Where Did The Law Of Attraction Even Come From?


In case you missed them, please do go read:

Part One


Part Two 

In this series.

Today, we are finally going to get into the actual Law Of Attraction - where it came from and how it’s evolved into modern times.

It’s really important to understand the history of these teachings if we want to see where they can help us, and where they may actually be harmful.

So let’s dive in!

Where Did The Law Of Attraction Even Come From?

The Law Of Attraction teaches us that our thoughts are ‘energy’ - just like everything else in the universe. 

It states that ‘like energy attracts like energy’ - thus if we have ‘positive thoughts’ we will ‘attract’ ‘positive experiences’ into our lives, whereas if we have ‘negative thoughts’ we will ‘attract’ ‘negative experiences’ into our lives.

This idea was first popularized by a man named Phineas Quimby in the early 19th century. He was suffering from Tuberculosis, a disease for which there was no cure at the time, and he found in his own experience that ‘thinking positively’ gave him a sense of feeling better. He believed that he was able to cure himself via his positive thoughts, and this is considered to be the ‘birthplace’ of the ‘new thought’ movement as we know it today. 

This ‘New Thought’ movement has been carried forward to this day via the work of Andrew Jackson Davis in the 1800’s, Prentice Mulford in the late 1800’s, Napoleon Hill in the early 1900’s, followed by Norman Vincent Peale, all the way to Louise Hay and Abraham Hicks contemporarily.

Again the entire premise behind this belief system is that humans are in a constant state of communication with ‘the Universe’ around us via our thoughts, will and intention. That it’s through this internal dialogue that we are ‘signaling’ to the Universe what we wish to experience. The Universe is constantly ‘reading’ our ‘energy’ via our thoughts/will/feelings and giving us what ‘matches’ the energy we are putting out.

According to the theory, there is no telling the Universe what you ‘don’t want.’ Rather, it seems that anything we focus on, or anything that we are FEELING, is going to be ‘read’ by the Universe as a ‘request’, and thus we will continue to ‘experience’ more and more of what we’re already thinking about/feeling. So if we are feeling sad, the Universe ‘matches’ that energy by giving us more sad experiences. If we are feeling joyful, the Universe ‘matches’ that feeling via more joyful experiences.

This is where a LOT of people can get caught in being really afraid of their thoughts. It’s said that with this law, if you are constantly fearing or picturing a plane crash, your own death, the suffering of someone you love - that you’re ‘attracting’ it to yourself because the Universe can’t discern between a fear and a desire. People can really start to fear their own thoughts and imaginations due to this belief system, because again it teaches that ANYTHING you focus on is something you’re going to ‘manifest’ good, bad or indifferent.

It teaches that where your attention goes, energy flows - so you better be very, very careful what you pay attention to.

It also again, teaches that anything you’re currently experiencing is something you drew TO YOURSELF via your focus/energy in some way - no matter what that experience is and no matter how young our old you are while you experience it - it was you that ‘manifested it’ and you that needs to change in order to experience something different.

There is variation of course in how this idea is taught. Some teachers instruct that one must be in a perpetual state of feeling the feelings they want to feel - and then being open to receiving whatever life experiences are going to be handed to us - meaning we aren’t trying to ‘get’ specific outcomes like a car or a spouse or a million dollars - rather we are to ‘feel’ how having those things would ‘feel’ and allow ourselves to exist in that feeling, thinking that so long as we are existing in the FEELING state we want, whatever the actual EXPERIENCE the Universe hands us is, it doesn’t really matter, because it will help us to keep FEELING how we want to feel.

Others teach that we can get EXACTLY what we want, that we can imagine a specific outcome or scenario that we wish to experience, and as long as we are ‘focusing’ on that specific outcome, the Universe will eventually relent and give us the precise outcome we’re looking for.

Some teachers specify that the feeling work is really just preliminary so that we can get to ‘right action’ or ‘aligned action.’ That in order to really ‘manifest’ the things we want, we DO have to take action - but we want to get into the right ‘vibrational frequency’ first - via that feeling/imagining/visioning work - so that we will actually be able to take the right steps towards what we want. They explain that if we don’t get our energy right first, we will just keep taking actions that bring us more of what we have because we are trapped in that ‘energy frequency.’ Thus if we want something different, before we take new action we must first shift our energetic state. There is an underlying assumption that we don’t want to try to figure out the ‘how’ but rather we want to get into the FEELING state of having/being what we want, then only taking actions that align with that feeling state.

Other teachers claim that action isn’t required. That trying to figure out the ‘how’ is actually a detriment to the process entirely. They teach that the only thing we really need to do is get into the feeling place, and then let the Universe work its magic around us - bringing to us all that we desire and taking from us everything that doesn’t match that desired feeling.

The main philosophical idea behind all of this, is that our reality is being created from within our minds/bodies/feelings. That everything that does or doesn’t happen to us is or isn’t happening simply because the energy of the experience either matches or doesn’t match the energy we are projecting out. 

This then means that we ‘should’ be able to be in total control over our experience, so long as we are staying in our preferred ‘frequency.’

Different teachers have taken this all to mean different things - some say it’s possible to fully heal any physical ailment or illness via manifesting/getting our minds aligned properly. Some say we should be able to manifest great material wealth, we should be able to magnetize to ourselves our ideal relationship, we should be able to manifest the perfect career - but also that we should be able to experience smaller things like visualizing a certain flower and having someone ‘randomly’ deliver a bouquet to you or feeling into the feeling of rain just before it starts to downpour. 

Others teach that again, it’s not really about anything in specific, but rather it’s about feeling how you want to feel, projecting the energy you want to receive and then being open to whatever experiences ‘match’ that frequency.

With all of this, I feel like it’s really important to take a step back and to think deeply about what’s being taught here - because the reality of this teaching isn’t what it appears to be on the surface.

Do We REALLY Have FULL Control Over Our Lives?

First, this whole idea teaches that we are in total control over our reality - whether we are aware of it or not. It teaches that nothing is happening ‘randomly’ or ‘by chance’ but rather EVERYTHING we experience is happening simply because we are a ‘vibrational match’ to it. It teaches us that no matter what we experience, we have to take some sort of responsibility for it, because we ‘called it in’ with our energy.

It teaches us that every terrible thing that happens to us, happens to us because we were an energetic match to it. 

Again remember, we can’t ever tell the Universe what we DON’T want according to the laws of this teaching. There is no ‘please don’t send this frequency to me’ setting. There’s only the Universe sending to you whatever you’re thinking about/feeling/a match to. Which means if you have experienced something painful, if you’ve been hurt or harmed in some way, if you are ill or if you are in any kind of situation that is causing you distress - you’re now, via the power of the Law Of Attraction - a match to MORE experiences like the one you’re currently in. You’re now ‘asking’ the Universe for MORE of that pain/negativity/illness or whatever it is, simply by being in the ‘energetic’ frequency of what you’re in. 

Thus, if you want something different, the core teaching is that you MUST shift how you’re feeling in order to shift what you’re experiencing. The teaching says that you must in some ways deny what you’re experiencing in order to become a match to something else.

There is a lot of emphasis placed here on forgiving the past, not being angry, not being sad, not allowing yourself to experience ANY negative emotional state - because again this is going to then ‘draw to you’ more negative experiences - and you can see how this can then become a sort of never ending loop if these teachings are actually true.

This Law makes very little if any room to actually FEEL or PROCESS our true, messy human emotions, because it tells us that anything we think about/ruminate on is going to become our ‘new point of attraction.’ Thus again, we have to be in a perpetual state of positivity if we want to have any hope of experiencing positive things. 

Because EVERYTHING that happens to us, according to this law, happen BECAUSE of us on some level.

Mostly, the entire premise of The Law Of Attraction is that reality is arising from between our ears - and between our ears ONLY.

Most teachers of this law in the present day and also in the past, are essentially teaching that we as humans have total control over our experience from WITHIN ourselves.

That our power isn’t ‘out there’ in what we ‘do’ or ‘don’t do.’ That our reality isn’t happening because of anything that we have done or not done necessarily - but rather that all that we are seeing and going through was STARTED due to a thought. An inner sensation. A feeling. A vibration.

The whole teaching revolves around the idea that all occurrence is simply energy responding to human thought.

The Law basically tells us that there is an omnipotent being/presence that is in constant observation of our energy/vibration. That this being is SO powerful and in control that it can create ANYTHING out of thin air - so long as it is a ‘match’ to what we are feeling/thinking - but at the same time this being is NOT discerning enough to be able to tell when we are thinking/feeling something we DON’T want to experience vs. something we DO. It’s just blindly ‘matching’ us.

It revolves around the idea that the entire universe - or whatever is controlling life on earth - revolves fully around us humans - that our conscious thoughts are the origin point for all things. 

What’s more, it teaches that each of our individual lives revolve fully around JUST ourselves. That nothing is happening because of others, their choices, their actions, the past or anything else - it’s all us matching with circumstances. 

This Sounds Like Childhood Perspective

First things first - I think if we zoom out and just take a moment to critically think about this - we can easily see that this line of thinking matches PERFECTLY with how we would have believed the world worked when we were children. 

From our perspective as children, it would have appeared to us that our caregivers were that omnipotent presence. It would have appeared to us that our caregivers had perfect capacity to meet all of our needs, to give us anything we desired and to take away all of our pain. Remember, in this time in our development, we had not developed the capacity to understand ourselves, to understand reality or to take care of ourselves. We had no capacity to understand why we had pain or how to create our own pleasure - all we knew was that the way to get what we wanted/to be rescued from what we didn’t want was to signal our feelings to our caregivers in some way. 

It would have appeared to us that the ONE thing we had control over in terms of the outcomes we were going to experience was our own behavior. It would have appeared to us that the ‘reason’ our caregivers were or weren’t meeting our needs, was always due to something WE were doing/not doing. We were learning in our BODIES and in our NERVOUS SYSTEMS at this time, that the way to pleasure and away from pain was through augmenting our behavior in some way so as to please/appease/gain approval from our caregivers so that they would then understand us and meet our needs.

It would have appeared to us at this time that approval of our caregivers was the one thing we needed in order to survive - because it was their presence, understanding and their action towards us that kept us alive and healthy. 

And, for a while, matching our behavior to what our caregivers wanted/understood WAS the best way to get our needs met. In the temporary codependent reality of our childhoods, we DID need to live up to expectation, to be understood and empathized with by someone else and in real reality, being approved of/doing the right actions in the context of doing what someone outsides of ourselves WANTED us to do was the best way to get what we needed.

In the temporary codependent reality of our childhoods, in a lot of ways approval DID equal survival/happiness and rejection DID equal death/pain. This was a very EMOTIONAL experience for us as children. Feeling our caregivers pull away from us, yell at us, scold us, and seemingly withhold what we needed from us was incredibly painful and scary. Seeing that there were parts of ourselves that caused our caregivers to pull away from or reprimand us made us feel that there were parts of ourselves that were ‘bad’ because they were literal existential threats to us. 

Doing what our caregivers wanted us to do - no matter how WE FELT doing those things would have been better for us than doing what we wanted to do/felt good to us but got us rejected because again - our caregivers were the arbiters of our reality. 

We learned deep down that our behavior as judged by someone outside of ourselves was the way to pleasure or pain. We weren’t being shown a one to one relationship with cause and effect reality. We were seeing reality through the middle man of our caregivers. We were learning that in order to have what we wanted and needed, it wasn’t about actually figuring out what our needs were or how to meet them - but rather it was about figuring out how to please our caregivers so that THEY would give us what we wanted and take our pain away. THIS is something that actually caused a LOT of confusion for us growing up. 

Most of us didn’t effectively or completely learn to identify our own needs, to understand WHY we are feeling how we are feeling, to understand what circumstances are required for us to feel how we want to feel or how to assess why something is hurtful/not getting us what we wanted.


We learned what pain and pleasure feels like, and we learned that we want pleasure and don’t want pain.

Then we learned deep in our BODIES that getting out of pain and into pleasure was a matter of someone ELSE knowing FOR us what was wrong/what would make us happy, and someone ELSE creating those conditions for happiness/removing the painful things. 

We learned that OUR job was to be PLEASING so that the authority would then TUNE INTO US, empathize with us, and figure out FOR US what we wanted and needed and how to make those things a reality.

It was our caregivers job to figure out that our cries meant hunger pains, which meant we needed food. It was our job to signal to our caregivers that we had pain. It was our caregivers job to figure out that we needed to be changed and it was their job to change us. It was our job to signal to them that we were uncomfortable. It was our caregivers job to figure out what we needed to learn so that we could create for ourselves what we wanted to create. It was our job to express frustration at not being able to do what we needed to do.

You see the pattern here?

We all learned that it wasn’t our job to figure out what was hurting, what we wanted or how to make it happen. That was the job of our caregivers. Our job was to ALERT our caregivers and to be pleasing enough to them that they would take the time to understand us and figure out for us what we wanted and needed, and then to give us what we wanted and needed.

You can see this mirrors the ideas of The Law Of Attraction. This mindset that there is an all knowing/all powerful being that is watching our behavior and rewarding or punishing us based on said behavior sounds a LOT like what we experienced to be reality as children. The idea that we just need to know that we are unhappy/how we want to feel and that if we just ‘signal’ this information to the universe enough, that IT will figure out HOW to make us feel how we want to feel again, sounds exactly like what we thought reality was as children.

Again, this constant looking to ‘be good’ in terms of keeping our ‘vibration high’ and thinking that this is how we ‘signal’ to the Universe what we want could easily be argued as being rooted in the perception that our behavior patterns were what signaled to our caregivers what we wanted.

Rather than focusing on actual cause and effect, rather than focusing on systems and the larger context of the world we live in, rather than being able to see that life doesn’t revolve around only us and our experience - The Law Of Attraction teachings make EVERYTHING about us, our behavior and how pleasing/displeasing we are being to the Universe - and this is exactly what reality would have appeared to be to us as children.

Our childhood reasoning believes that all pain is caused by not living up to expectations. Our childhood reasoning tells us that the way out of pain and into pleasure is to figure out who the dominant/authority is, and to then match our behavior to what THEY desire/expect so that we will be rewarded with them understanding us and giving us what we want and need. We feel that when we are suffering we must be ‘doing something wrong’ and in this we usually look for the authority we are acting against or we look for the authority who ‘has it right’ so that we can alter our behavior to be more pleasing. 

Thus when we are in pain, we tend to feel like we’re failing in some way, and we look to fix ourselves in order to feel better. And by fix ourselves what we mean is to get ourselves into the right way of being so that we will be acceptable and therefore understood and given what we want and need.

We all learned that the middle man between ourselves and what we want is being approved of by the authority figure who we perceive to be in control. We all learned that the middle man of us and getting out of pain is adjusting our behavior to be pleasing to this authority, so that THEY will rescue us/give us what we want/take away what’s hurting us.

We all learned deep in our bodies that to be pleasing to authority is to be rewarded with what we want and need - and most of us aren’t even clear on what we want and need in real reality - we just know how we want to FEEL, and we’re trying to signal to authority how we want to feel, while letting THEM figure out what circumstances we need in order to feel how we want to feel.

I think it’s important that we look at these parallels when we are considering following this teaching because I feel it’s very important that we recognize where we may be coming from a limited perspective in following these ideas vs. coming from an actually sober view of real reality.


Let’s take another break here, and come back next week for more on this.




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