Law of Attraction for Skeptics and Part-Time Believers

by Amy Shaw on December 3

The Law of Attraction always seemed hokey to me. Although Ive been part of personal development communities for years, I resisted the crap out of the Law of Attraction (LOA), with its promises of boundless abundance and happiness. It seemed like snake oil to me—just another product with little real substance that could be packaged and sold.

But then, I reached a point in my life where I felt like I needed something extraordinary. A grandiose promise at least looked better, at the time, than certain misery.

So, I got back in touch with my woo-woo roots, as I’m wont to do in times of difficulty. And it really seems to be working for me now. In this process of reconnecting with the Law of Attraction, I have come to understand it in new ways.

In this article, I want to share what Ive learned about using the LOA effectively with you, but from a particular perspective. I like to think of myself as a “part-time believer”—I find religion fascinating, Ive read texts from a variety of traditions, and Im also intrigued by the occult. I dont take this stuff too seriously, and I cherry-pick what works for me. Im inherently skeptical, but Im also imaginative. In other words, if this whole PD, LOA, or spirituality thing seems a little hokey to you, too, then this articles for you.

Some Backstory

Not long ago, I had three jobs. I was teaching at two different schools and working 25+ hours a week in retail. I had long commutes, and at the retail job, I worked irregular and sometimes late hours. I worked mostly 6, sometimes 7-day weeks at a time, using my “free time” to lesson plan and take care of household chores. There was no time for leisure—no time to get together with friends, go on dates with my man, or to get lost in my creativity, one of my favorite activities.

It started to wear on me. After a few months, I was experiencing physical symptoms of burnout. Often lightheaded and dizzy from not getting a chance to eat—or eating at weird times, with no routine—I was quickly losing steam, not doing as well as I wanted at anything I did. Im also in a band that plays shows regularly, and I help run Spiraling Up—two activities I was not willing to give up, despite the obvious shortage of time and energy I was experiencing.

When I started noticing the physical burnout symptoms, I knew I had to give something up. I had to listen to what my heart (and body) were telling me, as cliché as that sounds, and take a leap of faith towards an uncertain future. That leap of faith, for me, ended up being quitting my retail job.

LOA as “Smart Faith”

A leap of faith, by definition, means believing in something unprovable. Here, the “unprovable” thing is the future. No one knows the future, but we can have faith that things will go well for us. And thats exactly what were doing with the Law of Attraction, taking a leap of faith in believing that the future will be good.

I like to call this “smart faith” because if the future is unknowable, it’s smart to believe it will be good! If there’s any possibility in this life at all that thoughts create reality, shouldn’t we err on the side of caution and try to think good ones?

Being smart about faith means making deliberate choices. For instance, when I decided to quit, I chose to have faith that no matter what, this was a good move for me that would bring about outstanding results.

Faith in the Negative

I didn’t have to put my faith into the idea that things would work out. In fact, for a while I was unknowingly putting my faith into the exact opposite. Instead of believing it would be good for me to quit and imagining the opportunities it could lead to, I focused on things like how I would have less income and stability. I also frequently guilt-tripped myself: I should be able to handle my workload. Lots of other people have it way worse than me! and so on. Eventually, I got tired of thinking that way. I was tired of being unhappy, and thinking about the possible negative outcomes wasn’t making the future look any brighter.

Some might see having faith in the positive as unrealistic. After all, the future is unpredictable, and could go any which way. Shouldn’t we prepare ourselves for the worst? Sure, it is good to weigh the possible outcomes of any decision, and I don’t think anyone should stop doing that. However, once you have made a decision, believing the outcome will be bad only hurts you, and in fact paves the way for those negative outcomes to occur.

Begin With Your Emotions, Exactly How They Are

For months, I was silently putting my faith into those negative outcomes: Id be poor, a failure, a quitter, and so on. I was exhausted, physically and mentally, but I kept telling myself to stick it out. Eventually those platitudes stopped working as my real emotions bubbled forth.

Oddly, once I got in touch with those emotions—my frustration, my exhaustion, my sadness over losing my creativity—that is when I began to have some clarity over what I wanted to do. But I had to feel (and accept!) those things first; I had to stop the “shoulding” and have some compassion for myself. Already, compassion is an improvement on overwhelm, as far emotions are concerned.

Emotions are where the LOAs work begins. I always thought that when one practiced LOA, they simply imagined to themselves what they wanted, and then their desires magically materialized.

Yeah, not so much. You have to sort through your existing emotions and accept them fully before the LOA starts to work in your favor.

A Process, Not a Promise

Using the LOA is a much more involved process than “just feel good.” You have to be willing to look at yourself—really look at yourself—in the places where you most hurt. Most people are content to cover those places up with their coping mechanism of choice, but vulnerability is an indispensable part of what makes the LOA work, and it also brings us closer to finding happiness.

The idea behind the LOA is that the universe reflects back to you what you put out. This is not a new concept for personal development junkies, but it bears repeating. If youre feeling crappy, you get crappy results. If youre feeling good, you get good results.

So of course you cant just imagine your dream job and then expect it to fall into your lap if youre miserable all the time. You have to clear the way first. If you really want that job, but youre constantly thinking about how much your current job sucks, youre not open to receiving something better.

The Results

Since I got in touch with my emotions and decided I needed to quit, a number of odd, synchronistic things have happened to me. On the same day I gave my notice, someone approached me (at my job, no less) and asked if I knew anyone who tutored. I almost laughed out loud as I told her yes, I knew someone—me.

Whats even better is that recently, a colleague at one of my schools tipped me off that we have an opening for a full-time professor, which is my dream job. The timing of these opportunities could not have been more perfect.

How to Do It

Its simple: my outer reality start to shift when I made the decision to clean up my inner state. People think that theres some secret to shifting your state, and certainly many methods have been developed such as NLP, EFT, The Work, and so on, that give us clear techniques on doing so.

My method is basic: I use mindfulness throughout the day to become more self-aware. When I become more self-aware, I am able to release negative emotions rather quickly and clear the way for better states.

Mindfulness is nothing more than training yourself to be more consciously aware of subconscious thoughts and feelings.

Since subconscious thoughts and feelings are happening all of the time, you can practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere.

For me, this involves stopping whatever Im doing, taking some deep breaths, maybe closing my eyes, and simply asking myself what Im feeling at a given moment. It sounds ridiculously easy, but its astounding how seldom we actually take the time to do this.

What the LOA Really Is

The Law of Attraction, rather than forcing us into a robotic state of cheerfulness, is more of a catalyst for us to come to terms with our own humanity. We dont seek to reject our negative emotions, but to invite them in—to simply acknowledge them as phenomena in the human experience. When you apply this nonjudgmental attitude towards your emotions, you may find that they immediately lose some of their intensity just from the act of observation.

My future is still uncertain. I have no clue if Ill ever get this job. But I am choosing to believe that the appearance of an opportunity is in itself a great sign. Why should I believe otherwise?

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Amy Shaw

Amy is a part-time teacher, part-time freelance writer and editor, and full-time building a life out of her passions. Always seeking new, fresh ways to improve herself, Amy's approach to personal development has shifted over time: she has been influenced by everything from Tibetan Buddhism, to New Age spirituality, to Mark Manson's "slap you in the face" style of self-help. She claims no status of guru-ship, but she hopes that you can find yourself in her down-to-earth, reflective writing. Amy is Spiraling Up's editor, and she can also be found at Fiction Edit. She loves cooking meals from scratch, drinks espresso multiple times a day, and plays in a rock band called Dr. Martino.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephane Lacroix December 3, 2015 at 11:27 am

Hi Amy, I can definitely relate with your skepticism about the Law of attraction in the beginning.

As you said begin with emotions and most importantly have unwavering faith that everything will work out.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Stephane Lacroix

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Amy Shaw December 3, 2015 at 12:35 pm

And thank you for the reminder to have “unwavering faith!” I needed that today.

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Tara Woodruff December 3, 2015 at 11:29 am

Amy, I Love this explanation of what the Law of attraction truly is :). we are Always using it, However some of us are using it to purpose. great post!

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Amy Shaw December 3, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Tara, thanks so much for reading!

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Catherine December 3, 2015 at 12:32 pm

The skepticism on LOA was 100% me. I remember rolling my eyes and thinking ‘yea right’ … until I found an expert, in my opinion, in the industry who used different ways of talking about it, but in a way that spoke to me. This was an amazingly well written piece – appreciated this.

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Amy Shaw December 3, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Hi Catherine,

Thanks a lot for the kind words. 🙂 I have to ask–who was this expert? Always looking for new perspectives on the LOA.

-Amy

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Liz English December 3, 2015 at 1:14 pm

I Love this explanation of what the Law of attraction truly is! I do self-development every day, As you said when we begin with emotions and most importantly have unwavering faith that everything will work out for us in the end it really does. Thank You Amy for sharing

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Holly December 3, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Great peice Amy. Probably the most down to earth explanation of LoA I have read.

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Alicia December 3, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Loved this article and especially love, “If there’s any possibility in this life at all that thoughts create reality, shouldn’t we err on the side of caution and try to think good ones?” EXACTLY! =)

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Brandon December 3, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Great article! I used to be skeptical of the LOA, too. And now, somehow, I teach it. 😛

But you’re exactly right, the emotions are the first, and probably only, step. Get those in line, and everything else is settled. Feel good now, even without your manifestation, and then it will have no problem coming. 🙂

“If there’s any possibility in this life at all that thoughts create reality, shouldn’t we err on the side of caution and try to think good ones?”

I like this. It’s like Pascal’s Wager for the LOA.

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Steve Krivda December 3, 2015 at 9:49 pm

Oh yea, i was like…this is bull poo.
Then I came to understand what the LOA is all about. Life changing!

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Sue Rawlinson December 4, 2015 at 4:00 am

Interesting article, Amy. I have a healthy scepticism about New Age short cuts and promises of never-ending happiness and abundance. Having said that, I believe that at times we must wait for “the universe” to provide (the only way I know how to put it) which for me, means letting go of constant striving and, instead, allowing opportunities/ideas/whatever to present themselves. Sometimes this just means being open without preconceived ideas. I am in one of those phases now. I hope things go well for you too,

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Amy Shaw December 7, 2015 at 10:54 am

Hey Sue,

Thanks, this is a really interesting point. I wonder if there is a time to be more active in seeking out opportunities, and a time to sit back and wait for things to manifest. I’ve wondered how active I should be in seeking out more opportunities, and I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to be more action-oriented, but I do think sometimes we can become obsessive about it. It’s important to remember to balance these two types of energies.

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Brandon December 7, 2015 at 11:07 am

In my opinion, there definitely has to be a balance, but action shouldn’t be taken prematurely. Action taken out of a state of misalignment can actually really hinder your progress.

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Sim December 4, 2015 at 4:38 am

Nice article Amy!

It’s interesting I am not sure I am so much into LOA anymore, but I have certainly been getting into mindfulness and have been getting similar results. Mindfulness enables me to step back and be more aware of what’s going on within me so I can make better decisions. Clarity come quicker for me since implementing mindfulness. It also enables me to make bolder decisions.

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Kathie Donovan December 4, 2015 at 7:58 am

Amy you did all of us working in the self-development stream proud with your post. It’s so funny how so many of us are skeptical about this universal law of attraction. You don’t hear anybody arguing against gravity and it is also a universal law. Humans are wired to be skeptical, fearful and to look for the worst not the best. Working with LOA and getting under the hood of how we’re wired enables us to bust the racket of our thinking mind to be more available for what we want to receive. Amy I would love to send you a copy of my book Inspiration in Action: A Woman’s Guide to Happiness, if you email me your email address. I think you would really enjoy it. Hope it’s a great Friday. XO Kathie

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Amy Shaw December 7, 2015 at 10:55 am

Kathie,

That sounds great! I like it already. You can reach me at amy.evelyn.shaw@gmail.com. Thanks so much!

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Julie Syl Kalungi December 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

The LOA has been life changing for me. Frankly my African A thought it was a load of hogwash and hocus pocus…

But After some serious events and incidents in my life I begun to truly understand the power ofhmy thoughtshand what the attract…Scepticism has since fled and I am no part timer. I am full time raving fan 🙂 Awesome post. Ful of lessons and insights.

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Amy Shaw December 7, 2015 at 10:56 am

Thank you, Julie!

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Brian and Felicia White December 7, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Ooh, this is one of our favorite topics Amy and you certainly nailed it! The Law of Attraction is most definitely real. Love what you said..
“When you apply this nonjudgmental attitude towards your emotions, you may find that they immediately lose some of their intensity just from the act of observation.”
So many let their emotions take over and that clouds their decision making capabilities and actions but if they just observe, be aware, then let it go…focusing more of what you DO want, the Universe will deliver just that. As the great Napoleon Hill said, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement.” Where your focus goes, your energy flows. Would add that we agree with you 100% that action is key too! Thanks for sharing such value to help others live ON purpose. 😉

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