The Making of a Mantra
Written by Karen Kondor
You may have heard this before: the voice you hear most often is the voice inside your own head; choose your words wisely.
Or: if the words you speak to yourself were projected over a loudspeaker, would you be proud to hear what they say?
We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to the things we say to ourselves. The words in our heads can certainly leave us feeling sad, angry, frustrated, despondent, unworthy, hopeless… And, you can imagine how well that supports us in reaching our goals and dreams.
But, what if we create for ourselves a set of words, or a saying that will leave us feeling joyful, at peace, determined, worthy, supported, encouraged… a mantra, of sorts. How could that set of words help us reach our goals and dreams?
(Geez, imagine what our world would be like if we all managed to feel like this on a regular basis?!)
First, what is a mantra? Deepak Chopra, an Indian-American author, physician, and alternative medicine advocate, defines a mantra as “an instrument of the mind…[that] helps you cultivate a more present, peaceful, and balanced lifestyle, which ripples out into every other aspect of your life.”
So, what kind of phrase can you use to reframe the internal language you use with yourself? Put another way: make sure you speak to yourself in the same manner that you would speak to others in your life.
A personal story for you:
The other day, I specifically went upstairs to get something, got distracted by something else, and came back downstairs without the thing I originally went upstairs for. I found myself saying in my head, “You went upstairs to get that thing, and you didn’t get it…” I literally had to stop myself from ending that sentence with, …”you dummy!”
Because, really and truly, am I dumb for not getting that thing I originally set out to get?! Nope. I simply made a mistake. And, I wouldn’t say that to my kids or my friends or ANYONE ELSE, so why would I say that to myself?
Pretty sure that you recognize that this example is not the worst of what most of us say to ourselves in our heads. I’m too fat, I don’t have enough muscle, I have too many squishy parts, my wrinkles and stretch marks are so ugly, I’m so bad at..., I’m not rich enough, my house/car isn’t nice enough, I’ll never be able to… The list goes on, right?!
Switching the script on our self-talk is a work in progress, for sure, but makes such a big difference in our belief that we can encounter obstacles and get past them. And, it helps prevent us from nose-diving into a major spiral, or at least minimizes the impact of that spiral, when we are presented with one of life’s inevitable challenges.
Some sample mantras to get your creative juices flowing:
- This, too, shall pass
- You can do anything you set your mind to
- You will be okay
- Better than yesterday
- Always learning; learning all ways
- Be the best version of yourself today
- Kind heart, fierce mind, brave spirit
And, my favorite: No shitty self talk allowed.
When creating your own mantra, it might help to first sit down and make a list of all of the awful things you say to yourself in your own head. Do you see any commonalities among the things you say to yourself? Any common themes? From there, ask yourself how you can flip the switch, creating more positive language in those phrases.
Once you create your mantra, consider printing it, framing it, and hanging it somewhere that you’ll see it regularly. Make it a piece of artwork that will inspire others as they move through your space, too!
Happy mantra making!
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