Finding a Matra that WorksOct 17, 2021
What is your go-to phrase for encouragement? Does it work for you?
My go-to phrase is “you’ve got this” and “Balance”. This realization came out of a question a coaching client asked me in a session. The coaching client was working on changing their self-talk as a result of the Workshop they attended with me in early September. And then they asked, “What’s your go-to phrase for encouragement?”. At the moment I answered in some lengthy paragraph format but then later realized that my answer was to a different question. The paragraph with which I responded is actually my self-talk narrative. A go-to phrase, aka Mantra, is something different.
Improving our self-talk is critical, but distilling a single word or phrase that can be used quickly and efficiently can be a mini win for us. We don’t always have time for an entire inner dialog with ourself. Sometimes we need an inner pep talk in 3 words or less. In further research, I realized this type of mini inner pep talk already exists and has existed for generation upon generation. It’s a Mantra. The definition of Mantra in the book The Ancient Science of mantras-Wisdom of the Sages. “A mantra is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words, originally in the Sanskrit language, believed by practitioners to have religious, magical, or spiritual powers.” I paused as I reflected on my own words “You’ve got this” to see if it fit the definition. I was unsure at first it is had religious, magical, or spiritual powers. So for 2 weeks, I kept a little checklist of why I used this phrase and what result occurred. Guess what - it is a little bit magical and a bit spiritual.
I found I most often used the phrase when I needed to say or do something difficult that included the word “No”. I find it difficult to say no, still after years of work. It is no longer painful and a trigger for guilt but it’s still hard. So when I knew I needed to stand my ground I would move from a fluttery tummy to solidly confident and able to make a statement - like magic! “You’ve got this” is my Abracadabra! Poof! It is my mantra because for me it is an utterance that brings a quick change so that I can align with my values no matter how difficult.
I did the same exercise with “Balance”. A single word that I use at least once a week, sometimes more. I began using the word balance as part of a new years resolution a few years back. I had an infant, a full-time job, a home, a husband, and who knows what else felt heavy at the time. I kept feeling out of balance or like my focus would land too much on one idea or area. The word balance would remind me to take a breath, close my eyes, and get centered. It was like a prayer. The word balance coupled with a deep breath feels spiritual. Again, a Mantra for a win.
The opposite to having your inner mantra is to consult with others. It is a marvelous thing to have friends and family. However, outsourcing your decisions to other people loses the effect of a mantra. It also honestly does the exact opposite. The goal of a mantra is to stand solidly in our own truth, our own magic, our own spirituality. By asking for someone else’s opinion or affirmation it does not equate to our own belief. It means that other people believe in your decision. It means it is a decision they would choose for themselves. It does not always mean it is the right decision for you. If you like to hear others’ opinions, be sure to step back and make the decision on your own.
The mantra must come from you. It needs to resonate and feel truthful. It does not mean, however, that you need to do it all alone. If you have a partner or trusted friend you may include them in helping distill the perfect word or phrase. I did a bit of reflection to recognize the words I was using as my mantra. Those around us might also be able to tell us if we are an external processor. If you think out loud to yourself, you could be stating the mantra in front of others.
If the discovery is that you don’t have a mantra, then consider spending some time on what you believe would ultimately be a powerful word for encouragement. What do you like to hear from others, this is a good sign that it may help us too. If you keep a journal there is sure to be some good nuggets of information in there. Look back through and find any words that get repeated.
And if you still feel like this is a struggle then consider joining me for a free training later in October on the 25th at 1 pm PST. The Mantra Maker: Finding Calm in a Busy Life is a mini-training with a BIG win. Ourselves
Having a Mantra is a confidence boost. It helps you feel supported to know that at any moment you can use a word or phrase that provides you with a magical calm. Being able to call upon Calm on demand is like having a superpower. So tie on your cape and begin using a Mantra today.
What would you say if I told you that spending 5 minutes per day supporting your mental wellness could improve your gut health? And 5 minutes per day helping your gut health could improve your mental health?
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