Words are powerful in creating our perspective—and in creating our lives. The words we tell ourselves are especially important. After all, there’s a big difference between “It’s OK I made a mistake,” and “Wow. I’m such an idiot.” There’s a big difference between “My body has changed, and I can work on appreciating it” and “My body has become disgusting.” There’s a big difference between “I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ll understand more as I keep going” and “Clearly, I can’t.”
The way we talk to ourselves creates our reality. It guides our decisions. It guides how we spend our days. It guides how we let others treat us.
As Tanaaz Chubb writes in her newest book My Pocket Mantras: Powerful Words to Connect, Comfort and Protect, “Words carry their own vibrations, and these vibrations can create a ripple effect in the Universe. This ripple effect can influence your mood, your mind, and your life.”
Chubb defines mantras as “short, rhythmic statements that use positive and uplifting words to create a positive and uplifting mindset.” Mantra, she writes, “can be loosely translated to ‘instrument of the mind.'” (I love that.) And, thankfully, we can use these instruments to produce melodies and symphonies of self-compassion, which helps us to create a satisfying, fulfilling life.
Below are five mantras from My Pocket Mantras to recite to help you cultivate a self-compassionate mindset.
“I give thanks to every cell in my amazing body.” Many of us rarely express gratitude for our bodies. Instead, we fixate on what we lack. We think of everything our bodies are not, and everything we want them to be. We dream of being a different size or shape or weight, and we convince ourselves that we’re undeserving until we get there. So we wait. And we wait. And all the while we treat ourselves terribly.
According to Chubb, “every minute of every day, your body is performing millions of tasks on a cellular level in order to help keep you alive, active and well. Every second of every day, your body is using innate intelligence to heal your aliments and alert you when something is not quite right. Your body is intelligent, dedicated and hardworking…” She suggests reciting this mantra three times out loud or to yourself—and if it resonates with you, highlighting different parts of your body that you’re thankful for.
“All experiences are helping me grow.” We often see things in black and white, fail or succeed. If we succeed, we’ve simply met our expectations, and we move on to the next goal. If we fail, we are failures. We’ve always been failures, and that’s that. We put pressure on ourselves to do things perfectly, because we think that’s the only way to do, to be.
This mantra, which you can recite four times, helps you navigate challenges from a “place of curiosity rather than despair,” Chubb writes. “The more you can approach life as a learning experience that you simply cannot fail at, the freer you will feel to explore things with a sense of adventure.” And this sense of adventure helps you evolve and flourish. It helps you learn fascinating things. It starts conversations, instead of closing them. It cultivates a healthier relationship with yourself.
“I breathe into fear and turn it into adventure.” Our fear tries to keep us safe and secure. At the same time, it convinces us that we can’t do anything. It convinces us that we’re stuck, that we shouldn’t have faith in ourselves. “Try to envision whatever you are feeling fearful about as an exciting adventure or as a challenge that you are going to triumph over,” Chubb writes. You can even think of it as a video game.
Chubb suggests reciting this mantra three times while breathing deeply in and deeply out; and shaking your hands to help you release some of your fear.
“I am doing the best I can with what I know.” Chubb suggests reciting this mantra when you are doubting your abilities, learning something new or working on forgiving yourself. Again, we put so much pressure on ourselves to know everything, to move about our lives mistake-free. We look back at past decisions and wonder why we were so stupid and naive. We berate ourselves. Endlessly.
But the reality is that we are not all-knowing. No one is. The reality is that all sorts of things influence our decisions and behavior—our surroundings, certain people, our beliefs at the time, how we felt about ourselves, how we felt in general. These things evolve, and we learn. We also can’t predict the future. But we can acknowledge that we are doing the best we can with the information we have and the specific state we’re in.
“Loving myself allows me to give more to others.” This is a helpful mantra to recite if you have a hard time prioritizing your needs, saying no and feel guilty about practicing self-care. Chubb stresses the importance of filling our own cup and listening to what your heart, body and mind need. She suggests pausing and taking a moment to check in with yourself about what you really need right now.
Pick one or two mantras that resonate with you, and start reciting them. Or create your own mantra and say it throughout the day. Again, how we speak to ourselves affects how we live our lives. What words do you want to use?