There often seems to be a sharp contrast between what we say and what we do. For example, most agree that humans are works in progress, that mistakes are inevitable, and that because they offer us much needed lessons, mistakes are a good thing. And yet society is set up to punish us for our mistakes, making them instead a heavy, guilt-laden burden which can drain even the most positive individual of energy and optimism.
Thankfully, there are many ways we can reclaim our healthy relationship with mistakes. There is one in particular, a simple one that can be applied pretty much immediately to just about everyone, everywhere. It requires repeated daily application over the course of weeks, months, and sometimes even years.
Their efficiency in breaking negative patterns of thought as well as in establishing new ones is widely recognised. One needs to find a simple mantra—from Scripture, a poem, a well-known expression, or even something original—and, in time of need, repeat it over and over, even claiming it as a touchstone in times of inner turmoil. Mantras can be used to learn patience, courage, forgiveness, empathy, and pretty much anything else.
When it comes to separating guilt from mistakes, a few mantras can come in quite handy. One of my favourites is, quite simply, to “have faith”—that my mistakes are a learning experience and that they are nothing to be ashamed of. Another one I love is “I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life”—a great one to use when the urge to overanalyse a mistake occurs. When the going really gets tough, “this too, shall pass” is a well-known and profoundly wise quote I resort to.
There are of course many, many mantras available, which is part of their benefit. They are also free to find and to use ad nauseum. But if you find a particularly powerful mantra, it can help to have a physical reminder of it. You can write it out on a big piece of paper and stick it somewhere you know you will see it. If you know how to draw, you can decorate your mantra; if you are good at calligraphy, well, you know what to do. You can decorate it while reflecting on its meaning, using a meditative process such as the creation of a zentangle. Or, if it a well-known one, you can choose to purchase a beautiful print of it by one of many talented designers selling their art on Etsy. I also found that making an “Inspiration” board on Pinterest comes in quite handy!
Do you use mantras? Which ones, and where do you purchase your prints?