While the Law of Attraction is getting quite a bit of publicity these days, the concept has been around for centuries and has been known (and used successfully) by great minds throughout history. According to books like The Secret, there’s evidence that the law of attraction was used by Beethoven, Einstein and even Jesus, but you’ve also used it in your own life whether you’re aware of it or not! This is because the Law of Attraction works whether or not you’re aware of it. The main reason for the current focus on it is that if you’re aware that you're using the Law of Attraction, you can control what you attract into your life.
How The Law of Attraction Works
Basically, the Law of Attraction works like this: you create your own reality. What you focus on, what you emote about, is what you draw into your life. What you believe will happen in your life is what does happen. This isn’t as simple as it seems, however, or everyone would have the lives that they want naturally. For example, people who are in debt and continually tell themselves, “I need more money,” don’t find more money, they continue to “need more money” because that is the reality that they create. (Read this article for more on the secret of attraction.)
Why It Works
Many people wonder why this works, and there are more than one explanation. The two main schools of thoughts go along these lines:
- The Spiritual Explanation:
Many people believe that the Law of Attraction works by aligning God or the Universe with our wishes. We are all made of energy, and our energy operates at different frequencies. We can change our frequency of energy with positive thoughts, especially gratitude for what we already have. By using grateful, positive thoughts and feelings and by focusing on our dreams (rather than our frustrations), we can change the frequency of our energy, and the law of attraction brings positive things (things of that frequency) into our lives. What we attract depends on where and how we focus our attention, but we must believe that it’s already ours, or soon will be.
- The Traditionally Scientific Explanation: If you’re one who needs things to be a little more easy to prove, there is also a different explanation for how the law of attraction works. By focusing on attaining a new reality, and by believing it is possible, we tend to take more risks, notice more opportunities, and open ourselves up to new possibilities. Conversely, when we don’t believe that something is in the realm of possibilities for us, we tend to let opportunities pass by unnoticed. When we believe we don’t deserve good things, we behave in ways that sabotage our chances at happiness. By changing our self talk and feelings about life, we reverse the negative patterns in our lives and create more positive, productive and healthy ones. One good thing leads to another, and the direction of a life can shift from a downward spiral to an upward ascent.
Proof That The Law of Attraction Works
Whatever the underlying reason, reams of anecdotal evidence confirm that the law of attraction works. And, for those science-minded folks out there, research does seem to support the positive effects of the Law of Attraction as well. For example, research on optimism shows that optimists enjoy better health, greater happiness, and more success in life. (The advantage that optimists share is that they focus their thoughts on their successes and mentally minimize their failures. This article has more information on the traits of optimists.) One of the foundations of therapy is that changing your self talk can change your life in a positive direction. And millions of people have found success with positive affirmations.
Law of Attraction Caveats
One problem I have with the book The Secret, and with some people's interpretation of the Law of Attraction, is that it's singularly the belief we hold that good things will come to us that will bring us all that we desire, without any sort of action behind that belief. Studies on optimists show that it is the optimistic viewpoint that drives the proactive behaviors that in turn bring optimists such great results in their lives. Optimists don't receive their benefits from their attitudes alone--it's the behavior the attitudes inspire that creates real change.
More importantly, critics of The Secret and other books about the Law of Attraction point out the very real concern that people may start to blame themselves for negative events that are outside their control, such as accidents and injuries, layoffs due to the financial crisis, or major illnesses. My belief is that we can't always control our circumstances, but we can control our responses to them. In this vein, the Law of Attraction can provide the optimism and proactive attitude that's associated with resilience in difficult situations, but must not be used as a tool of self-blame. Our responses to the challenges we face can make us stronger in the end, and the Law of Attraction can be used for that end, but should not be applied negatively, or it can be more destructive than helpful.
Taking The Next Step
Now that you understand the Law of Attraction, you can harness this power in your own life. A first step would be to test your own habitual thought patterns to see whether you tend toward optimism or pessimism and learn more about changing habitual patterns of thought. (To do so, take The Optimism Quiz!) Additionally, this article on using the Law of Attraction can help you make many positive changes in your life. Now is the time to start; your future is in your hands!