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Archive for July 1st, 2008

White flower (c) Lynda BernhardtI have found using mantras to be a powerful way to help myself heal from child abuse. Using mantras is super easy and very effective. However, you first have to push through your resistance to the positive messages.

What is a mantra? A mantra is any message that you say to yourself repeatedly. I thought about the three messages that I most needed to hear as a child to come up with mine: “I love you. You are safe. I’m sorry.” I would say these words to myself multiple times a day.

At the beginning, it was difficult because I did not believe the words. I did not love myself, and I certainly did not feel safe. However, I pushed through my unease and “forced” myself to say these messages to myself over and over again. Whenever I had a quiet moment, such as driving my car or doing housework, I would say these mantras in my head repeatedly. In time, I started to believe the messages.

Using this mantra is now one of the most effective ways to bring myself back to the present whenever I get triggered. If I feel triggered, I take deep breaths and repeat this mantra in my head. Within seconds, I can feel my body releasing the tension, and I return to the present.

You are welcome to use my mantra, or you can make one up for yourself. Think about a message (up to three) that you most need to hear. It might be “I am good enough just the way I am” or “I accept myself exactly the way I am.” What message would make the biggest difference in how you feel about yourself if you really believed it? That is the message you need to use for your mantra.

Why does it work? I think it works the same way that the negative messages do. The first time you are told that you are worthless, you fight back. However, after hearing the message that you are worthless (whether through words or actions) a thousand times, you eventually believe the statement. So, we can reverse this by implanting positive messages into our heads. Also, loving ourselves is our natural state, so it will always ultimately win.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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