The 6 Snarkiest Misconceptions about the Law of Attraction: #1 - Christine Kane

In my teaching, in the talks I give, and in my travels, I meet lots of people who have discovered the Law of Attraction. It’s fascinating and fun to hear about the rapid changes people have created.

These same people also talk about how they occasionally get stuck, face doubts and old patterns, and have bad days. So, I started pondering and writing down the most common misconceptions our snarky egos have about the Law of Attraction. I’ll be featuring one a day this week…

#1 – Turning the Law of Attraction into the Law of Blame

Blaming Ourselves

When I first heard about the Law of Attraction, I was just getting started in my music career. I was broke, living in a hovel, recovering from an eating disorder, and let’s be honest…I was a bit of a drama queen. My first thought went something like this: “So, now you’re telling me this is my fault?” Then, I spent the rest of the year feeling awful about creating my awful life.

After working with hundreds of people at my retreats and e-Seminars I know that I’m not alone in this initial reaction – which is nothing more than translating a liberating concept (personal responsibility) into a damaging concept (personal blame).

Thinking Others are Being Blamed

Other people make that same distorted translation – only they turn it outward, suggesting that the Law of Attraction is pointing the finger of blame in tragic situations.

I call this the “What about Hitler?” syndrome.

The “What about Hitler?” syndrome is cleverly designed to cut off any further discussion on the topic. It occurs when someone hears the idea of attraction, and immediately cites the worst possible world events, outraged that anyone could believe that anyone would “attract” a Hitler. End of conversation.

Fair questions, of course. But typically, the questioner isn’t asking from a place of openness or depth. The question is posed from a place of outrage or self-righteousness.

Attraction is Not Blame

If you use the Law of Attraction as a personal growth tool, it can be challenging at first. Ultimately the challenge pays off when you begin to see connections between your thoughts, jealousy, complaining, and lack of clarity and the outcomes you’ve created. It can be painful, too. But anyone who is willing to look deeply at what they’ve created in their lives and shift old patterns will inevitably see results – both inside and outside.

As for tragic events, my philosophy is this: I work with the Law of Attraction because it expands me, awakens me, and helps me succeed. While I use it in how I teach and how I approach creativity, I can’t force other people or situations to abide by it. I don’t pretend to understand why certain situations happen, but I know for certain that I can’t help anyone at all by remaining outraged, or by playing small because I feel sorry for them. Ditto for getting hooked by the drama or the horror. Ghandi advised that we be the change we wish to see in the world. Though I don’t always succeed, I challenge myself to do this in every situation, while having compassion for the situations I don’t understand.

Deflecting the Truth

Whether you use the Law of Attraction to beat yourself up on a regular basis, or you dismiss the whole idea by citing horrifying world events, I encourage you to recognize that blame of any kind serves a convenient purpose: Deflection.

Someone who spends lots of time and energy feeling bad for how unconscious she has been is holding on to her belief that she is a victim. Only now, she is a victim of herself and her own stupidity or unconsciousness or whatever. This further deflects her place of power and prevents her from having to think about the work she can do right now. She gets to stay stuck. Any release or clarity that could potentially arise is not reached because she is now deflecting the real growth. She is now getting caught up in her own shame and feelings of worthlessness, rather than uncovering her authentic desires and needs. We often use deflection when we’re right at the edge of discovering a greater truth about ourselves.

I just finished leading another Great Big Dreams e-Seminar – a six-week home-study course I designed to get participants clear about their life direction and motivate them into taking massive action to create that life.

One of the participants in this e-Seminar started to blame herself for her past unconscious choices. Instead of beating herself up, she chose to be brave and go through the grief she felt. She allowed herself the time and space to cry – knowing that this was the true emotion that wanted to arise. She recognized that blaming herself for letting her life fall apart wasn’t going to help her. But allowing grief helped her move on with greater ease. All the while, she continued to do the work of getting clear and taking action.

When we blame ourselves, we’re using old patterns to block our growth or our expansion into a different mindset. While most of us can’t just *decide* to not feel guilt or blame, we can begin to ask ourselves what emotions we are trying to block by getting lost in our blame and guilt. What are you deflecting? What are you avoiding facing in your life or in your beliefs?

The same is true for outrage. Outrage usually comes out of self-righteousness. In my experience, there’s no better block to your own awakening than self-righteousness. And there’s no better way to deflect deep growth and awakening by putting up a wall of outrage. No one can get past it. Not even you. That’s pretty convenient. But ultimately, it’s you that misses out on the growth and evolution that comes from exploring your own beliefs.


When I could finally let go of the idea of fault or blame, I began to ask myself more empowering questions in all sorts of situations. “How did I create this?” “What were my thoughts?” “What are my beliefs?” “What would I prefer to create or to believe?” “How can I start to move toward that ideal?” I challenged myself – and still do – to work with self-acceptance and self-forgiveness while moving towards better mindsets. The results have been amazing. And blame has become just a tiresome old boring pattern that gets very little attention.

  • Robert Rigsby

    Great post. This really summed up a lot of the misconceptions about the Law Of Attraction especially the “so this is my fault” part. Thanks Christine

  • David Neumark

    I’m sure you and other proponents of LOA are well meaning people and that it gives your life meaning.. I have no right to deny your beliefs and experiences. There are people who have honestly tried to live by the law of attraction who have not had positive results. You need to respect their experience and allow for the possibility that in some cases it doesn’t work and have compassion for such people. Compassion and empathy have gone out of style in this age of LOA. Ylou can’t possibly know another’s pain and sometimes, the only response is compassion and the humility to say I don’t know.

  • roger

    I won’t get into my opinions about the “law of attraction”. But i will say that there are people out there who indeed don’t suffer from shame. They are most commonly known as sociopaths and you can find them in any major penitentiary.

  • Paula G

    Love this post & look forward to the whole series.

    I have to agree with you that it is always at work…but I don’t believe it is the only thing that is always at work. Sort of like the scary trend where people now blame themselves for an illness and then blame themselves again if they can’t magically cure themselves. Is the illness in some way a result of what they attracted? Yes, but it isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. Like you said — there is a mystery factor which I believe is tied into a greater plan of some kind. And, all of our collective actions affect the whole. So the whole Hitler argument can hold true both in how and why it manifested and the lessons that needed learning.

    I know myself and when I work with my clients… if something shows up in my life that I am not thrilled about – the only place I can look to change anything is within. I can’t control anyone else…I only can take responsibility for my thoughts, beliefs, and actions. That is at the core of it all and at the core of the LOA. Otherwise we’re left with blame which gets no one anywhere. I think Thicht Naht Hahn calls it “Don’t Blame the Lettuce”.

  • Michael Donlan

    When people ask “What about Hitler”, it may be helpful to remember that Hitler was elected by the German People. In a way they got what they manifested. They had been “oppressed” by the rest of the world and as a group they where looking for revenge. When you think of it in these terms, Hitler may be a great example of the Law of Attraction on a grand scale!

  • Christine Kane

    dblwyo – thanks for the note… it would be hard to use this tiny space for a full explanation of the LoA. I think the reason it’s assumed everyone is familiar with it is because of the DVD The Secret, and the popularity of the Abraham-Hicks books these days. I think the origins are with Thomas Troward back in the late 1800’s… but some would say that it originated with Jesus. (“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”- Matthew) (Colin – feel free to correct me on that!) Either way – it’s not exactly new. But it has been re-awakened in the public eye in a big way. If anyone has any recommendations of where to start – maybe they could leave them here. I’d say for the very basics – borrow the DVD of the secret. Someone’s bound to have it!

    helen – we’re all anxiously awaiting Colin’s reappearance!

  • Helen

    Colin – isn’t positive shame called regret or simply honesty ? Seing that you have done something wrong, accepting it and moving on, trying to mend things ?

    I think it’s important as parents to fullfill our own life and not project our needs and desires onto our poor unsuspecting kids. I feel the more I allow myself to feel what I feel, and take action to turn my dreams into reality, the more I let my kids be who they are, rather than force them into a role. Ok, so my eldest is messing up her scolarity and I don’t seem to be able to convince her to work, so, I’ll just have to stop thinking she’s a future genious and let her face the consequences of her behaviour, while I concentrate on my own frustrations.

    I have mixed feelings about Law of Attraction in general because I know it works sometimes, but I’ve had the sky fall over my head too often to believe it’s all of my making. Because of this I also believe in “indigenous” theories concerning “spirits” ; sometimes you’re not meant to do something, and the “spirits” make sure you get the message.

  • dblwyo

    …hmmm for those of us not as well read in this particular area could you explain a bit about the LOA ?
    If I filter out the hidden assumptions that the reader is familiar this post and the comments make tremendous sense but I get hungup a little on the origins. Appreciate it.

    What I’m “hearing” is that one should be self-responsible w/o denying the bad, that often that realization leads to blame which turns into a fixation (hook ?) and stops development. Instead accept responsibility without blame and focus on the next steps. Close ?

  • Christine Kane

    Danny – Thanks for the thoughtful response there. And Colin – maybe some of what the issue here is semantics. You’re describing a shame accompanied by outward abuse. I experienced a laser like shame delivered with no fear at all – just a feeling of being completely bad and wrong and worthless. I’m sure there is fear in there somewhere – but i never experienced what you are describing. And I maintain that you can know and learn about mistakes or about missing the mark without shame.

    krista – i’ve thought those same things too. there are ALWAYS stories of those people who rise above, who continue to live and inspire and find gratitude no matter what the situation. and you have to remember them as well!

    thanks for your 2 cents olivier!

    mark – you might take issue with some of the next posts then! i think LoA is one of those things that you either have to believe or not believe. I do think there are other forces at work – in terms of our souls and our translation of what is good or what is bad. (I was in a horrible flood and almost lost my house – but I still don’t think “oh my god how did I attract that!!?” (even though my husband thinks i attracted it with my perpetual visualizations of rain) mostly because i didn’t see it as BAD. It was hard, yes. But I didn’t have the desire to label it.) But I don’t think that they necessarily negate LoA. There’s mystery involved in all of it. I think the reason why some teachers take it to the extreme is because it’s one of those non-half-way things. There’s a certain courage in taking it to the extreme. I understand the frustration with a statement like Joe Vitale’s — but I’m always quick to notice that if I’m the one getting triggered and all fired up – then I’m probably the one who needs to grow from the situation. Thanks for all of your thoughts. I think lots of people feel that same way!

    Thanks Deb – I’ll be eager to see what happens after you think about these comments.

  • Deb

    There is always a fine line, a shade of interpretation if you will, between discerning responsibility and assigning blame. It takes a long time to sort out and get grounded in that.

    I found reading this interesting today and will have to think about the comments for a while since they are all over the map. Regardless, I did work through the questions at the bottom of the post because they were addressing issues I needed a balanced way of evaluating.

  • Mark

    Christine – great post about something that’s been stuck in my craw for a while.

    Here’s my thoughts:

    I devour things like Byron Katie’s “Work”, Abraham’s Law of Attraction books, and movies like “The Secret”…..I admit, I inhale it all, apply it, feel excited by the message – AND the messenger – for a little while, and strive to apply it.

    But then something happens:

    The flaws in the message – (and messenger) emerge. These gurus spout this stuff with 100% conviction – they have found THE way. And vulnerable devotees searching for life’s answers are easily swayed and quick to blame themselves for “attracting” bad things.

    What nonsense. It makes me mad!

    Joe Vitale from “The Secret” recently posted a self-rightous blog article suggesting that the California fires did not affect his “Secret” co-starts. He certainly attracted a lot of angry comments, but refused to apologize.

    Bottom line – I do believe in the Law of Attraction – but only to a point. Stuff happens in life! For anyone to suggest that we “unconsciously” attract bad things strikes me as incredibly pompous – I think they’re trying to scare you into buying their “secret” knowledge.

    I still enjoy and recommend the works I mentioned above – some of it is life-changing. But I take what works for me and discard the rest.

  • Olivier

    Well, the way I see it, is that the LOA does not tell the whole story. There is the matter of karma also. And once you start to stop thinking negative thoughts and being grateful (and thus helping people) you start to realign with karma and good thing will happen.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Krista

    I have always asked “What about Hitler” too. The answer I have found is “What about Anne Frank, Victor Frankl, and Wladyslaw Szpilman?” While Anne Frank did not survive the concentration camps the latter two did. All three have left behind compelling testimony to the power of the human spirit. “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Frankl provides answers and inspiration.

  • Colin

    Danny, what I’m positing is that a healthy shame is beneficial AS OPPOSED TO fear.I have noticed that in almost every scenario, most people use shame and fear in the same sentence, as if they are mutually inclusive. What about all the times so many of us “oopsed”(a rather benign term considering the fear and emotional havoc many of us have wreaked upon our parents), and our parents quiet disappointment in us was worse than all the punishment (fear) they could mete out? This often made a bigger impression on us than spankings or being grounded or yelled at. That would have only made us angry at them and more defiant. But shame? Thats what we felt and thats what hurt us because that we hurt them. Always associating being ashamed of something we’ve done and beating ourselves up is often a projection, not an accurate assessment. It’s a little like the “what about Hitler” Chrisitne talks about; its designed to end the conversation lest we face those things for which we SHOULD perhaps be ashamed, so we can identify them and begin the healing process.

  • Danny

    I am emerging from the habit of shaming myself, and find that shame to be a limiting part of much of my past. As a parent, I consciously try to encourage my son and show him that it is OK, to make a mistake, without using fear or shame. I have caught him working to build others up and to encourage them by telling them that it is OK when they make mistakes.

    Imagine, a small child who spills his favorite drink (actually, a VERY rare thing to have a spill) and then say “That’s OK!” While he runs to get a towel. No shame, just responsibility for the problem at hand and a positive approach to resolving it.

    He’ll be 5 years old in a few weeks, and Daddy is PROUD. Now, to ensure that I stay on the path he is demonstrating for us. Now, I get to learn for myself from what I have taught him.

  • Christine Kane

    Hi Colin – I don’t think that shame, in any way, is healthy. I see what you’re saying here – but I know there’s a way to know that “oops, I went too far” without accompanying that thought with shame – which is an energy-suck. I observe parents who use shame and fear on their kids. And I observe parents who are able to get the same kind of results in their families without that added hell of shame – and it’s amazing to me to see how much more grounded the children are.

    I’m sure there are other readers who would have thoughts on this subject as well. I’d be curious to hear from the massage therapists and other energy healers (or just anyone, actually!) about shame and whether or not you can be self-governed without the added emotion of shame…

  • Colin

    Do you think there is such a thing as ‘healthy’shame? This is not a loaded question, just curious if you see any merit to the idea of a shame (re: ashamed) as an emotion that we need to label in ourselves occasionally that so many people say is negative, but might actually be a self-governing emotional tool; something that says “I’ve gone too far”.