‘I am too much this’, ‘I am not enough that’…
How many of those ‘I am’ statements do you have in your repertoire?
If you are an over-achiever, I bet quite a few – geared toward a negative story around who you are, and how ‘inadequate’ you are.
In itself, we all can use a healthy dose of self-doubt and humility to keep us in check. The ‘not enough, too much’ will be an issue when this story becomes the main program running in the background of many of our actions.
Time to let that sh!t go? – mantras can help.
Mantras, affirmations, word spells whose purpose is to redirect the brain from its usual looping, back into the creative visionary and problem-solver it is meant to be.
Repeated regularly and any time the brain goes into its default negative language, the mantra overrides the older narrative and integrates the new one as the new reality.
With a personal caveat: while mantras are nothing new – they have been around for centuries- too much of a good thing and they can become part of the self-sabotaging toolbox of distraction, wishful thinking, procrastination…
Use them as redirection and a way to a cleaner mental slate, not as a substitute for taking action.
Mantra 1: I am not what I am afraid to lose
Do you know the one thing that keeps most of us stuck in a meh job, a so-so relationship or even in an opinion? It’s what we are afraid to lose – the ‘if I do xyz, I will have to give up this, and it will hurt’.
It’s a natural human reaction.
In a world whose philosophy is no pain, no gain, everything we have earned through our blood, sweat, and tears is deemed important, because it came at a hefty cost: part of our vitality.
How can we be ok with giving it up? We end up clinging to what is obsolete.
Where to start the process for a healthier mindset?
Being aware when we give too much credit to external validation.
The job title being one of those. Be proud of where you are, celebrate your achievements; give your job title its rightful place, but not more.
Explore what makes you unique and resourceful.
Make an inventory of your skills, your experience, and your qualities. Take a step back and see how you have impacted others throughout your life.
Now you can see how restrictive the job title can be.
Do a similar exercise with anything that you have associated with your self-worth or your right to exist. Be it a clothing size, a net worth, a zip code, and the likes.
Who would you be if you didn’t have any of that?
Next time ‘I am not good enough’ strikes back, remind yourself of the beautiful Soul you are.
Mantra 2: Self-Respect is my prime boundary
‘How can I be loved if I am not needed’… or the other version of ‘my right to live depends on what I do’.
True we all want to be of service to others, to make an impact, to matter. But sometimes we push it to the extreme, where we end up betraying ourselves out of fear of betraying others.
Here is where learning the art of setting healthy boundaries becomes a necessity.
Start by listing where you draw the line – and hold yourself accountable for it. Listen to what your body is telling you – emotions, such as anger and resentment, can be indicators that people have gone too far.
At the end of the day, what matters is how your actions make you feel. If your ‘yes’ or your ‘no’ to others leave you depleted, question why you are putting yourself in these situations, and how you can affirm your boundaries in a kind and firm way while honoring your body/mind/soul’s needs.
It will be uncomfortable for a while, but with time, you will feel proud of yourself for standing up for yourself.
Mantra 3: I am thankful/grateful/appreciative for what I have and for what I don’t have
Always looking for what is missing and taking what we have for granted: the human condition in a nutshell, right?
Then what happens is envy, blame, entitlement, greed – a self-renewing cycle that doesn’t do anyone any good.
What if we changed the scenario and started looking for what we have? the more we make our bodies feel safe and cared for, the more we will be in a position to appreciate what is happening in the present moment.
If ‘the attitude of gratitude’ gets you an automatic response of ‘and so what?’, imagine what your life would be if you didn’t have it. Make it a reflex to be appreciative of what you have, no matter how tiny it is.
Your body will thank you.