Much of young adulthood is wading through the murky waters of "finding ourselves". What if it's less about finding yourself as it is about defining yourself?
Some call it a journey, some call it a destination – it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that our sense of self continually gets refined year after year – it rarely stays the same year to year.
It is so easy to define ourselves as what we do or who others say we are. Embracing your sense of self goes beyond that though – to the places that make you come alive and to the core of your values.
As we spend each day figuring out who we are, we wonder if we’ll ever really know. It leaves us frustrated, confused, and unhappy.
What can we do?
One area that can help define the sense of self and change for the better is a personal daily mantra.
I'm not one to doubt the power of thinking positive, but I'm certainly not positive all the time. I was apprehensive about a mantra when I was first introduced to it.
But then I saw this video and it hit me – personal mantras can change our lives. It's a great watch - take a few minutes to listen.
I applaud this father for changing his son’s life and helping him define his sense of self at such a young age.
A mantra is powerful because it is something you define for yourself. It’s your words that speak life to your future. The life changing power in a mantra happens when you build your hopes and dreams into the lines of your script.
What does this look like?
Mantras can be built with a combination of personal strengths and future aspirations.
When I wrote my personal mantra, I started with the qualities about myself I love the most like authenticity, hard working, steely resolve and grit.
You should always want to encourage yourself in what you already do well. Building your strengths makes you a stronger individual. Confidence always starts with celebrating yourself humbly– not waiting to be recognized by others.
After I’ve included my strengths to celebrate, I add in the qualities I most want to improve like self-love, treating others well, and being slow to make assumptions of others' intentions.
Here’s where you change your life. You become what think. What you think about often is what you rehearse. When you are faced with a situation that requires a strong sense of self, you are going to default to your most rehearsed thoughts.
Is your inner dialogue positive and confident or negative and judgmental? Take a look at the rehearsed thoughts below to get an idea of what this looks like.
I never do anything right.
I am doing a great job.
I am not good enough.
I'm not perfect but I am enough.
I'm not talented enough.
I have skills and the drive to learn.
It will always be this way.
Things can change for the better.
I always get hurt.
I'm capable of healing from hurt.
Do you see how our inner thoughts can sabotage who we want to become or give us new life?
Creating a mantra to speak to yourself daily helps you rehearse what you want your default thoughts to be.
I’ve shared my mantra below.
I will show up and be seen.
I am enough.
I love & respect myself.
I show my authentic self in everything I do.
I do not fear the opinions of others.
I ask for what I need.
I operate ethically always.
I hustle. I work hard. I don't take shortcuts - especially when no one is watching.
I don't lose sight of my steely resolve and grit.
I chase my dreams unapologetically.
I speak only if I can improve the silence.
I treat others with kindness, caring, forgiveness and love.
I think of others before myself.
I filter feedback through a lens of truth - accept what is true, ignore what is false.
I make generous assumptions about people who wrong me.
Take the next 5 minutes to jot down the strengths you want to encourage about yourself, then add in the hopes you have for your future self.
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