Today at my exercise class some women were discussing mantras that they say to themselves when they wake up in the morning to start their day off on a positive note. This got me to thinking about our inner voices and how that private, silent little voice can really shape our behavior. One woman said she wakes and tells herself, "It's going to be an awesome day today!" Another woman with a particularly stressful job tells herself that, "I am going to conduct my day today with integrity." I too have a mantra which stems from some anxiety and what I call a broken record issue. Mine can and is used at any time of the day but I most often use it at night when my brain simply won't shut off, I say "Ann, chuck it in the fuckit bucket and move on!" I know it's a bit vulgar but it works for me. I actually yell it in my head and it's like a reset for me, allowing me to either put that thought in a box to revisit later or blissfully forget about it.
I also have a voice that tells me unkind things too and I am learning to shut those thoughts down before I begin to spiral. I found a quote by Willie Nelson, "Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results." In a world where we are bombarded with images of people that are always portrayed as successful and physically perfect, is it any wonder that we all might develop a nasty inner voice? I am thinking of the kind of people I admire and am drawn to funny, kind, intelligent, strong people with a multitude of talents but I wonder if those people would see themselves the way I do? Or do those people that I'm drawn to have a kind and encouraging inner voice? We all have baggage from our childhood and lives in general but could it be possible to change how we feel about ourselves, build our self esteem, become healthier, more content and better able to be there for the people we love when we start with what we say to ourselves. It's taken me a really long time to realize that the most important and valuable voice I hear is not external. What is your mantra?!