TikTok has a remarkable way of recycling the exact same aesthetics and trends, haphazardly slapping a new name on it, and calling it something new. The latest manifestation dupe is Lucky Girl Syndrome, a TikTok trend in which users say the phrase, “I am so lucky; everything works out for me.” And, as the Lucky Girl Syndrome prophecy states, they will be so lucky, and everything will work out for them.
Some TikTok users are calling Lucky Girl Syndrome “delusional” and “smug.” It encourages people — particularly young women — to bring luck into their lives through positive thinking. One particularly weird aspect of the Lucky Girl Syndrome that sets it apart from other manifestation fads is how inherently vague it is. Every video you click under the #luckygirlsyndrome hashtag says some version of the exact same thing: “I am so lucky.”
The trend really took off after TikTok user @lauragalebe posted a video describing herself as “one of the luckiest people [she] knows.”
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“I just always expect great things to happen to me and so they do,” she says in the video(Opens in a new window). She adds that it wasn’t until she “genuinely believed” that these great things started happening to her. “And I wouldn’t even call it toxic positivity because I genuinely believe that like the best things just happen to me… Try being delusional for a month and tell me if your life doesn’t change.”
As @lauragalebe explains in her later videos on the topic(Opens in a new window), Lucky Girl Syndrome is essentially manifesting that is focused on luck. And, as we’ve learned from the past dozen manifestation trends, manifestation tends to work best on people who are already deeply privileged(Opens in a new window).
“Depending on who you ask, it’s either an empowering practice that can see you fulfill your dreams by repeating daily affirmations such as, ‘Everything works out well for me,’ or it’s a non-inclusive, toxic social media trend of rich, white girls not checking their own privilege,” executive career coach Lisa Quinn told Harper’s Bazaar of the(Opens in a new window) trend.
It’s simply a new version of the decade-old book, The Secret, which first touted the alleged life-changing magic of manifestation. Manifestation can involve a whole host of rules or it can involve practically none. For instance, one old TikTok taught us about scripting, in which people repeatedly write down a wish until it comes true; another trend told us to follow our “angel numbers,” something that sounds complicated but that I refuse to investigate.
There’s nothing wrong with positive thinking, of course. German academic and NYU psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen, who wrote Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation told Vox(Opens in a new window) that “the more positively people dream about the future, the better they feel at the moment. People relax and their blood pressure goes down. But you need the energy to implement your wishes, and over time, they actually get more depressed, partly because they’re putting in less effort and have less success.”
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the Lucky Girl Syndrome trend will go away any time soon. TikTok creates a new version of the manifestation trend every few months; we’ll see this again. Maybe the trend sticks around because the wealth gap is deepening(Opens in a new window), a recession is looming(Opens in a new window), we’re lonelier than ever(Opens in a new window), and everything feels completely out of our control. It’s only sensible that we’d look to something like manifestation — an answer from the universe — to heal our fears when nothing in our physical world seems to be contorting to our goals.
Until the world begins to calm, I’ll be spending my time anticipating what we’ll call the next version of the Lucky Girl Syndrome.