The happy-go-lucky people in our lives are bubbly, cheerful—and can be painfully frustrating. You know them, they’re human embodiments of sunshine; blue skies are bluer when they’re around, strangers magnetically warm to them. Cars let them merge lanes with ease and opportunities seem to magically fall into their laps.
“You’re just so Lucky,” friends and onlookers sigh. “Everything always seems to go your way.”
Until now, we have assumed their charming dispositions and disarming grins have gotten them this far in life. But a TikTok-coined phrase Lucky Girl Syndrome has surfaced, unveiling the thought processes that are behind these favored folk (because for something to catch on in the TikTok world, everything must be legitimized as being an “era” or “core”, and now, a syndrome).
“Listen to what I’m about to say because this is going to change your fucking life. Ever since I started to do this, shit started flying in my face, I genuinely consider myself one of the luckiest people I know,” TikTok user Laura Galebe said in mid-December.
“I get the most opportunities thrown at me out of nowhere… it feels like the odds are completely in my favor,” she told 2.6 million viewers. Assuming and believing the best for herself has led Galebe to spot a chain of lucky streaks in her life. “Nothing ever doesn’t go my way. And if [something] doesn’t go the exact way that i wanted [it] to go, then something better comes up after it.”
TikTok users Sammy K shared her own experience with Lucky Girl Syndrome. She and her friend decided to run an informal social experiment in college to see if keeping an optimistic and lucky mindset would have real-world effects. Using the affirmation “everything works out for me,” they share that this positivity shift has seen things working in their favor, from getting their accommodation preferences to acing academic subjects.
Lucky Girl Syndrome is based on the law of assumption, which suggests that what we assume is true will become true. “It’s basically thinking and acting in a positive manner for things to come to you. What you put out there is what you get back. Allira PotterYorta Yorta person and spiritual coach, tells Refinery29,
Coined by author and mystic Neville Goddard, the law of assumption is rooted in the belief that our thoughts and imagination create our reality. “Change your conception of yourself and you will automatically change the world in which you live. Don’t try to change people; they are only messengers telling you who you are. Revalue yourself and they will confirm the change,” Goddard wrote in Your Faith Is Your Fortune,
For full transparency, this is a mentality I am on board with. I do believe that our self-perceptions, however limiting or bold, influence the way we move about life. But the airy fairy positivity that sometimes surrounds manifestation fails to take privilege into account.
It’s no surprise that the majority of people celebrating the power of being a Lucky Girl on TikTok are white, thin, and conventionally attractive. Luck is supposed to be defined by chance, rather than effort or ability. But chance doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it doesn’t operate solely on random possibility. Systemic biases—whether they work with or against you—hold great power here.
Did you get the job because you’re lucky, or because people with Anglo names have a drastically higher chance of scoring interviews, Did you score free drinks because you’re lucky, or because you have pretty privileged, Did you manage to rent in your dream suburb because you’re lucky, or because your whiteness affords you access to certain areas, Did you get a free business class upgrade because you’re lucky, or because you benefit from size privilege?
pretty privilege has been proven to influence perceptions, everywhere from in the home to the workplace. People who are attractive are unconsciously thought of as better employees, nicer people, and are given higher grades and have a better chance at romantic success.
Luck may have a part to play, but luck has its conspirators. Because of disability, race and socioeconomic background, some people can’t afford to count on luck to get by.
The law of assumption is powerful and so is Lucky Girl Syndrome. But ignoring societal hurdles and helpers (depending on who you are) is a disservice to everyone. Pretending that positive thoughts are the only reason that things go your way means you discount the very real factors that affect an individual’s quality of life.
“I absolutely agree that there is a form of privilege when it comes to expression, especially when it comes to white, conventionally attractive, cis, non-disabled humans,” Potter adds. “I can’t speak from [these creators’] experience but I do know being a queer POC, my manifestation practices haven’t come from a place of privilege but self-belief rooted in hard work.”
Potter emphasizes that the idea of work is often left out of manifestation conversations. “It’s not just belief, there’s a component of hard work and ‘reality’… It’s not something that happens overnight, you do have to take small steps and make changes in order for abundance or shifts to happen.”
The idea of willing things into existence is deeply attractive—and holding encouraging and life-affirming thoughts about ourselves is something that can benefit us all, even if things don’t fall perfectly into place because of it. Like Potter says, it requires work. TikToker Galebe poses a challenge to her viewers, asking them to “try being delusional for a month” which she vouches will change their lives.
Lucky Girl Syndrome has the ability to make dreams come true. But some people have to work harder for it.
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