In my late 20’s, I moved across the world in an effort to get over a long-term toxic relationship. While there, I found myself wanting to get my first tattoo and intuitively knowing I wanted the tattoo to stand for a daily reminder of something meaningful. I didn’t realize then but my tattoos were personal mantras that I wanted to be reminded of every day.
I decided to get two tattoos for my first tattoo experience – both small and meaningful. One was of the heart chakra, to remind myself of the importance of self-love, and the other was a quote, “I carry the fire,” to remind myself that I’m in charge of lighting and guiding my own path in life.
After getting these tattoos, anytime I would start to date someone new, I would be reminded daily of the importance of self-love and self-worth when I looked at my tattoos. If someone wasn’t giving me honesty, love, kindness or respect, I would love myself enough to walk away.
This new outlook and symbolism did a lot for me within the first two years of getting them. I was able to return home, not get back with my ex, begin a new job at a start-up company that allowed me to travel to various cities in North America, and meet all sorts of great people. My life was thriving with self-love and personal development.
Then, years went by and I continued to feel good until I started a new relationship with someone. This relationship was far more stressful and unhealthy than any I had in the past. It started with so much passion and excitement that I didn’t really pay attention to the red flags. It then flipped so quickly into toxicity and dangerous territory that by the time it actually ended, I barely felt anything except numbness, emptiness, confusion, and little motivation to pull me out of this depressive state.
I remember barely being able to function and then scoffing at my tattoos thinking “you were a real help,” while looking down at my heart chakra. However, that realization was what I needed to motivate me to get back to the basics of loving myself. That’s when I decided to create my own daily mantras to help me get back on track in life. I put my mantras on bright colored sticky notes all over my bedroom door.
Here were some of my bedroom door mantras:
– Keep going.
– Drink a glass of water at the start of every morning.
– Make time for sleep and rest.
– Fall down seven times, stand up eight.
– Be grateful.
– Progress, not perfection.
– Trust your instincts.
– Remember your goals and why you started.
– You are worthy of love.
– Eat healthy and treat your body right.
– You’re beautiful inside and out.
– Don’t deprive yourself of the joy you deserve.
All these daily reminders helped push me into doing something healthy amidst my dark times. Seeing the power of mantras in dark times led me to see how they’d be beneficial during good times. Once I healed myself, I carried on writing mantras and applied them to different areas of my life, from morning routines to coping with anxiety.
For my mornings, my mantras include:
- This is a new day, full of many opportunities to learn and be grateful.
- Remember to smile, it’s contagious and can brighten another person’s day which in turn, can brighten yours.
- Always find the silver lining of anything unexpected.
- Stay positive. Very little comes from negativity.
For night, I’m all about trying to get in a relaxed, anxiety-free mindset as I’m a bit of an over-thinker, so my mantras are:
- I welcome sleep with every breath I take, I become calmer and at peace.
- My bed is comfortable; I am warm and content. I am grateful for this.
- A good night’s rest gives you a clear head tomorrow to solve any worries.
For anxiety, especially amidst a pandemic, my mantras are:
- My thoughts do not control me; I control my thoughts.
- You can only control yourself and what you choose to let impact your thoughts.
- My body is my temple and I choose to keep it calm, still and at peace.
- Everything that happens is helping me grow and evolve.
One of the daily mantras that I repeat and remind myself of often is a variation of a Mark Twain quote which is “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes.” What this means for me, in a non-literal sense, is feelings and emotions often change and to be mindful of this when we’re feeling hopeless or upset. Whether they are positive or negative, feelings can pass or evolve often within 10 minutes or so, and sometimes just being aware of this can help calm us. If I’m feeling bad, I think of it just like when it’s raining, it’s not permanent and the sun will show again.
I encourage anyone who hasn’t taken the time to come up with their own mantras to set aside some time to do so. Start simple and small, then build on it. Start with a daily mantra to say to yourself for a week, see how it impacts your thoughts and motivation, and then slowly expand and build upon it.