Mantras. Those handfuls of words that elevate, encourage and comfort you exactly when you need it. The colleague with moods you’ll never understand, the friend whose self-defeating behaviour you can’t stop, the client who left inexplicably. Underneath the annoyance/frustration/sting, your deep wisdom knows all you can do is control your efforts and your response.
With the world wide web a tap away, the mantra well is deep. And there are lots of ways to feature them in your life: a post-it on a mirror, written on a bracelet, as a print on your desk, on a workout top, or as a screensaver. I tend to say mantras to myself as well as out loud. Here are five of my favourites and some ideas for when to use them.
The only way out is through
A long-haul economy flight – middle seat, a medical procedure you’re dreading, work admin that can’t wait another minute. While you might feel overwhelmed at the thought of the task, think of the freedom and satisfaction you’ll feel once it’s done. As Gretchen Rubin says, “Nothing is more exhausting than the task that is never started.” So get it done and reward yourself in some way once you’ve come through.
We’re all human
This one’s great for mistakes and awkward moments. A recent tale from my life is getting trapped in my puffer jacket at a doctor’s appointment. I needed to have an injection and despite three! nurses with various tools trying to free my arm, they eventually admitted defeat and stuck a needle in my tush. Ouch. An old classic is reversing my mum’s car into my dad’s car 10 minutes after I got my driver’s licence. My point: everyone has these stories because ‘we’re all human’ and we all do silly things and have embarrassing moments. These experiences become the comedy of your life and should be shared and enjoyed!
This too shall pass
You might need to muster some willpower, but this is a goody when you’re feeling tough emotions like sadness, anger or anxiety. It can feel like you’re stuck, with no big picture in sight, but it will pass, and you know this from countless experiences. Sometimes you need to mindfully remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’ and do something positive to boost your mood, or connect with loved ones while the clouds pass by.
Seriously. Why not ask for a meeting, a project, a date. Ask to have coffee with someone new, to have an article published, to collaborate with a professional you respect. With some preparation and the right tone, there’s nothing to lose and plenty to gain. How great if you get a yes! or even an opportunity that nudges you closer towards your goal. If the answer’s no, you’ll build courage, resilience and confidence for trying. Probably the best reasons of all to just ask.
I can only control myself
The colleague with moods you’ll never understand, the friend whose self-defeating behaviour you can’t stop, the client who left inexplicably. Underneath the annoyance/frustration/sting, your deep wisdom knows all you can do is control your efforts and your response. Of course, you should always do your best, be realistically optimistic and learn and grow from experiences, but it’s important to accept what you can’t control. If you embrace this mindset, you might find a lovely freedom follows as you become more present in your life and confident in managing what you truly can – yourself.