What’s your mantra?


What’s your mantra?

Sometimes when people meditate they repeat a word or phrase to help with concentration and prevent the mind from getting lost in a myriad of wayward thoughts.   It might be a word or sound that appeals to the ear or has significant spiritual meaning.   

We all have mantras.   

Whether we are meditating or ruminating we all have mantras— phrases that we tell ourselves over and over again.   Too often these are negative phrases.   They may be ones we have internalized since a child, “I’m not good enough,” “I always screw up,” “I know they’re talking about me.”   Or maybe they are mantras like “I’m too fat/ugly/short/tall/stupid, etc.”   You get the point.   It is the mantra of your inner critic and it’s out of control.  And that’s important because your critic shapes the way you see yourself, and interact with others.

Here’s the cool thing about mantras — you can change them.

You just have to pay attention to that inner critic and learn to recognize it for what it is.  Then when you hear that same tired mantra, consciously choose to reframe it.   Initially your critic may bombard you with “Hey you know that’s BS, I’m telling you the truth!”  Tell the critic, “Hey thanks for your input, but you know I’m going in a different direction today.  I’m choosing self-acceptance and self-compassion today.”

Give your critic a personal name that works for you.   Then politely tell he or she, “No thanks, I’ve got a new mantra today— one that supports me and moves me forward.”

What’s your mantra?

MeditationMark Levine