The Empty Bag – Why You Can’t Manifest Dreams

By Andy Lax

December 23, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

I remember watching Judy Garland sing, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ in the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ at the impressionable age of 5. But even though I was so young and lacking in any sense of emotional maturity, I poignantly recall how the song affected me. Tears swelled up in my eyes, touched by the character’s wistful longing for her dreams to come true, and wondering why they can’t manifest. She almost seemed resigned to believe that it’s only in a fantasy world where ‘Dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.’

Later in the movie, a lump formed in my throat when Judy’s alter ego, Dorothy Gale, sadly declared, “I don’t think there’s anything in that black bag for me.” This sentiment struck a responsive chord within me because even at 5, I started to believe that the world was conspiring against me, and that any bag containing rewards, gifts, or pleasures would forever remain empty.

And so it goes, decades later, I’m still struggling with the concept of unfulfilled dreams, and the seeming impossibility to manifest my own ideal reality. I’m not alone. Millions of people share the same negativistic bent that they don’t or can’t get what they want.

So while I have an idea of why I continue to struggle shaping my version of the ‘Good life,’ I thought I would ask several manifestation experts the following question:

What are the primary reasons why most people are unable to manifest their dreams?

I thought it would be instructive to read different perspectives on this topic. Moreover, I intuitively knew that these responses would help me and probably serve as eye-opening insight for my ‘doom and gloom’ counterparts.

You’ll see several recurring themes which I’ll summarize later. Understanding why we see the glass half-empty and believe that we’re not able to even fill the glass represents half the battle to change our thinking and modus operandi:

Julie Holmes – Life Coach

The primary reason people are unable to manifest their dreams is because our conscious desires are not in alignment with our unconscious thoughts.

Our unconscious mind is our single biggest goal achieving mechanism, and we can never outperform our own level of self-esteem or self-worth. Our goals have to match the internal representation we have of ourselves. Unless we are able to shift that, we can only rise to a certain level of success. When we begin to change how we view ourselves and our self-worth, everything around us must change. It’s only then that we are able to manifest our dreams.

Therese Prentice – Manifestation Consultant | Soulful Living Curator

1. Lack Clarity of what they desire

2. Don’t believe they can have what they deeply desire

3. They are master manifestors because they bring exactly what they believe in their lives – More of what they don’t want (Lack of belief, Fear – which is what they focus on!)

Note: We always get what we focus on! Show me your life and I can tell you all about your thoughts!

Sharon Ballantine – Law of Attraction Life Coach

1. People often feel they don’t deserve to have what they’re asking for.

2. They may lack the clarity regarding the specifics of what they want.

3. They are focusing more on what they don’ want and also their fears regarding their dreams.

4. People’s thoughts aren’t in alignment with what they want. They think one thing and say another. They must match.

5. They aren’t taking action on the inspirations they’re receiving.

6. They often block their divine inspiration by spending time in negative emotion.

Coach Keya – Hypnosis | NLP | Reiki | Huna | EFT | Meditation | Emotional
Freedom Technique | Handwriting Analysis

Manifesting dreams is easy when you take actions aligned to your thoughts. Your actions must be charged with your emotions. [The inability to manifest is due to lack of purposeful, passionate action that resonates with our thoughts and beliefs.]

Andrew Michael – Student of Life and Spirit

Spiritual Manifesting Tips

Face it. Manifesting is a spiritual activity. Even so, many seek to manifest material things. Money, a new car, bigger house … Mr. Right or Ms. Awesome. All are perfectly fine, but these are not spiritual requests, with the possible exception of Mr./Ms. Right.

Unknown to them, most self-manifestors in some way petition God the Father–the heavens–to manifest a non spiritual, worldly thing. Alas, this is like using an iPhone to savor an ice cream sundae.

The #1 Spiritual Manifesting Tip? Use the proper tool for each job

Should one desire anything of this world (something that is manifested through other people), the plea or prayer must be addressed to your Mother, the Sacred Spirit, a.k.a. the Divine Feminine. In non spiritual terms: we request of the world to manifest something of the world.

It’s important not to badger your Mom. Ask once. Wait. Don’t force it. Gentle reminders are OK.

Manifesting Tip #2 is trust, or faith

Trusting our voice has been heard is the most important aspect of the manifesting process.

Be assured, Mother fulfills each child’s worldly request at the proper time. For example, what use is a fancy car to a twelve year old? Or a bag of money that will be instantly devoured by debt? To get out of debt for good, ask your Father.

To manifest spiritual gifts, such as help with a life problem (like debt), healing, wisdom, enlightenment, forgiveness and reconciliation, one appeals to the Divine Masculine aspect of God. Father never refuses a beloved son or daughter’s request for help and advice concerning heart, mind and soul.

The above wisdom works as written for Western belief systems. Some Eastern teachings reverse the mother/father creative Principals. Either way, the approach is the same.

Manifesting Guarantee/Warning

We always manifest what we ask for. Perfect Parents never let us kids down. Often, what we initially receive doesn’t seem like what we asked for. Instead, we manifest a lesson! It can be a very difficult lesson. The outcome is the following realization:

Manifesting Tip #3: What we think we want is not going to help us like we think it will

Manifesting is a lengthy process. It is neither Amazon nor the Home Shopping Network. If we reject the lesson we shall not receive its reward. Or worse, we will. When we embrace the wisdom and follow its advice, we are guaranteed to manifest something much better: complete fulfillment of all our needs.

Be advised, you might still be driving the same car.

Twenty centuries ago, Christ-Yeshua gave the best description of manifesting I’ve ever encountered:

“Let him who seeks not cease seeking until he finds; and when he finds he shall be troubled; and having been troubled he shall marvel, and he shall reign over the totality (creation) and find repose (peace, joy, harmony).”

Isn’t complete fulfillment what every manifestor seeks? Why ask for more toys? Go for the living gold.

Karl Gruber – Law of Attraction Life Coach

Understanding first that the Law of Attraction (“like attracts like” or “that which is like onto itself is drawn”) is considered the most powerful law in the Universe, and that everything is energy, is the key. I finally realized why I could get the Law of Attraction to work sometimes, but not consistently, and that was because the 3 Pillars of my very being – Mental, Physical, and Spiritual – were not rock solid. I finally came to understand that to create the life and the things I really want, my 3 Pillars must stand strong, and they cannot have any cracks in them. What is the purpose of a pillar? Its purpose is to keep your house, your entire being standing strong and upright for the ages, and if even one of your 3 Pillars has a crack in it, then your entire structure rests on shaky ground.

How exactly does this keep you from creating what you want in your life? One must remember that the Law of Attraction is completely objective, so if your thoughts and energy are coming from an un-solid, shaky place, and that is exactly what the Universe sends more of to you (remember, “like attracts like”). Now if you patch up your 3 Pillars, and make your entire “house” (your life) rock-solid, now you are resonating and in alignment with eternal Universal Laws of Love, Truth and Oneness. For if your 3 Pillars rest on the ever-shifting sands of inconsistency, and untruths, your life will never stand strong, and you have no foundation to consistently co-create with the Universe that which you truly desire.

Remember, you, only you, are the writer, producer, and director of your life – not your parents, not your teacher, not your employer, and not your friends – only you. So take time to strengthen and solidify your 3 Pillars – Mental, Physical, and Spiritual – and surely you will soon find yourself working seamlessly and consistently with the Law of Attraction to create that which you truly desire.

Mari Mitchell – Life Coach for Women

I believe the first reason people are unable to manifest their dreams is that they are not clear on what their dreams actually are. It’s important to be very clear what your dreams are and why they are so important to you. In other words, what will your life be like when your dreams come true? Receiving this clarity comes from tuning in deeply to your inner core.

The second reason is they are focused on not having their dreams instead of moving towards them. Once you determine what your dream is, it is critical to get clarity about what, if anything, you are inspired to do towards reaching that dream. This again comes from tuning into your inner core. And, maintaining your focus on what you want must be a practice you work on every day.

The third primary reason is that people give up too easily, sometimes just before their dreams manifest. It takes focus, practice, and consistency to bring your dreams to fruition. You will have bad days, good days and great days. Staying or coming back into alignment with your dreams is necessary to succeed in manifesting them.

Vanaja Ananda – Co-Creator of the Universe

Every person on this planet has incredible powers to manifest anything. In order to recognize and accept this fact, our subconscious and conscious must be in alignment. Our subconscious, or inner children, have embedded beliefs that are contrary to our conscious desires. These negative thoughts sabotage any yearnings. In other words, fears, worries, greed or other negative feelings buried in the subconscious will immediately come to the forefront to block any wishes. Since the subconscious is so much stronger than the conscious, it almost always wins. Therefore, the subconscious needs to be reprogrammed.

The quickest way to reprogram our inner children is through love. Our inner children remember all of our traumas and tragedies that began in our early childhood years and set the pattern throughout our entire lifetime. Our inner children create reminders about the negative mental patterns that need to be changed. That is why unfavorable situations continuously occur in our lives. As a result, our inner children feel defeated, alone and betrayed.

These inner children came to our planet pure and full of love. Societal conditioning established a judgment of doubt, mistrust and unworthiness within our subconscious. Once we free our inner children by giving them the love they crave and still remember, we will manifest our dreams. The mantra “I love myself unconditionally and I forgive myself completely” repeated internally will help us reprogram our inner children and demonstrate to them they are loved, safe and protected. Please give your children this gift that is their innate right. Begin to manifest your biggest dreams and then create some more!

Dolores Ninerell – Spiritual Path Walker

The idea of making your dreams come true sounds like the ultimate dream – what every person aspires to do. The question is what are your “dreams” and where are they really coming from? Are your dreams your own or are they what you think they should be? A true dream comes from your inner self. It is something that drives you to do what you do. It is your passion. Once we follow that passion everything else falls into place – wealth, happiness and true fulfillment.

Most of us are not in tuned with our true heart’s desire because it has been buried a long, long, time ago or perhaps we have never uncovered it. As Wayne Dyer says in his book, Inspiration – Following your True Heart’s Desire:

“The quality that stands out among those who feel inspired is one of an intense, burning desire – it goes beyond talent and ability as a measure of success. We need to ask this highest part of ourselves to align with Source, and for the intensity of our desire to be so great that our love for who we are and what we do precludes the possibility of any boredom, tedium, or weariness. In this manner, our inspired vision will be forthcoming.”

Once you find your true heart’s desire and begin to follow the path that you are meant to follow, life becomes easier and your path becomes clearer. In order to get to this place of following your heart’s desire you have to let go of what you think you should be or should do. You have to be okay with just being and honoring who you are, with being true to yourself. Know that this is exactly what you are called to do. To get more insight on your true calling simply ask and allow the answers to come. To feel inspiration you must be open, have confidence that it is coming, and let go of the worry that it won’t so that your mind is clear and ready for the messages it will receive.

Learn from your encounters and your past hardships. In order to do this you must have faith in the flow of life and watch removed like an outsider. Look at your life’s ups and downs with observation and with the intention to learn from them. Where is your life taking you? What has been your main struggle?

Do you continue to see the same conflicts over and over or are you learning what you need to from these struggles and moving on to new and different obstacles? Hardships help us learn and grow and do not mean we are not realizing our dreams only that we still have more to discover and possibly stumble upon to lead us to something new or even better. Stay open to the possibilities and work to remove fear from your life that may be keeping you from doing what you need to be doing or seeing what you need to be seeing.

There are several recurring ‘Manifestation impossible’ themes, touched by these experts.

When positive self-esteem or self-regard are not present, it’s difficult to create a reality that honors the sense of self. It’s simple cause and effect: The belief that ‘I’m not good enough’ ensures an outcome that is ‘not good enough.’

Feeling underserved and tarnished, we often lack confidence in going for what we truly want. And even if our action is purposeful, we’re sabotaging ourselves, feeling that the outcome will not go in our favor. We’re not singularly focused on the process; we’re just consumed with the outcome, although we’re almost certain of the outcome — one that we create.

Instead of envisioning success, we’re consumed with thoughts of failure, wrapped up in fear, guilt, and yes, self-pity. We’ve become conditioned and accustomed to emitting this negative energy, which hampers clarity of thought and focus. Good luck trying to attain dreams when your brain is besieged by thousands of counterproductive thoughts on a daily basis.

And of interest, even when the pendulum swings in our favor, we may not even notice it. Our analytical prism is so skewed that true vision is impaired.

Case in point: Over 90% of the experts I contacted did not respond which really disappointed me. But a friend reminded me that I should rejoice because 9 experts did respond! Everything, as they say, is perception.

Furthermore, as some of the experts point out, we often don’t even know what we want. We hear others’ voices and we’re frequently inclined to follow their directives. What we want is not crystalline or so broad in scope as to be meaningless. As such, we’re not able to pinpoint definitive steps to take to attain these ambiguous, amorphous goals.

So we continue to remain immobilized or take sporadic action, submarining our efforts as we simply don’t feel entitled to receive the glory. Change is also difficult and threatening. Perhaps it’s easier to lie in the muck than see the universe’s glowing light on the other side. Would we even feel congruent with or recognize that optimistic person who believes in limitless possibilities? It just may be more comfortable to keep the status quo – however miserable.

Finally, many of us can’t manifest dreams because we don’t feel connected to others. We may view the world as scary, threatening, unpredictable, and unsafe, preferring to go into alone and keeping our social circle as limited as possible. But achievement, in many cases, may depend on others whether it’s getting promoted by your boss, establishing a loyal customer base, etc. Goals may be thwarted in the absence of support.

In summary, the responsibility in not manifesting your dreams is yours. The responsibility for not manifesting my dreams is mine. We must realize that we’re the ones who are moving our own chess pieces (or not moving them), and getting ourselves checkmated.

Now that we’re aware of some of the manifestation minefields, it’s time to begin a new life, cultivating a healthier self-concept and world view. Think about what you really want and the steps necessary to achieve it, embracing positive expectation.

Manifesting dreams begins with a shift of perspective. So if there is nothing in that black bag for you, perhaps you’ll find it in the red one.

Andy Lax

Andy Lax is a blogger and freelance writer, and one of the primary authors of Please visit to contact any of the life coaches.

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