Shifting from negative mantras to positive mantras was probably my greatest success of 2014.
I pushed myself through every day of my life, all the way to 2014, using hateful, terrorizing, emotionally crushing negative mantras. I was not always aware I was doing it. It was habitual to say the least.
The only reason I decided to stop doing that was because of the look on my therapist’s face when I told her that’s how I got myself through high school, college and law school (and the bar exam, my wedding planning and pregnancy). The look on her face suggested that was not a good idea.
So, I agreed to try out positive mantras. It was tough at first because I did not realize how huge the shift was going to be. I had to care about myself for real. I had to be sorry when I slipped up, which was tough because, at first, it felt very natural and almost soothing to just allow myself to tear into myself. But when I was finished, it wasn’t soothing at all (obviously) and I regretted what I considered to be “backsliding” into old bad habits.
Over the course of the year, I found myself doing many things to solidify my shift into positive mantras. Research, reading, journaling, mixed media art (#hellosoulhellomantras), meditating, EMDR, self hypnosis, yoga, etc.
Want to know what the single most helpful activity has been?
By far, the easiest and most effective method for my shift was to use positive mantras on my child.
When I was pregnant, I read the book The Help and was very moved by the mantra that the nanny uses on the baby (“You is kind, you is smart, you is important”).
“You is kind, you is smart, you is important”
My big pregnant self was sobbing thinking about how helpful that would have been, if my parents had used mantras like that on me when I was a child.
Ever since my son was born, I have told him this every day:
You are kind. You are smart. You are important. You are my son. I am your mom. I take care of you. You are special. You are an angel. You are made out of stars. I am so proud of you. You make me so happy. I love to be your mom. We are a family. I love you.
I tell him this, without fail, at nap time and at bed time. I also tell him that when he is cuddly, or sad, or when I just don’t know what else to say. This is my filler.
At the end of this month, my son will be 3 years old. For the past 6 months, he has been whispering the mantra along with me. I could not be more proud. I know he believes every word of it (why wouldn’t he? It’s all true).
What’s even more amazing—I am beginning to believe every word of it about myself. I am kind. I am smart. I am important. I am a mom. I will take care of myself. I love myself. I am special. I am an angel. I am made out of stars. I am so happy. I love to be Jackson’s mom. I have a family.
It’s hard to totally change certain core habits. I know. I did it. Through, research, reading, journaling, various forms of therapy, art work, blogging, meditating, yoga and parenting.
I don’t care how old your children are, start the positive mantras with them today. Do it for them and for you. Do it every day.
Haiku by Rachel VanKoughnet:
He’s not mine to own. I was made to protect him before I was born.
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