Who do you spend the most time with? Your spouse or best friend? Your children or your co-workers? No, to all of the above. You spend the most time with yourself, which is why the tone and content of your internal dialogue is incredibly important to how you feel about yourself.
For instance, if you do poorly on an exam or a performance review, there are different ways you can talk to yourself about the situation. One reaction would be to say to yourself, “I am such an idiot. I am not smart enough to succeed.” Another way to respond is to say to yourself, “I am smart. I will figure out how to overcome this setback and do better next time.”
The first is an example of negative self-talk, which has been proven to negatively impact the ultimate outcome. Conversely, the person in the second example is more likely to do better next time, because they didn’t let it define them as a person. They were able to separate the obstacle from their own self-worth.
Another time this is prevalent is after a break-up or falling out with a friend. After being rejected by a loved one, it can be all too easy to forget that just because one person doesn’t feel you are a match for them, it doesn’t lessen your self-worth. In both of these instances, self-loving mantras can be used to replace negative self-talk and rebuild your self-confidence.
What is a mantra?
Mantras are a part of the Hindu and Buddhism religions. According to Merriam-Webster, a mantra is “a word or phrase that is repeated often or that expresses someone’s basic beliefs.” It is often associated with praying or meditating. My colleague, David, goes more in-depth into the fundamentals of mantras.
I first discovered the power of mantras when running my first half-marathon. During my six months of training, I never used a mantra and didn’t plan on running the big race with a mantra, but it happened naturally. Somewhere around mile three, my inner voice started saying, “You are doing this. You are really going to do this!” This positive, self-loving mantra carried me over every hill and straightaway, and ultimately through the finish line. The technique was so powerful that I have used it for every race since and even incorporated it into my daily life. It is incredibly powerful to choose the words that guide your day.
Mantras and meditation
When meditating, a mantra is a great tool to deter one’s minds natural tendency to wander off. Mantras are also useful when practicing yoga. Picking a mantra at the beginning of class can help you keep your focus on your set intention for that particular class.
If you are new to meditating, you should find the type of meditation that is best for you, as there are all sorts of meditations based on your own likes and dislikes. For instance, many people don’t realize that there is a type of meditation called movement meditation, which is good for beginners who struggle to sit still.
We all have a friend or family member that lets the negative self-talk overpower their positive, self-loving thoughts. It is so painful to watch them beat themselves up, but we all do it from time to time. If ever you feel yourself being anything less than kind to yourself, try one of these self-loving mantras to regain confidence and move forward in a positive way. You can focus on the first phrase, memorize the entire thought, or modify one of the below to your specific needs.
10 Powerful Self-Loving Mantras:
- I love myself. I am a beautiful, unique spirit. There is no one else quite like me.
- I am worthy of love. As a creature on this earth, I am worthy of being loved and cherished by others. My worth is untarnished by my imperfections or the way others see me.
- I am worthy of good things. It is ok to want the best for myself and to pursue the things that bring me joy and happiness.
- I can choose positive thoughts. I understand the power of my self-talk and choose to select thoughts that are uplifting and positive.
- I let my happiness be visible to others. My happiness overflows from me. I can use my happiness to bring joy to others.
- I am strong. I have many strengths that I use to navigate the ups and downs of my life. I am tougher and braver than I look.
- I am becoming. I am becoming the person I want to be. Each day, I work to make myself more the person I want to be.
- My life is moving forward perfectly. Each bump in the road is there for a reason. Everything is happening according to a greater plan.
- I am confident in my decisions. I am the creator of my own destiny. I stand behind the things I do and say.
- I surround myself with loving people. I can choose the people I allow into my life. I choose to surround myself with people who love and adore me.
For the next few weeks, pick one self-loving mantra and try to incorporate it into your internal dialogue - one at a time for a full week. Of course, if you don’t feel like that one is providing you any benefits, feel free to switch it up. You will find that some mantras are more fitting to your needs and personality, as your internal dialogue is unique to you. If you find something that works for you, it should only be a matter of days before you start feeling more confident and loved.
Finding Your Perfect Self-Loving Mantras
A mantra can go beyond a phrase to keep you focused on the positive and spiritual strong; a mantra has the power to can affect your actions. For instance, when Mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the word,” he didn’t just say it, he lived it. What is the mantra you want to live? Is it a positive, self-loving mantra?
One easy way to get started is by incorporating some Loving Kindness Meditation into your daily routine with this mantra meditation video, which takes you step by step through the process of adding a mantra into your meditation. All you need is 20 minutes to get started.
Self-loving mantras can come from all sorts of unpredictable places. One of my favorite mantras, that I use whenever I’m not feeling grounded, comes from the Dr. Seuss book I received upon graduating from high school, which reads, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” During times of uncertainty, I let these clever childhood sayings take over my internal dialogue.
This is all to say that your perfect mantras can come from anywhere. Perhaps for you it will be something a loved one once told you or a poignant song lyric. You just have to be on the look-out for a word or phrase that makes you feel whole and loved, that brings you joy and encouragement.