this thought will not do everything: you must also study, act, give the means to this positive thought to come true.

For his part, Paul Jenny underlines the risks posed by unrealistic expectations: “It can lead to frustration and could even lead to despair if this mechanism is repeated, he laments. I sometimes see patients who think that because they think differently, postitively, they will then reap the benefits deemed deserved. It doesn’t work that way. It is not enough to think positively to reap the fruit of one’s thoughts, it is also and above all necessary to act in line with one’s objective. Thus, the specialist advises to set SMART objectives, namely specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and defined in time. “Another tactic is to take small steps, rather than trying to reach the goal directly,” he says.

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Remember also that such a positive perspective is not easy to cultivate for everyone! If Sarah Bezençon applauds this spirit of gratitude and optimism, tending to make us more fulfilled on a daily basis, she specifies that it is often hampered by our limiting beliefs. To those who fail to cultivate this mood, the expert gives the following advice: “We can start by asking ourselves what is holding us back, what leads us to believe that we are not going to make it or that we will never find the right partner, for example. It’s not about being happy every day, but about training resilience, determination, confidence in our ability to bounce back, the strength to learn from less fortunate events…

It is a real learning process, which also involves clearing up these limiting beliefs.”

The reverse law of attraction

Last important point of this (so vast!) theme: can the principle of manifestation also work in the other direction, by feeding our fears or a need for control? This can happen when an anxious or stressed temperament pushes us to do just the opposite: in this kind of case, we convince ourselves that because we have imagined the worst and considered all the possible negative scenarios, we will be better prepared for it, thus averting the catastrophe that we fear so much. For example, after having carried out an examination, one will automatically think that this one is failed, in order to avoid false hopes. “It’s a strategy that can work, but does it make us more fulfilled? asks Sarah Bezençon. It is also necessary to reflect on our quality of life: when we live in fear, we live in a cage, a limited comfort zone that imprisons us.

In response, Sarah Bezençon describes a serene and realistic way to adopt the law of attraction in our lives: “I would say that it is appropriate to manifest not only the goal, but also the path that can lead us there. You have to manage to come to terms with the reality principle, to get into action. But in these actions that we take, we must also know how to let go, trust and abandon our will to control: because this is fueled by fear and does not arouse good energies. So, to put all the chances on our side, we hope for the best, we give ourselves the means, while telling ourselves that the event will not be able to bring us total control. And that is perfectly ok.

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The opinion of psychologists on the law of attraction

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