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“Lucky Girl Syndrome: This toxic TikTok trend doesn’t make you happy – does it?

New year, new TikTok trend. This one is about manifesting that you are suddenly pursued by happiness without doing anything about it. Find out why this can have the opposite effect here.

New year, new me, new resolutions and all that. This year we're really sticking to it, working hard and going to the gym. But what if you didn't have to work hard at all to be happy, but everything just fell into your lap? January is the perfect time to imagine the better person you would really like to be. Someone who can give up consuming animal products with ease (keyword: Veganuary) or someone who can definitely go out partying without alcohol (keyword: Dry January). But this January 2023, an even stronger trend has emerged on TikTok that almost borders on delusional. May we introduce: The Lucky Girl Syndrome. 

What is the "Lucky Girl Syndrome"? 

Are you still in your "digital detox" phase? If not, then you've probably heard of the "Lucky Girl Syndrome". In December, a video by TikTok influencer Laura Galebe went viral, showing her followers a manifestation of sorts in which she says to herself, "I am so lucky. I am one of the luckiest people I know. Everything turns out well for me in the end." She assumes that by telling herself this and actually believing it, her life will automatically get better. She also advises her followers: "Try being delusional for a month", which means: "Try being delusional", or more freely translated: "Believe in and live with this delusion. 

The hashtag #LuckyGirlSyndrome already has nearly 150 million views on TikTok, and it doesn't seem like the trend will just be about January. Every day, more videos of Influencer:ins (mostly women) appear explaining how the "Lucky Girl Syndrome" has worked for them, or simply showing their affirmations, like: "I always get what I want." If they then send these affirmations out into the universe (or just upload them to TikTok), it will come true. 

Is the "lucky girl syndrome" just manifestation? 

Manifestations have existed for many years and are also a psychologically recognised method of making you happier and supporting your self-worth. Manifestations are for example: "I am good", "I am beautiful", "I am enough". By reminding ourselves of these over and over again, good self-esteem builds. By writing down our manifestation and the thoughts around it (for example in a diary) we can process emotions better and generally handle stressful situations better. 

The big difference between Lucky Girl Syndrome and good old Manifestation is that Manifestation is inward looking and Lucky Girl Syndrome is outward looking. In manifestation, you invoke yourself, what you can do, what you are and what you want to be. Lucky Girl Syndrome, on the other hand, assumes that you can somehow influence the reality around you – the external factors rather than the internal ones – thereby abdicating responsibility to your life. After all, you don't have to improve yourself, you don't have to work hard and build up self-confidence, because if you're just lucky, everything falls into your lap. 

Can "Lucky Girl Syndrome" lead to Imposter Syndrome?

The worst thing about Lucky Girl Syndrome, however, is that even if you have achieved all that you set your mind to, it can't really feel like an achievement. That's because if you keep telling yourself that you've been so incredibly lucky – for example, if you've finally landed your dream job or improved your grades – it can lead to self-doubt. It will feel like you didn't deserve it, because you were just lucky and didn't really have to try hard. 

And this is exactly the feeling that is described as Imposter Syndrome. The feeling that you are an imposter because you have a success that you didn't really deserve. Getting out of this vicious circle of toxic thoughts is an incredibly difficult thing to do – especially if you have been living by the "Lucky Girl Syndrome" for a long time. 

How can "Lucky Girl Syndrome" help you?

Not everyone:r who shares their videos under the hashtag #LuckyGirlSyndrome is really that delusional. As Kaitlin Villatoro, for example, notes, "lucky girl syndrome" can also be a tool to first notice how often we actually tell ourselves the opposite. "No matter how hard I work, it's never going to work out anyway," is a thought that many of us may think subconsciously or perhaps quite consciously. This can of course have a huge impact on our self-esteem if we basically assume – even if we really want something – that it won't work out. 

Unconsciously, of course, this can influence decisions if we discourage ourselves before we have even started. Kaitlin explains that the "Lucky Girl Syndrome" is really just a mind game for our brain to see what happens when we want something and assume it will work out. Maybe it changes the outcome, but what is most important is how it changes us as a person and how it makes us feel – emotionally, mentally or physically. Positive thinking changes our attitude to life and therefore how we give ourselves in life and how we experience things. This in turn can have a positive effect on the job and life in general. 

Is the "Lucky Girl Syndrome" toxic or not? 

However, this less extreme side of "Lucky Girl Syndrome" is not found very often on TikTok. "Lucky Girl Syndrome" is the belief that everything will be fine if you just think positively enough – this is quite different from bringing about a change in thinking to overcome negative prejudices about yourself. With the former, you blame yourself when things don't go well (you just didn't think positively enough!). With the second, you accept that things can't always go well and still have a positive mindset. 

It is important to be able to deal with negative emotions and to learn that things can also not go well. Because if you use "Lucky Girl Syndrome" as a method to deal with bad thoughts, then you are lying to yourself. You become unreflective, expect things that can't happen, and lose yourself in a positive delusion – this is often called toxic positivity. 

Simply believing that everything comes to you and that you haven't really worked or don't have to work for anything can quickly lead to a toxic attitude. Because the reality is, unfortunately, that luck is not equally distributed in the universe – and that very often structural problems and racism, prejudices and obstacles do prevent you from fulfilling your dreams. If you scroll through the hashtag #LuckyGirlSyndrome on TikTok, you'll notice all the white, young, pretty (and presumably rich) girls who get millions of views. Somehow it's not surprising that this type of person finds things particularly easy. As with every trend, this one should be taken with a grain of salt – and above all with a good amount of common sense. 

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