If you’ve been on TikTok recently or browsing bestsellers online, you’ve probably noticed a new trend in the self-development space: manifesting.
It's not a new term, in fact, the practice of manifesting has been around for decades if not centuries. An age-old quote from the Chinese philosopher Confucius could probably be said to represent the core idea behind the practice: ‘The man who says he can, and the man who says he can’t are both correct.’
Back in the early 1900s, Napoleon Hill’sespoused principles of manifestation, while in 2006, a fundamental belief of manifestation - the Law of Attraction - was made famous by Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 best-selling book Today, manifestation is back in the mainstream with everyone from Ariana Grande to Lizzo preaching its benefits. TikTok videos using the hashtag #manifestation have reached almost 13 billion views on the Gen Z platform.
And then there’s Roxie Nafousi. Dubbed the ‘Queen of Manifesting’ by Forbes, the self-development coach has close to 95,000 followers on Instagram, has contributed to Kourtney Kardashian’s lifestyle platform Poosh and has just released her first bookTo an outsider, it might seem like she's capitalising on a trend, but the Londoner is dubious about the rentry of manifestations into the mainstream.
“Recently manifesting has become a buzzword, a trend" she says, adding that the problem with manifestation being seen as a trend is that it can devalue the practice.
"People think that there's not much substance or depth to it.
"But manifesting has been around for centuries. Many philosophers and great thinkers have talked about manifesting - they may not have used the word manifesting, but what they were describing comes under that umbrella.”
So, what is manifestation, and how does it work?
“My definition of manifestation is using the power of your mind to change or create the reality of your vision,” Roxie says. She’s quick to shoot down those who might think this means writing ‘I want a boyfriend’ in their diary and then sitting back and waiting for Prince Charming to show up at their door.
“A lot of people assume that manifesting is about just visualising what you want. You do some ritual and you get it. That is absolutely not what it's about.”
While visualising is a part of the manifestation process, it is just one step, she explains.
“Manifesting is a self-development practice.
“It’s about being proactive, taking action, stepping outside your comfort zone, aligning your behaviour, looking at the way you treat yourself day to day, your habits, your routines and being able to embrace gratitude for all that you have already.
“It’s also about being resilient to the challenges that come your way.”
The self-development coach says the problem with how some younger generations have interpreted manifestation is they see it as a quick fix, something they can use to get what they want - without putting in the work.
“There is no substitute for hard work,” she says.
“Some people think, ‘Oh, I’ll manifest passing my exam’, as if they can then just sit back and wait for that to happen without putting in the work.
“If you want to manifest passing your exams, you have to work for it, commit yourself and apply yourself. If you want to manifest a promotion that would mean speaking out at team meetings, being proactive, immersing yourself within the team, building those relationships, having the balls to ask for the promotion.
“Manifestation is proactive, it’s not passive.”
And does it work?
“It changed my life. I have messages from people daily who have manifested what seem like miracles...the most important thing is, this isn’t about manifesting a house or money or things.
“Manifesting is about empowering people to be the best version of themselves, and that’s worth so much more.”
You can't get to where you want to go if you don't know where you want to go. Having that focus is really important.
This is about inner healing and recognising you are worthy and deserving of the things you want. This is the most challenging step, and it can take time to undo years of low-self esteem and limiting beliefs. When someone is stuck on this step, I ask them the question: What is your fear and why do you think you are not worthy of this?
This means adopting the habits and mindset of the person you want to become. It’s about being proactive and stepping outside your comfort zone.
This is about resilience. Don’t be derailed by things going wrong, and don’t settle for less than you deserve. If you do settle for less, you’re stopping what you really want from coming to you.
The manifesting sweet spot is knowing what you want while being grateful for what you already have. That’s about being able to say, I know where I am headed, but I also have full appreciation for where I am now.
We all feel envy, and we often feel ashamed of it. The trick with this is to recognise when something is making you feel jealous and say, this is OK, this is inspiration. If your friend has started a successful business and you feel jealousy, you might realise that’s something you want for yourself - and you can go get it too.
Manifesting isn’t about control. It’s about trusting that while you don’t know how it will happen, it will happen the way it’s supposed to.
- Roxie Nafousi’s book is out now