OK - this may sound funny, maybe even sound a little woo-woo...but I have a serious question: Do you have a go-to mantra?
No? Yes? Stick with me!
When I was younger - tween/teen age, navigating daily life - I didn’t feel all that connected within. I didn’t have a strong inner voice telling me that I was awesome, powerful and can find peace inside myself. I didn’t know my own resilience.
In fact, the opposite voice was loud inside. The voice inside my mind was pretty doubtful and lacking. I sat in a lot of fear and had to work my way up to faith and love in order to get through many troublesome moments. Which was not easy. It often resulted in a lot of neglected feelings, pushing away emotions and hiding my true self to please others.
It didn’t look pretty inside.
Until I worked on building my resilience, connecting to my strength and inner truth through many different tools, one of which was learning to talk to myself like I would my friends. And that, too, was not easy. But man, am I glad it happened.
Speaking to yourself with love, kindness and even mantras and affirmations has proven benefits. When we repeat phrases to ourselves daily that uplift our compassion and combat internal negative talk, we have the ability to boost our self-esteem and create new neural pathways in the brain that supports a healthier relationship to ourself.
In certain theories it has been identified that when we speak to ourself through loving mantras or affirmations we can develop a strong self-identity in different roles (growth v. fixed mindset,) our objective is to be morally good (not excellent or perfect) and we act in ways that naturally offer praise because it's authentic and value-based.
So with that, the simple words we say to ourself have MAJOR BENEFITS. Inside and out. Simple words of compassion and love can lead to pretty big results.
Which brings me to today and how this all was brought up.
As I drove to the book store, talking with my family, my eight year old daughter started asking about Instagram and we dove into a discussion about the power of social media…all the good it can bring, the confusing messages and the negativity that can come along with the scroll
And so I thought/realized that if I had to grow up today in this world of social connectedness, constant availability and access to “knowing” what everyone else was up to, I would have struggled HARD by thirteen.
Anyone relate?! I don’t think I am alone…
Reflecting on it now with a mindful edge, I know that our internal dialogue is the foundation of resilience, and the relationship with yourself can make or break your outlook in life.
Which is all the more reason I strongly support open dialogue between parents and children, and that we offer our kids a way to connect to their inner warrior when natural icky thoughts start creeping in. Online scrolling or otherwise...
A go-to mantra can be a great starting point.
A mantra in general is a phrase you can repeat over in your mind. Different than an "I AM" statement, Mantras are used as a tool to remind yourself of your strength, your resilience and your peace in moments when negative thoughts are popping up or you are simply struggling through a moment, like we all do at times.
The idea is simple: when something unwanted happens, whether in our mind or physically outside of your control, repeat the phrase, calm the mind, and come back to the present moment to manage emotions and determine appropriate actions.
The mantra is an anchor. A simple tool used to bring us inward for support when we feel lost or out of control.
So you can help your child make one up for themselves, or you can use one of the ones shared below as a start.
If you’re stuck on where to begin, start by asking your child this:
When someone needs your support, what words of encouragement do you offer them?
When you are struggling, what words do you like to hear?
When you want support, who do you often turn to and why? Do they say anything that lifts you up and makes you feel better?
Use the words you often say or want to hear from others to determine what words you can say to yourself.
Place this mantra somewhere you will see it daily and it can be repeated as much as it’s needed.
MAY I FEEL WORTHY
ALL OF MY PROBLEMS HAVE SOLUTIONS
I LOOK AT ALL SITUATIONS WITH LOVE
I HAVE COURAGE AND CONFIDENCE
I STAND UP FOR MYSELF AND MY BELIEFS
EVERYTHING IS WORKING OUT IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE
LIFE SUPPORTS ME
MY LOVE MEANS MORE THAN MY FEARS
EVERYDAY IS A FRESH START
WITH EVERY BREATH I FEEL CALM AND STRONG
MAY I GROW AND LEARN FROM THIS MOMENT
PEACE BEGINS WITH ME
Whether it's a conversation about social media, friendship, family, school or just trying something new, offering our children an opportunity to search for encouraging words within is a mindful step in the right direction. And giving them a physical phrase to stop and repeat in struggling times is a moment of mindfulness in itself.
And, heck, if you're up for it, you can even make a Family Mantra with ‘em to add into the fun.
Think about how you all rely on each other - maybe it's for words of love or encouragement, maybe it's reminders to live a specific value.
Come together, brainstorm some words and make a mantra (or motto if that feels better) like:
WE MAKE GOOD CHOICES
LOVE LIVES IN US
EFFORT IS EVERYTHING
PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION
DO IT FOR YOU
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING BUT YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING
Family Day is the perfect time to come together, talk about your values, think about what words you need to hear and discuss how they relate to one another. Coming up with a phrase can be fun, meaningful and in the end, very impactful for the whole family.
Would love to hear how it goes!