5 Self-Love Mantras To Uplift Your Day
Some time ago, I read a more modern translation of the Dao De Jing. The translator was rather liberal with his interpretations of the text, but they all fit in quite nicely with the Way. In chapter 23, he adds to Lou Tzu’s words, saying that “one’s self-image becomes one’s destiny.” You are that which you practice, you are that which you set aside, you can speak and project certain aspects of yourself into being, into existence. These are our 5 self-love mantras to uplift your day!
Mantras are only one aspect of meditation or meditative practices. It is a kind of focused attention meditation, where the idea is to let the sounds, the words, and the vibrations carry you away yet keep you irrevocably rooted in the earth. Mantras can be empowering, enlightening, and transcendental, which is why they are such a popular meditative practice in the secular and religious worlds alike.
What Does Mantra Mean?
Mantra literally means “sacred message or text” in the original Sanskrit. Nowadays, it has crossed over to the mainstream and can be defined as an idea, a slogan, a phrase, or statement which has a powerful and (usually) positive impact on the individual. It can be ancient or modern, of physical or metaphysical nature, religious or secular, but the unifying aspect is that it is often spoken out loud and repeated.
In Hinduism and Buddhism particularly, a mantra is a sound or word or phrase which is repeated in an attempt to help one concentrate on meditation. Some have a literal meaning, some are only musically and spiritually meaningful. The idea of having focused attention means you are fixating on an object or a noise or a visual, and are consciously striving to stay in the “zone”, and block out -- so to speak -- outside influences and distractions.
In other words, a mantra can be a highly effective way to get you to bend your mind and turn your will towards a specific manifestation. When you’ve practiced it long enough, a mantra can be useful in giving you some perspective, soothing your anxiety or stress, helping your negative emotions subside, and increasing your positive emotions. With less outside forces governing your actions and thoughts, you are freer than ever to become your own destiny and live it out as you want to.
This is, in part, what the Dao De Jing was saying. Raise your self-image, project a better you, and you will raise your self-worth. The key is doing it properly, and backing it up with action and hands-on involvement. You can think or speak things into existence, providing you also put in the work. Otherwise, it may not have the desired effect.
How To Create Daily Mantras For A Better You
A mantra for a better you ought to be predicated on your experiences. You yourself know -- probably better than anyone -- your strengths and weaknesses. Let me rephrase that: you know your perceived strengths and weaknesses. You could also be wrong.
Many times, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for our positive actions and achievements. We remember insults we received -- sometimes for years -- but can quickly forget the compliments. We may make an attempt to fix someone else’s problems, but neglect to do so for ourselves.
To create a daily personal mantra, you must first learn to be honest with yourself. This means mapping things out, or writing them down, or saying them out loud to yourself or to a close friend or intimate partner (or a therapist, for that matter). Make a conscious attempt to bring the good things to the surface, so you know what it is you are dealing with. These will form the basis for your daily mantras, your positive affirmations.
The more you get to know yourself, the more applicable a mantra may become. The mantras you choose don’t have to be a whole sentence or phrase. It can be a word, or a sound, or a musical note. It can be a small thing that holds a world entire: a single utterance that has a unique and special meaning for you.
Think of a few good things or difficult things you’ve accomplished or overcome in your life so far. Things that have made you better, stronger, and more confident. Come up with a word or phrase which you associate with those instances, and make it your personal mantra. These mantras can be used in any number of ways, depending on your situation.
5 Daily Self-Love Mantras To Try Today
There are many tried and true mantras. Personal ones which you conjure up are great, but why not take a page from someone else’s book? Self-love is something which we may find difficult to practice because we often short-change ourselves in that department. Using someone else’s words may be easier, certainly in the beginning.
As a first step towards self-love, begin to consider yourself as if you are someone who is worthy of love and affection. Imagine yourself as a person who you should be taking better care of, despite your self-loathing, failures, and weaknesses. We are only human, so the best thing we can do is look after ourselves and each other. Below are 5 daily self-love mantras to try today:
1. Confidence Mantra
Confidence is a feeling brought on primarily by experience. As astronaut Chris Hadfield said: “I guarantee you, if you walk through 100 spiderwebs you will have changed your fundamental human behavior.” He said this while talking about building confidence and staving off fear. Many times building confidence starts with your mind before anything physical actually takes place.
One useful confidence mantra is:
My life is mine to live; no one else can live it for me.
This is a reminder that we possess a great measure of control over our destiny. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can fine-tune the way in which we react to what is happening. Our actions and reactions will determine the outcome of any particular set of circumstances. We have the power.
It is an empowering mantra because it puts the focus on the individual and a person’s ability to live for themselves. And this is not meant in a selfish way but in a life-affirming way. Don’t let other people run your life if you can help it. Accept its duties and responsibilities, and you will be able to reap the rewards.
2. Mantra For Anxiety
Anxiety. We all have this to one degree or another. Anxiety is defined by Oxford as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”.
The five main kinds of anxiety, as categorized by the DSM, are general anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety. It is one of the most common mental issues we face today, and while not everyone who has anxiety is mentally ill or unbalanced, it can be a difficult thing to contend with and overcome.
One mantra for anxiety which may be of use is:
Don’t go in your mind where your body is not.
I have no idea who said or wrote it first, but I want to shake their hand profusely. Many times, we allow ourselves to be carried away by our imagination and fear. We foresee doom and destruction and pain and suffering when none of it has come to pass. Now, there is definitely some utility to the foresight and planning ahead with the worst-case-scenario in mind -- but not at the expense of your mental health and wellbeing.
Don’t let your imagination hijack your psyche like some runaway train. Discipline your mind by reminding yourself to be here now. Confront the situation honestly, and don’t make it bigger than it actually is. Fear and anxiety shut us down, and they may cause us to want to curl up into a ball and disappear. But it is often the case that when you approach the situation with clarity, you find it is not as bad as you thought.
3. Life Mantra
There so many sayings and phrases and bits of lore out there: life is a narrow bridge, but be not afraid; life’s a journey, not a destination; and so on and so on. Words like “I am” and “I will” are some of the most powerful words in the English language, because the words which follow them may make or break us.
A mantra allows you to gain perspective, and perspective is the key to a better understanding of oneself and the world around you. A very useful life mantra, which I picked up from the sleeve of a Radiohead album, is:
Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.
Only later in life did I find the origin of the phrase, penned by French psychologist and pharmacist Émile Coué. It’s a form of autosuggestion, apparently, and I have used it many times in the past with great success. There is another one which is akin to that, and this I got from the film Vanilla Sky:
Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.
The main point to take away from both of these mantras is that you are stronger than you think or feel. You possess the capacity to become better than you are at the present moment. Likewise, there is infinite potential in the universe itself, and it offers itself to you with each passing moment. These are two mantras that call out to the individual, and invite him or her to make a move in the direction of the good, the positive, the sustainable, and the nurturing.
Fun fact -- Vanilla Sky opens with a Radiohead song. Coincidence??
4. Sleep Mantra
I don’t have a sleep mantra. I take stock before bed and go over my day: my rights and wrongs, my doings and dealings, my wins and losses -- so there is no set mantra that I utter. It’s always spontaneous, albeit not extemporaneous. I’ve been doing this all my life, give or take, and I can say without a doubt that it has had a tremendous effect on me, personally.
Lying in bed with a racing mind is a very common occurrence, and there are many people who struggle with falling asleep. There are different methods which can help one fall asleep, not the least of which is ol’ faithful: sheep counting. Reciting a mantra in bed or before bed can help to put your mind at ease, increase the natural production of melatonin -- aka the sleep hormone -, and basically relax your body as it prepares to drift off.
One simple sleep mantra is:
My mind and body are ready for sleep.
If you are lying in bed, that mantra is often straight and true. That is, were it not for our incessant thought loops and anxieties about the future. This mantra seeks to make more present that which is plainly real: that we are in bed and are ready to take our rest. Unless you’re going to bed when you aren’t tired -- not recommended (though that deserves its own post) -- then yes, your body is indeed ready for sleep.
In one TED talk I came across, proper sleep was called a “human superpower”. We need sleep to function and stay alive, and it’s an experience which we all take part in. The differences are in the quality of the sleep we get. Deep sleep allows our mind and body to process, to rest, to realign, to reset, and to digest and take in everything that has gone on during the day.
5. Success Mantra
We all have varying definitions of what success is. To some, success means owning a home. To others, it’s having a family or a good career. In this life, we get to define success on our own terms, if we really want to. Sadly, there are many of us who get all caught up in how others define success, and in doing so we doom ourselves to a life of keeping up with the Joneses, with tons of future regret and resentment to boot!
The first step, then, would be articulating your personal definition of success, in the micro and the macro. Figure out what it means to you, at its core and yours. Be as honest and genuine about it as you can, since your mantra may very well be connected and intertwined with this definition.
I’ll provide two separate success mantras here.
Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.
If you’re going to succeed in something, you need to approach it with the right mindset. Believing that you can win and achieve a goal, in spite of everything that may get in your way or try to push you off the path -- that is the foundation of your eventual success. As Samuel Beckett said: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.
Tough love can still be uplifting when said with empathy and kindness. When you speak these words, don’t say it in anger or fear. It is a scary and sobering thought, to be sure, and it can be difficult to express. But that might be when you need it the most. There is optimism there, after all.
John Lennon gave thanks to his woman for showing him the meaning of success. You’d think a former Beatle -- a rich and famous Englishman with the rank of Knight, no less -- would have already figured that out. But no, it was actually his woman who showed him what success really means to him. That’s inspiring.
True success is moving towards your goals, and not letting others dictate your way of life or the way you go about expressing it. Success means not living according to the judgments and views of others. It means following your dreams with conviction and honesty, regardless of anyone else’s opinion. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, it means putting in the work to make it happen for yourself.
There’s one life to live, and you’re the one who’s living it.
Some mantras are thousands of years old; some have been around for five days. The chant and call of “Om” have been echoing throughout the planet for thousands of years. That primordial human vibration has never ceased. But you don’t have to go that route. A self-love mantra can be anything that lifts your spirits. Anything that reminds you that you’re a lot more than you think you are.
Self-love is all-important, but don’t stop there. It’s not enough to love yourself. You need to love yourself and push yourself forward. You must make yourself even more worthy of that love and confidence you seek. Create a positive feedback loop in your life through words and actions, and over time you will discover that you are stronger and better for it.
Let these mantras (or your own mantras) help to pick you up when you are down, and remind you of that which is important to you. The words you speak into being can become a part of you, and the reach of autosuggestion is long when employed daily. Even if some consider it little more than a placebo, it is a powerful and convincing placebo.