The internet has become obsessed with the concept of ‘manifestation’ over the past few years. One of the oddest manifestation practices to arise online is subliminal videos on TikTok and Instagram. Subliminal videos contain inspiring affirmations played on a loop, with music added in so the listener can’t consciously hear the affirmation. The idea is that the affirmations are transmitted subconsciously. TikTok is full of subliminal videos promising that listening to this certain sound will lead to clear skin or a smaller waist. However, there is a shadier side to the world of subliminal messages on TikTok.
Over lockdown, self-improvement became a trend, with people striving to have a lockdown ‘glow-up’. One of the methods which gained popularity is manifestation. Manifestation is based on the idea that you can think your dreams into reality. It is based on the law of attraction, a belief that positive thoughts bring positive results into a person’s life. Essentially, what you think and believe will manifest into real experiences. There are many ways to practice manifestation, but one which is spread across TikTok is subliminal videos.
Supporters of Subliminals claim that watching them is a manifestation technique where you can manifest anything without doing anything. This is obviously a very attractive idea to people. As the affirmations are hidden within other sounds or music, the idea is that the subconscious mind can pick up on them. Once in the subconscious mind, supposedly this means you will deeply believe the affirmation and it will manifest into reality. This overcomes the issue of repeating affirmations but not truly believing in them, which means that manifestation will not take place.
However, Subliminals aren’t as magical as they sound
Unfortunately for anyone hoping that listening to Subliminals will mean they will achieve their dreams effortlessly; psychology experts are skeptical. Whilst using affirmations and mantras can boost positive thinking, anything that is not ‘visible’ to the conscious mind is unlikely to make a change. Since Subliminals are hidden messages, the conscious mind will not pick up on them. Additionally, just thinking about a goal will not make it happen. Changing the way you think will help you to change your behaviors, which helps you reach your goals. Other manifestation techniques, such as writing down your goals or repeating mantras every day, will work as they reinforce positive thinking. Subliminals don’t do this, so the benefits they promise are very unlikely to happen.
Subliminals feed off people’s insecurities
Furthermore, some people have criticized subliminal TikTok accounts for preying on peoples’ insecurities. Most subliminal videos focus on changing physical appearance, especially weight loss. People who feel insecure and pressured to change their bodies will come to these videos. When they don’t get promised results, this may worsen their body image issues. These videos reinforce that these supposed flaws need to be changed, rather than promoting self-acceptance.
Another criticism of the subliminal community on TikTok is that these videos are a way to get views and followers. If someone watches one subliminal video and sees no changes, they will keep returning in the hopes that it will work. That means these videos will gain more views and the account will get more followers. Whilst this grows their account, it leaves those who came wanting changes feeling hopeless.
Whether you believe in the idea of manifestation or not, Subliminals don’t have any proven benefits. There are better ways to change your thinking and achieve the things you want, such as using spoken mantras or therapy. Self-improvement is possible for everyone, but Subliminals aren’t the way forward.