Why TikTok is urging you to ditch anything ‘low vibrational’
“Here are low vibrational things that I dropped to raise my vibration,” says social media influencer @sweatsandthecity(Opens in a new tab). She goes on to list personal habits like consuming an endless stream of news, saying yes to plans, not prioritising gratitude, and holding onto clutter. Each of these entities are deemed by the creator as having “low vibrations” and therefore, she’s cutting them out. And she’s not the only one.
TikTok is urging people to remove any such things from their lives — the long-standing addictions that don’t lead to any good, the relationships that have turned toxic, the items that occupy too much closet space.
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In the past few weeks, such posts have grown in number and popularity. Videos from influencers, many of whom create lifestyle content, are titled along the lines of “low vibrational things I’ve dropped” or “low vibrational things I’ve stopped doing to better my life”. Examples frequently provided include excessive consumption of alcohol, Instagram filters, eyelash extensions, coffee, and gossip. Other videos touch upon taking stock of how certain content impacts them. Some have labelled the current media cycle(Opens in a new tab) low vibrational, while others mention television shows and movies(Opens in a new tab) that they’re avoiding for violence or traumatic themes. In essence, each dropped thing is regarded as unworthy of the creator’s time, attention, and space.
Credit: Tiktok / @sweatsandthecity.
Low vibrational as a term isn’t new. It’s existed on TikTok(Opens in a new tab) and online for some time now, adopting various meanings. In October 2022, a video of wealth coach Stormy Wellington reprimanding life coach Tammy Price(Opens in a new tab) for her “low vibration” full plate of food went viral, generating memes(Opens in a new tab) and leading to discourse around nutrition, eating habits, and energy.
“I would never eat a plate that look like this. You could not pay me a million dollars to do that to myself,” Wellington tells Price in the video(Opens in a new tab). “I deserve better than that. That’s low vibration.”
Low vibrational as a term isn‘t new. It’s existed on TikTok and online for some time now, adopting various meanings.
In the wellness space, low vibrational is often discussed in the context of healing and elevating energy(Opens in a new tab). Creators who work around themes of manifestation or self-care(Opens in a new tab) have made content surrounding low vibrations(Opens in a new tab) in a broader energetic sense.
“We need to learn that low vibrational energy is just an emotion or a feeling,” says TikTok life coach Silva in a video from 2021(Opens in a new tab). “All our emotions or feelings — they are just indicators of what is out of alignment.”
This underlying conversation of spirituality is somewhat guiding the latest rush of low vibrational content making the rounds on TikTok. Many influencers are peppering their posts with mentions of confidence, growth, healing, and self-care. The message appears to be that of self-preservation and elevation, an extension of the ubiquitous New Year’s resolutions that emerge every January, or the spring cleaning intentions that crop up as warmer weather looms.
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The low vibrational trend is also aligned with the contentious de-influencing trend that continues to swell on TikTok. Here, influencers are — somewhat ironically — proposing less consumption, conveying ideas of minimalism and mindfulness when it comes to TikTok-inspired shopping.
Those taking to the low vibrational movement are also dabbling in discussions of overconsumption, declaring their intentions to declutter their homes or stop purchasing new things on a whim. Take fashion influencer Kate Bartlett(Opens in a new tab), who said she is making an effort to cut down on the “absolute excess of [skincare] products” she owns.
“There was truly no reason for me to own this much stuff,” she explains in a video(Opens in a new tab).
Credit: TikTok / @katebartlett.
Both these trends seem well-intentioned, particularly this influx of low vibrational content. Most of these videos are earnest and project self-awareness. But underscoring the movement is TikTok’s enduring insistence on self-care and personal advancement. The app hardly encourages people to just be. Trends like “Lucky Girl Syndrome” and “That Girl”, for example have perpetuated this; on TikTok, we must be regimented and well-rounded, aesthetic, and productive. This is a constantly aspirational space, which can be somewhat exhausting to bear witness to — and with a dangerous lack of nuance sitting at its foundation.
Low vibrational TikTok seems to offer a clear message, one that doesn’t need to become an exercise in wild self-improvement. In theory, trimming anything negative from our lives can hardly be a negative act in itself. And a good starting point is recognizing — and cutting out — the urgency and pressure TikTok places upon us itself.
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