Discover more from Hadley’s Substack
If manifestation hasn't worked for you, try this.
As a follow-up to my critiques on manifestation, here are solutions that will help you live life to the fullest even when things don't go to plan.
In my first post on manifestation, I shared 5 critiques on manifestation that are the reasons I am anti-manifestation in so many ways. Yet I also shared that I still find myself manifesting and seeing my life through the lens of manifestation in some areas BUT I got too tired to share my manifestation solutions in the last post because it took me like 3 days to write… so I’m back and ready to chip away slowly at articulating the solutions for each critique. If you haven’t read the first article yet, I encourage you to do so before reading this one for better context.
Okay, let’s do this! In the last post I shared how I disagree with each of these manifestation principles, in this article I’m going to share in what ways I agree with it and how I apply it in my own way.
Thanks for reading Hadley’s Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Critique #1: Your thoughts create your reality.
First off I believe the serenity prayer is the #1 grounding force of manifestation: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Before choosing something to manifest, you must first have the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and cannot change. Manifestation is ONLY helpful in the areas of life that require having the courage to change the things that you can. And there are just some things in life that you cannot change and that is a challenging part of the human experience. There is no cure for being human, not even manifestation. The fact there is more out of our control than in it. With the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and can’t control, you can then and only then become an effective manifester.
Straight up there are some aspects of life that are impossible to change and some that you only perceive to be impossible. In the book Design Your Life, they call these gravity problems vs. anchor problems. Gravity problems are defined by immovable circumstances, either because they’re beyond your control or because you’re not willing to change them. Essentially gravity problems are not actionable and therefore are not what should be chosen as your manifestation. You don’t want to get stuck on something that you have effectively no chance of succeeding at. When it comes to these gravity problems the key is acceptance and changing your relationship to it.
An example of a gravity problem is the fact that you need money to survive. In our world, you need money to pay for your needs and that has to come from somewhere. This is a gravity problem that needs to be accepted and it’s up to you to change your relationship to money so that you can come to a place of it being actionable.
The other type of problem is called an anchor problem. Anchor problems tend to occur when we’ve set our hearts and minds on one solution and that has to be our manifestation. I’ll call myself out for being stuck in an anchor problem for a while when I only wanted to make money from my coaching business. I was expecting this new baby business to start paying the bills early on! Instead of opening myself up to earning through other income portals, which I eventually did and results in more money and my coaching business being fun again because there was less pressure.
So when it comes to “your thoughts create your reality” this means it’s your thoughts around actionable problems that create your reality not gravity or anchor problems. The first step is reframing an anchor or gravity problem into something actionable so that you have a chance at succeeding. Once you’ve landed on this reframe from that point forward it is where your thoughts make a difference.
As an IFS (internal family systems) practitioner, I believe your thoughts belong not to one YOU but to one part of you. Instead of just seeing you as this one thinker of all your thoughts, I see your thoughts as belonging to different parts. These parts are like subpersonalities, each with its own perspective, interests, memories, and viewpoint. So some of them agree with each other and some of them disagree with each other. SO when you have something in your life that you want to change, that you want to manifest, you want to go from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to go/the manifestation). I believe that there is a part of you that is benefiting from you being at point A and wants you to stay at point A even if you don’t like it because this part is either 1) trying to get your attention about an unmet need and/or 2) feels very comfortable here and doesn’t want to change. So therefore, I also believe there is a different part of you that wants you to be at point B. And often this part that wants point B reaaalllyyy doesn’t agree with or like the parts that wants point A.
The work lies in inviting all the parts of you that have something to say about your manifestation to the metaphorical table. Seriously, imagine a round table where you invite whatever parts of you have an emotion, thought, or physical sensation about your manifestation. This is called creating a “parts map.” You take inventory of all the parts of you involved and from there you can work on your own or with an IFS practitioner to be with and unburden these parts so that you can have more Self energy available to you regarding this manifestation.
Self energy, in IFS, is defined as your true, unburdened essence. It is characterized by qualities such as calmness, curiosity, compassion, confidence, and clarity. When you are in your Self, you experience a sense of well-being, inner peace, and connectedness. The Self is often described as the core, unchanging, and authentic aspect of your identity. Through IFS coaching, you can release burdens and resolve inner conflicts on a subconscious level which in manifestation is typically called “rewiring your beliefs.” But I’ll dive more into my critique of how manifestation typically teaches rewiring of beliefs in the next critique.
Critique #2: Journal to rewire your beliefs.
As I share in prior article of manifestation critiques, this whole rewiring your beliefs step typically looks like sitting down and journaling your “limiting beliefs” and then in the next column writing down corresponding “expansive beliefs” or whatever you want to call them. I’m sorry if it was this easy to change your beliefs you would’ve by now. Your beliefs were formed through experience and they are also changed through experience. Felt experience. Lived experience. Experienced experience. Not sitting in your room journaling about how you wish you thought about the thing you want to change or manifest. You cannot change your beliefs in your conscious mind, it happens in the subconscious and that is why I love IFS for this so called belief rewiring. First off I love IFS for this work because it acknowledges that there is at least one part of you that really doesn’t want to be changed, that wants to keep thinking and believing and being who you already are because that part of you feels it has a very justified and important reason doing what it’s doing. So if you come in and try to change it, that part of you will take an even stronger stance. It’s like when you were a little kid and you tell your brother to stop touching you and instead he just puts his finger 1 cm from your arm and yells “I’m not touching youuuuu.”
When you tell parts of you to change that don’t want to, they resist and harden. This is not conducive to real change, it’s the opposite. Real healing comes from a softening and in IFS that comes from befriending these parts that don’t want to change, not trying to override them immediately with a new belief. What I love about this process too is that ironically once you do this softening and unburdening your beliefs evolve without any manual rewiring. It’s an effortless shift that happens in it’s own time, but is totally worth the wait because it actually works. You don’t even have to shove affirmations down your throat saying “I allow this to be easy” because it just is. It’s not magic, it’s self-trust and self-leadership. It’s you being your owner healer by practicing IFS with a skilled practitioner you will always know how to rewire your beliefs without effort. Except I like to call this changing your relationship with said thing, not rewiring your beliefs about it.
If you want to get started on changing your relationship with your manifestation, I invite you to imagine the part of you that you wants to change or really wants this manifestation and invite it to sit across from you. How you feel towards this part of you? Write it down and take inventory of where this relationship stands today. Are there any other voices, thoughts, or emotions rising up that feel different than the first answer? Write that down too in a separate section. Then see how you can “be with” your responses to that question. How do each of the responses make sense, even if they contradict each other? This is the beginning of doing IFS for your manifestation.
Critique #3: It’s all about you.
Even within the category of the things you can change, due to systemic oppression, there are disadvantages some people face that others do not face that make change within a certain area of life more difficult. It is so important to realize the impact of this systemic oppression because these are gravity problems for some people and not for others. The path to reframing these gravity problems into actionable problems is by looking at how you’ve internalized the systems and this will allow you to change your relationship to it. To be empowered in life, you either need to change the thing or change your relationship to the thing. With systemic issues, it’s usually not something you can’t change on your own. So begin with changing your relationship to it and then be a part of influencing change at a systemic level. For example, let’s say you’re frustrated with capitalism and how wealth is circulated in our economy and how unfair the wealth gap is. This in many ways is a gravity problem, you alone cannot close the wealth gap. But if you stay consumed by a victim narrative, you will likely struggle financially and never be resourced enough (energetically, emotionally, financially) to influence systemic change. In this example, changing your relationship to capitalism and money is often referred to “rewiring your beliefs” but as I said before I don’t agree with how this rewiring is typically taught in manifestation, and so I recommend doing IFS to change your relationship with it.
Critique #4: Release the outcome so you can get what you want.
You don’t know exactly what will make you happy. It’s all a guess. You want what you want to manifest because you think it will make you feel a certain way based on what you see other people doing or your past, but humans are really bad at knowing what will make them happy. A lot of times when you get what you want it doesn’t look anything like you thought it would and it can be quite disappointing. What’s most important is not knowing what you want, but being clear on who you want to be through life. Set your sights on dreams that motivate you to grow and evolve as a human being, but know that it’s more about becoming more YOU than actually getting the thing. I speak about this in the first article, but the Buddhist principle of non-attachment teaches that suffering and dissatisfaction in life are primarily caused by our attachment to desires, material possessions, and the transient nature of the world. Knowing this doesn’t have to be unmotivating, but rather an invitation to loosen your grip on getting exactly what you want in life. This is called surrendering. This is called liberation. This is called meeting life in the moment, being present, and being open. What I wish I had learned sooner is you don’t need bigger goals and focus on the future and manifestation so much because while you’re so focused on “someday” your life is happening today, without you.
Critique #5: Write a list of what you want and don’t settle.
I’m not anti-list or anti-journaling, I’m just anti-using it as the end all be all. Let yourself dream and imagine and write it down, but also allow yourself to be wrong. Just because an apartment, person, job, or client walks into your life and doesn’t check all your boxes doesn’t mean that they’re not for you. What I do like about lists is writing down your “need to haves” and “nice to haves” can help you focus on what you want vs. spiraling on everything that’s not working on what you don’t want. It gets you out of thinking that your past predicts what you will have or who you will be in the future. When I first started manifesting back in 2015ish, I used these 3 journaling prompts and I still really like them for getting yourself focus on the reasons why things really could work out for you, and that’s a beautiful thing. At the top of your paper write what you want. Underneath that write "these are the reasons I want this" then list the reasons. Below that write "these are reasons I believe I will have this that I want" and then list those reasons. As humans our nervous systems are designed to look out for negative things to keep us safe, but this means our default is often negative and we look at all the reasons why something won’t work out before we look for the reasons it will. So I like manifestation list making for this reason, it helps us fight this negativity bias and be more open and optimistic for what would happen. What if you did get exactly what you wanted?
So in summary of all of this, my solution to manifesting that is more likely to work for you is:
Accept the things you cannot change and for your manifestation choose something you can change but requires courage.
Your beliefs change through experience, not through overriding your limiting beliefs with new ones. This is why the experiential elements of IFS is so impactful for manifestation.
It’s not always about you and your beliefs, it’s often systemic. But liberating yourself from internalized systemic oppression can be a powerful catalyst to becoming resourced enough to influence systemic change.
Losen your grip on getting exactly what you want because while you’re so focused on the future your life is happening without you.
Use manifestation lists as a way to focus on what if things worked out for you and get out of the human’s disposition to negativity bias, but know that lists are a general guideline and you don’t need to check every box.
Thanks for reading Hadley’s Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.