Manifestation, Mantras, and Visualization: A REALIST'S guide

Look, I get it.   You hear seemingly bizarre stories about someone living on the side of a dumpster who “manifested” 100k in three months and is now sunning in Aruba while you’re in your cubicle, just hoping that today someone brings in cookies instead of suggesting an office-wide group diet challenge again.   And you resent it.   It makes complete sense, and I feel you, 100%.  First of all, that story is quite possibly bull, or at least exaggerated.   Second, if it were that easy, yes, everyone WOULD be doing it!  I get your doubts, I really do.  You think it might be impossible, and even if it is possible, it definitely doesn't make sense.  You’re a hard worker and it doesn't make sense for you to spend your energy on some ambiguously defined “mindset” work that may not ever pay off.

Let’s back it up, shall we?   Put aside your (slight and totally understandable) cynicism for just a minute.   And hear me out.

I’m not going to tell you you’re guaranteed to make millions of dollars.   I’m not even going to promise you’ll be able to quit your day job any time in the near future, if that's your goal (sorry!).   I’m also not going to promise that “mantras” are going to make you magically transform from a person who looks in the mirror and sees your (self-perceived) enormous ass before anything else into someone who loves their body, one hundred percent of the time, overnight.   I’m not going to tell you that if you visualize yourself on that same beach in Aruba in a few month's time, that’s where you’ll be this time in August.  Even if you visualize it every day, really strongly.  Even if you put it on your vision board, and make one for your desk at work, and one for your apartment, and one on your Pinterest, and make it the screensaver on your laptop.  And I'm saying that as someone with an unhealthy vision board addiction.

And yet…

I’m still going to tell you that all of these things that you aren't yet sure you believe in, that you want to be a little bit cynical about, that I can’t guarantee will do immediate limitless magic...those things are worth all of the effort they require, and you should absolutely do it.  No matter how skeptical you are.   I'm a recovering skeptic myself.   It took me years to even consider any of the practices listed in the title of this blog entry.   And I still struggle with them sometimes, of course.   I'm human.  But I can honestly say that every single one of them has brought positive change into my life in ways that I couldn’t have achieved without attempting them.   So let’s set aside the doubt and get started.   Here are some tips to make the process a little less painful.

1.           Wear your heart on your wrist.  Let me start by saying, this is not sponsored in any way.   I'm just an enormous fan of Katie and her products.   Metal Marvels is a company owned by a Slay Baby, badass entrepreneur named Katie Seller (so you can feel extra good about supporting her business when you buy!).  Her company makes lots of cool products, but why I’m recommending her company here is because many of her "Expletives" bangles feature nontraditional empowering mantras.   Need an example?   “Have High Fucking Standards”. “Make Life Your Bitch”.  “Live a Fuck Yes Life”.   No, these might not be traditional mantras.   But do they guide me?  Yes.  To live my life more fully, and as a more complete, authentic, badass version of myself?   Absolutely.   You don’t have to follow the rules of what a mantra “should” look like or “should” be (though of course you can go with more traditional mantras if that's what feels aligned to you).  But please, curate.  Find what works for you.  For me, it tends to be anything that's a little profane and a lot empowering.   And it's really powerful to wear around your mantras to be constantly reminded of them as you go about your life.  If you’re like me and enjoy nontraditional affirmations and mantras, check out this site and see if any of her messages resonate with you.   

2.          Take the necessary time to develop your own affirmations.   I've read so many self help and personal development books over the years, and so many of them discussed affirmations, but almost none of their affirmations resonated with me.   Not one.  They all felt too cheesy or too far from what I would get myself in the mindset of at the moment I came across them.  Finally, I came across the advice somewhere to create my own affirmations.   Honestly, it seemed like a lot of work, so I put it off.  And I continued getting absolutely nowhere.   Then finally, once I got desperate, I tried it, and of course, it worked right away.  The reason affirmations work in general is that words have power.  Affirmations have power because words do, and the words we use with ourselves are powerful (which also explains why negative self-talk can be so destructive and positive self-talk can be so transformative).  So we have to choose the language that will best convey what we need to hear to our individual hearts.  

Here's an example.  Let’s say your issue is confidence, like one of mine was.   There is a beautiful book by Louise Hay and Robert Holden called “Life Loves You”.  It’s an incredible book.  It really is, and I love both authors' work, including this book, and am not trying to bash it.   But one of the included affirmations is “Life Loves Me.”   When I was working on my confidence, I tried repeating this affirmation so many times, silently and out loud, in front of a mirror, every which way the book recommended, to absolutely no avail.   I felt ridiculous and embarrassed, even though I loved the book.   But that affirmation felt like them.  It did not feel like me.   Eventually I settled on, “I am proud of the person I am becoming, and make choices to live as that woman every day.”   It felt much more authentic, albeit less succinct.   But once I found the right words, I felt it.  I felt it in my bones.  It felt right to me, and it was worth the work to find it, because every time I said it, or wrote it, or thought it, I really did align with it.   Whereas, as much as I loved that book, hearing that “Life Loves Me” does absolutely nothing to change my mindset personally.   So take the time to develop individual affirmations.   It’s worth the effort.

3.         GET OVER YOURSELF.   Yeah, I know.   You don’t want to hear it.   But you’re already reading, so you might as well.   This one is harder than buying gorgeous yet affordable bangles or making use of the power of words, because it involves dealing with your shit.    Now, I'm going to be gentle here, but I think it's important to be real with you.   The process of dealing with your shit is not fun, and that’s why this is work, and that’s why this is hard.   In the beginning, one of the doubts I mentioned was, “If this is easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?”   It’s not easy.   That’s why lots of people aren't doing it.   This is the life-changing, real, crucial work.   And it can hurt at first to change and grow.   But if you’re reading this blog in the first place, you’re probably ready for that type of change.   So let’s dive in. 

a.          The first step would be to ask yourself what’s actually blocking you.   The answer is almost always “fear” or “ego” (if you’ve studied any Course in Miracles/Gabby Bernstein content.  If not, don’t worry, fear is basically the same thing).  However, we want to get deeper than that.   Fear of what?   What are you so afraid of?   The answer is success sometimes, more often than you think.  You’re afraid success will make you unlikable, whether it’s to society (because you’re a woman, #screwthepatriarchy), or to your family or friends or romantic partner, or even yourself.  You’re afraid success will change your character or make you different.   You’re afraid you don’t deserve to be confident/rich/happy/whatever else you’re visualizing or manifesting or attracting.   The root is almost always fear, and the first key is to figure out what EXACTLY you’re afraid of.   Once you figure that out, you need to work through that fear in order to reach the point where you're ready to receive what you want.  Of course, even once you do this work, the old crappy belief will still show up sometimes and fuck with you.  That’s what they do, at least for a while.  Just calmly let the thought pass, telling yourself “I accept you, thought, and I release you.”  And return to your healthier thought.  Keep shifting these thoughts, and it will become easier and more habitual.   And every time you shift these thoughts, you're changing your life.  (Credit to Gabby Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie book for this process, which I have profaned and amended, but which is generally amazing shit). 

b.         If you feel condescending about more out there, "woo woo" concepts like this, ask yourself where is the condescension coming from.   If you have a hard time identifying any fear, but are very clear on feeling condescension, skepticism or cynicism towards this type of work, ask yourself where that belief is coming from.   Is it coming from something you were taught about this type of work?   Do you believe that what you were taught is absolutely true?   If so, why?   Who taught you?   Are they credible?   If some of these answers are no, what are the reasons for your doubts?   Do your best to get really clear on the source of your beliefs about this type of work.   Usually condescension comes from a belief that this type of work is “inferior” to “hard work”, or "not real work", which is a false, limiting belief ingrained by other people in your life or by society.   Mental work is in many ways the most important work we do in our lives, whether it's just within ourselves or about how we relate to others and the world around us.   It can profoundly change your life, is often harder than "practical" work, and very often more rewarding.

c.          Finally, for those of you who can only identify anger, rather than condescension or fear: What is is that makes you so angry and why?   Do the work to work through the anger.  You need to reach the root of the emotion.   Generally, starting with what you were raised to believe is a good place to start.   What society told you or keeps telling you is another good thing to consider.   You might want to meditate on this a bit.  Often, once you get to the root of the anger, you’ll see it’s also based in a limiting belief that came from either the way you were raised or from society or from another party.  In that case, follow the steps outlined in (a) for dealing with limiting beliefs. 


If you can get past any cynicism or doubt and put in the work with these things, they will change your life, faster than you could have expected.   I won't lie to you, it’s not easy.   But it is worth it.