Like many people of color, I was brought up with my fair share of disadvantages as a Mexican-American woman. I'm the daughter of immigrants. Growing up, we lived in a low-income neighborhood, and despite both my parents working really hard at physically demanding jobs, we lived paycheck to paycheck. Family vacations and eating out at restaurants were never part of our reality. There was even a year that we bounced around staying with different family members because we didn't have our own place to live. The trauma from that experience triggered major anxiety and panic attacks that 20 years later, I still struggle with.
In my early twenties, things started to radically shift for me, and I largely credit that to reading the wildly popular book The Secret, which teaches people how to manifest their desires through their thoughts. Before you roll your eyes, let me first say that it is not my favorite book on spiritual principles. The book missed the mark on many things (like the fact that you also have to take action to bring your goals to reality, visualization alone won't get you there), but it was nonetheless my gateway into spiritual wellness and manifestation.
Implementing all the spiritual principles I learned revolutionized every area of my life, including my self-worth, career, relationships, and finances. Most importantly, though, it made me realize, for the first time in my life, that I had a choice. All the adversities I faced and overcame growing up didn't dictate my future—I did. I could change and transform not just myself but my entire reality and how I experienced life. It was paradigm-shifting and incredibly empowering.
New age spirituality and manifestation have become more and more mainstream over the past few years. As a spiritual life coach who has experienced the power of it firsthand, I'm thrilled that spiritual wellness is getting the attention it deserves. Wellness, after all, encompasses all areas of wellbeing, not just physical and mental.
But like with many things that suddenly become trends, spiritual concepts and principles are often misconstrued, overly simplified, and the language and messages can sometimes be downright problematic. Case in point? Toxic positivity and spiritual bypassing, which are both ways to avoid confronting unresolved issues and don't help facilitate true healing.
Furthermore, there's one very important thing that is often not acknowledged in the spiritual industry: privilege. We are not all born on an equal playing field. While we all have the power to change our lives, it's not equally as easy for everyone to do so. Mainstream manifestation rhetoric doesn't consider generational trauma, inherited narratives, and the specific challenges that affect people of color. We can't just positive mindset our way out of systemic oppression.
Popular manifestation techniques such as affirmations, positive thinking, visualization, and asking the universe for what you want are believed to be the secret sauce to bringing all the things you want to fruition. Although these techniques are helpful, for people of color, manifesting goals goes much, much deeper than that. We must look at the stories, beliefs, and narratives we inherited from our parents and previous generations and do the work to unpack them, consciously shift them, and choose to believe something different to heal them. This is not easy work to do by any means, but I promise you, it's worth it.
Over the last decade of doing this spiritual wellness work, I've healed so many of my own generational narratives that weren't serving me, including the belief that you have to work super hard to make money and the habit of living in scarcity and survival. This has led me to achieve things that I never thought were possible for me.
I was the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college (at the top of my class, thank you very much). With zero know-how, I started my first business as a freelance writer right out of college, and it's now been more than eight years of doing the entrepreneur thing successfully. I got comfortable asking for my worth unapologetically after years of underearning.
I've also shifted many personal limiting beliefs that were holding me back. The one I'm most proud of is shattering the identity of being a "shy" person and allowing myself to be fully seen by stepping into the role of being a spiritual teacher and paid speaker. All in all, I created a life that's chill, fulfilling, abundant, and perfectly tailored to me despite not having anyone in my life model to me that that was even possible for someone like me.
So, while yes, manifesting goals may be easier for some than others depending on their advantages and disadvantages, here's what I hope you take away: manifestation and spiritual wellness works regardless of your background, past, or where you come from.
And the purpose of doing this inner work is not just about achieving all the big fancy goals, although they are nice. It's about the person you become in the healing process—a you that's self-empowered and doesn't allow where you came from to hold you back but instead uses it as fuel to propel you toward the vision for the future you wish to create.
Does this mean that manifesting and creating your dream life will be easy? Absolutely not. Spirituality doesn't erase disadvantages or life challenges, but it does put us in the driver's seat of our lives. It reminds us that we are powerful beyond measure and anchors the belief that we can dream big and achieve big, creating a ripple effect for future generations. Now, that's spiritual wellness.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.