I’ll admit, I occasionally watch YouTube videos pertaining to the law of attraction. Like “ASMR Collab — Vampire Spray Tan” and the surprising quantity of shark encounter videos I watch before falling asleep, I find law of attraction discourse relaxing. As with so many other YouTube subgenres, though, law of attraction vlogs can send you down a rabbit hole that gets dark, toxic and weird, fast. While I tend to stick to videos where the basic message pertains to how to stop worrying about stupid shit all the time, vlogs with titles like “Make A Person Stop Ignoring You: They Will Text You” and “How to MANIFEST A Text INSTANTLY From A SPECIFIC Person | Law of Attraction (Works Like MAGIC!)” seem to bank on our most obsessive, unhealthy desires. So, I decided to test their effectiveness for myself.
Though there are potentially hundreds of YouTube videos specifically centered around manifesting texts from someone, most follow a nearly identical protocol for cosmically convincing someone to reach out to you, without you having to physically contact them first. The first and most important step mentioned in these videos is that one must have complete faith that what they’re trying to manifest will happen and the full belief that manifestation works.
Next, you’re supposed to envision your cell phone in front of you, lighting up and beeping at the notification of a text. In some, you might meditate on this for several minutes, imagining as much detail as possible, while others call for more specific practices like writing their name with your thumb on your phone screen, imagining a glowing energy field and feeling the happiness and excitement you would feel had you already received that text. Like the first step, though, the last is always the same: Put your phone away and stop thinking about it.
I tried two of these videos, contemplating receiving a text from one of my close friends from home with whom I only speak sporadically. In my first attempt, I sat in my bedroom with the lights off and tried meditating for a few minutes to clear my mind. I lasted probably 30 seconds, and then began envisioning receiving a text. I imagined precisely how I’d feel — joyous, appreciated, loved, vaguely anxious because now responding to a text has been added to my list of things to do. Afterwards, I put my phone down for a bit to write this article. Just a moment ago, I gave it a second go, this time writing their name with my thumb on the screen, envisioning the radiating energy and even forcing my face into a likely Joker-esque smile. When I looked at my phone again, I’d received a text from a different friend entirely.
While these videos remind me of the anxious infatuations I had as a teen and the absolute misery I’d put myself through when I was inevitably ghosted and yearning for texts, the message of them isn’t ultimately all that harmful. In fact, the core suggestion to be calm and let it go actually seems somewhat healthy, even if it requires a few minutes of pretend energy work.
Precisely why these videos are in such abundance seems part mystery, part obvious indication of our current loneliness and desperation. Though the underlying themes in them and law of attraction videos more broadly are faith, confidence and surrender, the sheer number of videos attempting to teach you these themes vying for your attention seems in conflict with itself. I’ve yet to have these “manifest a text from a specific person” videos work, precisely, but there’s still time. If that text never comes, though, I’m sure I just didn’t strike the proper balance between wanting it enough and not wanting it at all.