I have a background in New Agey-ness. Honest. I worked at a metaphysical book publisher for years, and I did so because I’m a double Capricorn with Taurus rising and am quite sure that information has real bearing on my life path. I have experienced the power of visualization, seen spells work, and received practical, helpful advice from Tarot readings. I don’t just want to believe, I actually do. In more cases than not.
But there’s a certain segment of self-help, New Age, advice-y stuff that makes me go, “Eh.” And for years, that included mantras. I talk a lot and write even more, so you’d think that I’d GET how powerful words can be. Especially in repetition. But I didn’t. Until I hit a wall in my own body image work and started reciting a few on my own. And they worked.
For doubters like me, I think mantras must be kept simple, positive, and universal. Looking in the mirror each morning and saying, “My body is lovely and unique in every way, and will remain so no matter what,” is absolutely worthwhile. But it’s also a bit convoluted. A variant on the phrase above, “My whole being is beautiful,” might work better, and even encompasses the you beyond your body. Doing, “I don’t have to conform to anyone else’s beauty ideal,” hits an important note, but does so from a reactive standpoint. In my experience, mantras resonate when they’re affirming, so focusing on the positive always helps. Try, “My beauty is unique and true,” instead. And although something specific like, “My hips and curves enhance my fabulousness,” will work wonders if you’ve honed in on a specific body area that troubles you, “My figure is fab,” might stick in your mind a bit better in the long run.
Here are a few other body image mantras that might work, even for staunch for mantra-doubters:
- Thank you, body, for all that you do.
- I am strong, I am good.
- When I see myself, I see beauty.
- My body is sacred.
- I am powerful and strong.
- My beauty is my own.
- I love who I am, body and soul.
You can also go the cheeky route – blow yourself a kiss, experiment with, “Hey, good lookin’!” do something playful. But for any mantra – fun or serious – to be effective, it must be consistent for a decent chunk of time and it must be out loud. I know that last bit may sound like a deal-breaker to some of you doubters, but I’m TELLING you. Saying something out loud gives it a power that reciting it internally seldom can. Think about putting on your favorite dress. If you look in the mirror and are pleased, you’ll smile. But if you look in the mirror and are blown away by your own hotness, you’ll exclaim aloud. Which of those expresses the stronger emotion?
Mantras aren’t for everyone, and I’ll admit to falling off this bandwagon myself fairly regularly. But I’ve been amazed by how these seemingly small, easy, simple phrases can shift my self-perception and boost my body image when repeated regularly. And I’m hoping this little tribute to them will drag some of you doubters over to the other side.
How do you feel about mantras in general? Body image mantras specifically? Can you imagine taking one on for yourself? Would you be willing to try – even for a week? (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge.)
Image via Rosie Molinary.