This latest TikTok trend highlights the power of positive thinking in attaining success, but neglects to consider structural barriers and misses some of the core components necessary to reach our goals. Here’s how to go beyond catching Lucky Girl Syndrome.
#luckygirl TikTok’s latest trend, “Lucky Girl Syndrome,” asserts that by telling yourself you’re lucky (and truly believing it), you’ll draw in good fortune of all kinds. However, skeptics have pointed out that there’s far more to finding success than good vibes and affirmations in front of the mirror. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the psychology of Lucky Girl Syndrome, and what it takes to be successful to better understand this phenomenon.
The power of positive thinking has long been touted as an essential part of success. Believing in yourself, even when the odds seem to be against you, can strengthen your resolve and help you keep going. But does this positive thinking attract good luck? Can you manifest wealth and opportunities simply by convincing yourself that you’re, for example, a “ #lucky girl ”?
What is Lucky Girl Syndrome? Who Started It?
Made popular by TikTok content creators like Michelle Diaz and Laura Galebe in 2022, Lucky Girl Syndrome supposedly occurs when luck is manifested by the genuine belief that you are lucky. As Diaz explains in her TikTok video, “So the Lucky Girl Syndrome is where you just believe that you are the luckiest girl ever…And ever since I adopted this syndrome and I started being delusional, it started happening.” This way of thinking is rooted in several key psychological concepts which have been explored over the years as paths to better opportunities and greater success:
The advice to believe luck into existence doesn’t come out of nowhere. “Manifestation” has become a buzzword over the past few years, with over 36 billion related TikTok views about people’s supposed ability to regularly think about or believe in something until it suddenly occurs. The “Lucky Girl Syndrome” video is the newest incarnation of that concept, aimed towards women and quickly going viral with its confident assertion that adopting this practice will propel you towards greater success. “I just always expect great things to happen to me and so they do,” explains Galebe #Lucky Girl Syndrome pioneer in her TikTok video.
Other #luckygirl TikTok videos often contain repeated phrases like “Things are always working out for me, no matter how it looks at any point in time,” or a key Lucky Girl Syndrome mantra, “I am so lucky, everything works out for me.” These Lucky Girl Syndrome affirmations are examples of positive affirmations, or statements that can help boost self-esteem and improve overall mindset. Used regularly, positive affirmations may shift our inner voice to a less critical and more supportive tone which is important for better mental health.
Cultivating a pattern of positive thinking has long been recognised by mental health professionals as an effective way to lower stress, shifting focus away from the problem to the solution. Lucky girl syndrome TikTok users often voice their beliefs that even if things appear to be challenging, this is merely en route to something even better. This reframing of obstacles as opportunities for new growth or previously unimagined outcomes is also a part of the practice of positive thinking.
Benefits of Lucky Girl Syndrome
These three methods for improving positivity are what drive the much-touted benefits of Lucky Girl Syndrome. The positive impacts of Lucky Girl Syndrome include things like:
- Increased motivation – positive thinking and affirmations work to fortify our desire to keep going even when challenges arise
- Clear sense of goals – daily positive affirmations and manifestations can help reveal what we really want and point us in the direction of our interests and passions
- Improved self-esteem – positive affirmations, positive thinking and positive manifestations all sprout from a place of self-worth and confidence – that you deserve good things, and you have what it takes to achieve them. This self-esteem boost can benefit the pursuit of your goals, improve your relationships, and help brighten your overall outlook.
These impacts are part of what help to formulate the “luck” in Lucky Girl Syndrome, opening people’s minds to the idea that the potential for new, positive opportunities is everywhere, and that they are worth it.
What’s Lucky Girl Syndrome Missing?
While Lucky Girl Syndrome appears to contain some important psychological tools designed to help motivate and encourage, the trend is not without criticism. Because Lucky Girl Syndrome places so much emphasis on success stemming from fervent belief in one’s good fortune, the implication is that those who aren’t succeeding simply aren’t thinking positively enough. Some have pointed out that privilege plays a major role in what’s termed as “luck,” and that this and the proximity and access to resources for those claiming simply to be #luckygirls needs to be taken into consideration.
Lucky Girl Syndrome also neglects to talk about the need to take action towards achieving goals, focusing solely on mindset. This misses the necessity of setting small steps towards getting what you want, and the importance of strategizing with others on shared aspirations. Hard work is often necessary to make progress, and sometimes that work still doesn’t turn things in our favour. The potential for challenge, setbacks, and even failure, aren’t addressed at all with Lucky Girl Syndrome, which sets the stage for the development of toxic positivity.
What is Toxic Positivity?
Toxic positivity occurs when difficult but natural emotions like sadness or anger are dismissed and covered up by false displays of happiness. This can be imposed upon you, such as if you have just lost a loved one and someone says to you while you are upset, “It’ll be okay, everything happens for a reason.” Other times, we can cultivate toxic positivity ourselves by denying the emotions we deem “negative” and putting on an artificially cheerful face instead.
Validating and processing our negative emotions is an important part of personal growth and building self-understanding and resilience. Avoiding this stifles our own development, as well as our ability to empathise with others. Some signs of toxic positivity include:
- Feeling shame or failure around not always being happy or positive
- Making others feel that they are not doing enough or working hard enough
- Dismissing, minimising, or silencing your or others’ difficult emotions, like sadness or anger
- Using platitudes to respond to genuine need for support, understanding, or compassion
A far healthier alternative to toxic positivity is a balanced approach that creates space for positive thinking and self-talk while also building resilience and coping skills to manage hardship and disappointment. This also increases our capacity to be supportive of others who are facing obstacles, allowing space for improved, meaningful interpersonal connections. Therapy can be a useful tool in developing the ability to embrace the positive and face the negative with both energy and wisdom.
Negative Impacts of Lucky Girl Syndrome
The exclusion of the potential for failure or hardship, and the lack of recognition of privilege in the pursuit of success, underlie the negative impacts of Lucky Girl Syndrome. These can include:
- Development of toxic positivity – the intense focus on seeing and talking about only positive things denies people the opportunity to respond to situations genuinely and to learn and grow from challenges or mistakes
- Developing anxiety or depression – not following these affirmations with an action plan opens room for non-fulfillment of your goals which can lead to depression when faced with failure. Similarily, the inability of many people to fully believe in their positive statements can bring on excessive anxiety along the way.
- Not learning from mistakes – the power of positive thinking can trick you into believing that past lapses of judgment weren’t a big deal. This prevents you from learning from those errors, making you prone to repeating your mistakes.
- Disregarding warning signs – believing that “everything will turn out fine” can prevent you from noticing and acting on red flags until it’s too late.
- Lack of compassion for others – Lucky Girl Syndrome is highly individualistic and based on an idea that everyone has equal opportunity to be a lucky girl. This excludes structural injustices, and can foster blame or disdain for those who aren’t lucky as it implies that those who aren’t lucky simply aren’t trying hard enough
These negative impacts expose the lack of balanced thinking in Lucky Girl Syndrome. By trying to frame every experience positively, Lucky Girl Syndrome misses the chance for wisdom and perspective learned through seeing things from different angles and accepting the potential for hardship and failure.
How to Make Positive Affirmations Work
Positive manifestations, positive affirmations, and positive thinking all help to boost our motivations, hone our goals, and cultivate an open mindset, and are most effective when used together with a clear plan for action, and the resilience to see and manage challenges and hardships as they arise. Here are a few tips for making positive affirmations most productive:
- Create your affirmation based on where you are – you want to be more outgoing, but the reality is that you are shy and nervous about social situations. Instead of saying to yourself, “I’m the life of the party,” consider starting with, “I’m working on opening up in new situations.” Gauge what feels attainable and work your way up gradually.
- Prove it to yourself – write down why you think you’ll be able to achieve your affirmation. This can include the work you’re doing already, or other challenges you’ve overcome. Convincing yourself that you can do this is key to making a positive affirmation work for you.
- Bump yourself up as you grow towards your goal – effective positive affirmations aren’t static; they are step by step movements towards a shift in your patterns of thought and behaviour. As you feel more comfortable and secure with what you’re working towards, shift your affirmation towards the next level and watch yourself progress.
Those struggling with low self-esteem, depression or anxiety may find that they need more than the work they are already doing in their daily life to maintain a positive outlook. Mental health professionals use techniques like cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy to further support their patients in incorporating positive approaches while embracing a more balanced way of thinking.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy designed to help identify root causes of negative thinking or behaviour and analyze the impacts of problematic patterns on daily life. CBT helps to teach alternatives to these patterns, with the therapist working closely with the patient to learn and practice healthier coping skills and ways of approaching problems. These can include positive thinking and affirmations, as well as more constructive interpersonal communication techniques and healthy lifestyle changes.
Dialectical behavioural therapy
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a type of CBT used for patients who may have had challenges finding success with other treatments. DBT promotes a blend of acceptance of aspects of mental health issues as well as healthy changes in patterns of thought and behaviour. In particular, DBT focuses on teaching mindfulness, managing emotions, successfully navigating relationships, and tolerating stress.
Cultivating Positivity and Resilience at The Dawn Thailand
The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand offers individuals struggling with addiction and mental health conditions a way to maximise the positives in their life. We use a trauma-informed, person-centred approach to identify the root causes around where you feel stuck or troubled, and develop a broad palette of healthy coping mechanisms that will transform your life for the better. Internationally accredited by the American Accreditation Commission International (AACI), The Dawn offers highly personalised plans that cater to your individual needs using a holistic treatment method and modern techniques with proven results.
Mental Health Retreat in Thailand
Our centre is conveniently located just outside the beautiful city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, a one-hour flight from the country’s capital of Bangkok. At our tranquil riverfront property, you are completely removed from your triggers and immersed in a safe and soothing environment where you can focus solely on your personal journey.
Call us today for more information on how we can help you one maximise the potential in your life.