Most often associated with its spiritual use, "mantra" in Sanskrit literally translates to “instrument of thought.” They can indeed be powerful tools used for meditation, spiritual practices, and healing unhealthy patterns such as chronic distraction (aka - inability to focus). Like the popular “Om” chanted to open and/or close a yoga class, mantras bring our awareness into the present moment.
But did you know that a mantra can also be defined as “a statement or slogan repeated frequently”? Synonymous with the words like “motto, catchphrase, buzzword.”
This means that any phrase you repeat constantly is your personal mantra. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you’ve got plenty of your own homemade mantras you use everyday.
Think about it for a moment - what words, phrase, or motto are you playing on repeat in that purdy little head of yours?
If you’re like me, the first time you take note of the thoughts firing off up there, it’s not pretty. Critical, self-deprecating thoughts plague even the most confident and successful people. My most common mantras sounded something like this:
• “I can’t believe I did/said that! I’m such a fucking dumbass!”
• “Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!”
• “If I can’t do it perfectly, then I won’t do it at all.”
• “I can’t help being late all the time - I’m Brazilian!”
I’d be lying if I said I never have these thoughts anymore. The good news is, I can recognize them much quicker, and move to a newer mantra quickly. Nowadays, my mantras sound more like this:
• “Smart people do stupid things. I’m allowed to make mistakes, it’s ok.”
• “Even though I did/said ____, I completely love and accept myself.”
• “It’s ok. Just breathe”
• “Perfection lies in the imperfection” or “progress over perfection”
• “Punctuality is not my greatest strength, but I’m getting much better at it.”
As you continue to grow, your mantras will change. When I first began this journey of conscious growth and self-awareness, my main mantra was “I could dig it.” This was huge for me, because back then, I was pretty close minded. I was a smart ass know-it-all who was just starting to accept the idea that I could be... wrong. Being right was very important to me then.
When I came across something new, my first reaction was often, “I don’t like it.” New equaled weird, and I was not down with weird. Once I became aware of this pattern, I saw how it was limiting my experiences. It kept me in my know-it-all identity. “I could dig it” addressed my discomfort, by acknowledging that I didn’t necessarily like whatever new idea or concept I was being introduced to, but I could at least appreciate it as something others like, and maybe even like in the future. All of that in just those four little words, “I could dig it.”
Today I rarely use that mantra because I've grown out of it. My newest mantra came to me just yesterday during a massage. Even though I used it to release my client’s knot, this mantra can easily be applied to any condition that needs to be lovingly let go.
“With love, I release you.”
Because letting go is not the same as ignoring or denying the shitty parts of life. It’s about accepting them for what they are - opportunities for growth - and releasing them with love.
Whether it’s physical or emotional pain, it needs to be released. You can be aggressive and try to “beat up” the muscle, or “beat up” yourself, and while that approach may work, it’s a painful way to release pain. By releasing the pain with love, you acknowledge the deeper meaning, even if you don’t understand it just yet.
What about your homemade mantras? Got any nagging ones you’d like to replace with a more uplifting motto? Or any inspirational mantras you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments below, or send me a message.
May your weekend be filled with mantras that bring you more peace than pain.
More self-love than self-lecture.
Lots of love,