What’s Your Mantra?

You must have a mantra which is a self-affirmation that causes transformation. Hey! That should be in a song. Anyway, I have had many of them through the years.

I stole one from my college friend Dean who was dared to ride his bike down a steep hill, onto a pier, up a make-shift ramp and into Lake Mendota. He turned to me before launching himself and said, “I am so massive,” and then flexed his spindly arms for effect.   I think he had used his mantra so many times that he convinced himself his massive body could take it. I don’t believe he felt very massive when he hit the top tube on his bike while plunging into the water. OUCH! I used this mantra for years realizing the irony of having an equally wimpy body as I moved boxes and furniture in and out of friend’s apartments.

While attending the University of Wisconsin – MadisonI lived with three girls in a flat. On the weekends, we would hit those parties that had made the school famous. The next morning (or early afternoon), I would wake up, look in the mirror and say, “You are soooo ugly!”  Then I would laugh knowing that the puffy-eyed sleeping on my face-look would dissipate later that day and I would once again resemble my twenty-year-old self. I think I stopped using that mantra in my thirties when the sarcasm began to wear thin.

When my husband Danny and I went on our first ski trip together, I was aware that he lived in Colorado just so he could ski black diamonds on the weekends. I didn’t want to sit in the lodge warming my toes for the rest of our marriage so I came up with a new mantra. I said, “I can do this,” while learning how to navigate moguls as big as Volkswagens. After that weekend of face plants, I gazed at my chapped chin and neck in the mirror knowing that “I could do this.” After almost 25 years of trying to keep up while skiing off ridiculous cliffs, through glades, and headwalls, I still use it to help me gather up my courage.

Last year, I toured apartments with my daughter and came upon a self-affirmation that would have been more positive for me when I was in college. As we walked out of a messy bedroom I noticed the mirror hanging on the back of the door. Drawn in red lipstick was, “Damn you’s a sexy bitch.”

As I have grown older, my mantras have become more serious. I can no longer tease myself about looking like Hell in the mornings since sometimes I have done nothing more than watch The Bachelor while drinking green tea the night before. That’s when I decided to pull out the big guns. Sometime during the last year I started saying, “I am SO good at what I do.” It just popped into my head one day after baking croissants without burning them or maybe it was after I planted every last one of the 650,000 annuals I bought. It might have been after I washed my mud-caked car or when I finished setting up my blog on WordPress. I am sure it was something amazing. Anyway, now I use it all the time because I AM so good at what I do.

What’s your mantra?

If you don’t have one, make one up! I dare yah!

 

Do you think they have a mantra?

Photos by Susie Lindau

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112 Comments

Filed under Humor, Life

112 responses to “What’s Your Mantra?

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  4. I love this, because it takes me right back to where I am strongest psychologically: when I run marathons. I have adopted different mantras for each marathon, but my favorite mantra was also the simplest one: “I’m gonna make it.” When I am not running, the mantra I have used most successfully to gut it out through the tough times in my life has been, “I’m going to be okay.” Simple, but powerful. I am very happy to find you–love your positive energy and force! And thank you for stopping by my blog.

  5. ***The LensMaster

    My mantra is “I refuse to…” – I refuse to be unhappy. I refuse to live a mediocre life…I refuse to…

  6. Riding a bicycle tube in the pool, in a tube top while baking perfectly flaky croissants? Damn…you sho is one sexy…erm…Lady
    Yeah,..Wonder whose bright idea it was to manufacturer the Boys bikes with the bar going across..I racked up a few ouches myself in my bike riding days…I often think they somehow got the two mixed up…anyway, as this, and all the other great yarns you’ve provided for our reading entertainment…You absolutely are Great at what you do…

  7. Wonderful post Susie. You are definitely SO GOOD at what you do. :) Hmm mantra…. I’m not sure if this counts but when I get worried about people’s opinions I say to myself, “Who cares what everyone thinks. I am who I am – they can take it or leave it.” And that’s that! :)

  8. This was an awesome entry. Love how your mantras evolved. Mine have too. One of my favorites which I still stick to today is: “You’re so money and you don’t even know it..”

  9. I loved the affirmation Aibileen, a character from The Help spoke… Everyday, with the little girl she cared for on her lap, she said, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

    It’s crucial to speak positive words to our children… In fact, to any child in your atmosphere & every chance you get.

    • That was such a great book! I am looking forward to seeing the movie now that it is on PPV. It is so true that we have a responsibility to the children around us….
      Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love your post, also. I finally remembered one I’ve been saying for years- “Water off a duck’s back, water off a duck’s back” to shake off my stress or worries, and “Happiness is a CHOICE” for all the times I am moping around looking for things to complain about. This is good stuff. I also really like the one from The Help. Thanks!!

    • Thank you Lee!
      My husband always says, “Be a duck and let it roll off your back.” He just said, “I haven’t said that one in a while.” That is a good sign!
      I believe that happiness is a choice as well!
      These are great mantras!

  11. Love your post Susie! Very inspiring. I love mantras. Here’s a couple I use–when things get really tough, I tell myself –tomorrow is another day. It’ll be better. And if whirling in indecision — Just do it. Of course all stolen/borrowed from movies or Nike. Enjoyed reading these today, thanks!

    • Thank you so much Marian!
      Those are very positive mantras. I think that we can always count on Nike to give us something phrase to motivate us and I think we have all used that one at least once!

  12. Coming in late with this comment. My mantra is “Never surrender. Never retreat. Vikings go to Valhalla.”

    The first part is based on what William B. Travis wrote as he faced Santa Ana’s army at the Alamo in Februrary of 1836. Travis knew he would be killed by the Santa Ana’s men, no matter what he did. And what he decided to do was fight until there was no breath left in his body.

    The last part of my mantra is from Norse Mythology. Simplified, it went like this: a viking’s greatest wish was to die in battle because that was the only way he would get into Valhalla (which was their version of Heaven).

    Great post. I’ve been saving this one all week for my “online” day. :D

    • Thank you so much Catie!
      That is a fantastic mantra. It really puts my life in perspective since in comparison mine is pretty laid back and cushy. Hahaha!
      Thanks for putting me on your list for “online day!”

  13. It’s got to be, ‘Do or do not; there is no try.’ Yoda said some things, man.

  14. My mantra used to be, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Of course that was several limbs and a lawsuit ago.

  15. I think I often use mantras even if I don’t put them into words. They are this strong belief in my abilities when I face a difficult task or a situation. If I had to put them into a sentence, it would be something like “How difficult can this be? I’ve done more than that!” :-)
    I love the “I’m massive” mantra, although I don’t think it would do anything else but make me giggle!

  16. The one I’m on currently is, “Conquer your fears, not the world.”

  17. Anonymous

    You are SO good at what YOU do. Love it. “This is my life; only I can live it.”

  18. This is another great post from you…
    I don’t think I have ever caught myself saying a mantra to me, but friends say am found of saying ‘Com’on! Let’s do it! and I hear this often in my head: ‘You’re beyond the sentiments of mere mortals!’ which naturally sets me apart from doing so many things!

  19. I’ve not been into mantras but it seems interesting!

  20. I have a few Susie but at the moment it is – never mix colours in the washing machine. DOH!

  21. My mantra is “10,000 hours”. When I’ve written for that many hours, I’ll be a writing expert. Until then, it’s okay if I don’t have a book on a bookstore shelf near you.

  22. Love this post, S.

    My mantra is “Lean and Shuttle on Life.” A poet I knew briefly gifted it to me. It’s a version of my first and last name.

  23. I love this! And I enjoyed reading everyone’s mantras! I change mine often during the years, I think I’m going to take on yours next…I am SO good at what I do! My mantra has been “I am overblessed” (in leu of my saying I am overwhelmed!!)

  24. Hi, Susie. At first, I really didn’t think I had a mantra. Then I thought about how I lived through my 20′s and well into my 30′s only wishing that I would be a writer and not really doing much about it. I really didn’t start trying until I turned 38. I finished that first novel and saw it published in 2010. This spring I will release the sequel. I work too many hours at the day job, spend the rest of the time balancing family with writing/networking/promotion, and next month will turn 43. It’s a lot, but I really am living the dream. I guess my mantra would be: “I’ve wasted too much time already.”
    Loved the video!

    -Jimmy

    • That is so great! It is amazing that you have been able to write two books with so much going on in your life. That does take perseverance and determination. Your mantra is a great motivator!
      The video is crazy!! Now that is going for it!

  25. Mine is “you have permission to forgive, you have permission to move on, you have permission to be happy” so whenever there is any stress, anxiety, fears to confront in my life I relax and just repeat these sentences and I’m free.

  26. Hi,
    I read this ages ago, and I have never forgotten it:
    “If you keep pursuing your dream and not give up, you will ultimately find your destination. Inspiration often comes when you seek it, more often from the deepest of your heart.”
    I thought is was spot on. :D
    I loved the video, oh if only I wasn’t a coward. :)

  27. Progress is progress, no matter how small. Not really my mantra, but when I think about it, that is how I live.

  28. I just wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, and have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Congratulations!! :) http://hurdlestohappiness.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/the-versatile-blogger-award/

  29. You have a very positive attitude Susie! Knowing you I’d say you’ll see even an empty mug half full (or air!!). Growing up I was taught in school “God is with you” & that motivated me a lot during my early life until I gained some scientific knowledge to rationale things. Now I saw grass is green on the other side (and I am on the other side of them). :)

  30. Great post, this was much needed for my day and so inspiring!
    I think I need to condense my mantra to a phrase but for the past year its been:

    I am a woman of strength and grace.
    As such, I aspire each day to postivitely impact those within my sphere of influence through my intuition, wisdom, and patience.

    Even thinking about the power in those words gets me excited!

  31. paperplane

    I truly enjoyed reading this post.

    “The universe has a plan.”

  32. Oh, now I need a mantra! Must get me one. I’ve skied moguls too and at the end of the day my knees! A day of moguls is something you have to be so fit to do. Great read!

  33. Susie, 20 years ago I would have probably done the swing thing if for no other reason than to annoy people who say “you can’t”. I have a few mantras I have developed over the years:

    If you can’t be good, be good at it.
    Smile, people will wonder what you’ve been up to.
    Stress is relative, if you don’t want the stress get rid of the relatives.
    I have NO stress in my life. (The ridiculousness of this statement usually makes me laugh).
    My personal favorite:
    Cause a little trouble. Have a lot of fun. Laugh until it hurts.

  34. I love this. I think my mantra is something like: “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Left, right.” You know, like that doofus Dorie from NEMO?

    I’m pretty tenacious.

    My book is totally going to get published because I am a swimmer. .Even when I’m sleeping, fish still swim. ;-)

  35. Great post Susie! Man, I don’t have a montra. Guess I better get one. That video was AMAZING! Made me want to run out there and try it.

  36. What a beautiful journey of mantras Susie..we all need it and do change it age we progress in life….
    I loved that Damn you are sexy bitch one….to good :)
    we are so cool it should also be oh why bother look in mirror :lol:
    mine for some years now has been…every time I face a hurdle look at it and say,ok right back at ya ;)

    • I love, “Right back atcha!”
      I really regretted not taking a picture of that mantra in the mirror! I thought it was hilarious and something I should have engraved on mine. Hahaha!

  37. I need a good mantra….
    Awesome post, Susie!

  38. I suppose one of mine might be. “Be grateful.” Great post!

  39. Great post Susie! I don’t have a mantra right now, but I need to get one soon! :-)

  40. LOL! Loved your post. I have some mantras too, let’s see:

    -My prince charming is coming, he only has to find me.
    -I’m a writer &%$#@!
    -Monday is just a word.
    -I’m awesomeness in human form, it’s a shame people don’t notice.

    Well, I do try!

    Maybe that one should be a mantra too. :-)

  41. I pretty much feel that the time to do things is now, prioritize and do!
    The thing is I actually feel this, not just say it to myself, but know their is an end. This feeling is liberating and free.

  42. Great post, Susie. Love the mantras. I use “one step at a time”. It reminds that everything is doable, if I take it in small chunks. Love the tire swing. OMG!!! awesome

    • “One step at a time,” would be a good one for me literally since I tend to run headlong into things sometimes without thinking. It’s a great reminder to keep from being overwhelmed.
      Thanks Louise!

  43. D. Ogyen

    Love this post!!

    My daily mantra’s

    “where there’s a will there’s a way – and I got lotsa will.”

    “be the change you want to see in the world”

    “remember to be extra kind to all, they’re all fighting a battle as big as a mountain.”

    “always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them more”

  44. Coleen Patrick

    I love this post Susie–and your mantra I will happily borrow. :)
    Not Dean’s though–the massive thing would be hard to swallow, unlike croissants (yum).

    • Thanks so much Coleen!
      Dean used to crack me up! The funny thing is, I said, “I am so massive,” so many times myself, I actually began to believe it too!
      I still have a bag of those croissants in the freezer….. : )

  45. I love love love Madison, my second favourite city to San Francisco. If only A Room of One’s Own was nearby, instead of 900 miles away, sigh.

    Mantras… after the path I’ve walked, so many, including the five Reiki ones I live by (Just for today, I’ll not be angry, I will not worry, I will be grateful, I will do my work honestly, I will be kind to all living things.) There are more, as there would be for someone who crossed gender lines, writes fiction, opines on women’s and lgbtq issues, but I’ll shuddup!

    • I used to work right around the corner from Room of One’s Own at “The Peacock!” You may have been one of my customers!
      Love those self-affirmations Nellie. It is great that you have so many!
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  46. What a fantastic post. I think mantras can be incredible powerful and life changing. Love some of yours. Hubby and I are the King and Queen of mantras. Some of our faves:
    Live large and hard!
    Shock and awe baby!
    I rock!
    Let’s do it!
    Rock the house!
    Just about anything that boosts us up and sets us on our way to one of our many adventures. I like the idea however of incorporating something to power me up for my writing like…
    Write hard!
    Write on!
    Rock the writing!
    Thanks for the fabulous reminder. And that video was SICK! Loved it!!!

  47. Great post, Susie! It’s amazing how much thinking or reciting phrases can affect us. Negative ones, though often “unofficial,” can do the same in blech-awful-yucky ways. ;) I think mine might be something along the lines of “Dream it, do it.”

    • “Dream it, do it!” I like it!!
      I think positive mantras help to shore ourselves up from the inside out. They give us the self confidence that we need to get through the tough times and also can bring a smile when we accomplish something no matter how small. Its a way for us to be our own best friends!
      Thanks August!

  48. IMHO Susie, you are very good at what you do. For my mantra, I’ll go with your old, “I can do this!” :-)

  49. EllieAnn

    great article! I love your mantras. :)
    My mantra is either “it’s a stage,” or “life is short,”
    I usually have to say “it’s a stage,” when one of the toddlers is throwing a fit, or getting into my tupperware for the hundredth time, or licking windows, LoL. I have to remember that it won’t last forever, that I’ll teach them the right way and know that the stage will pass. At least, I hope I won’t have a 14 yr old window licker on my hands.
    Another mantra is “life is short,” I like to remember that when I have baby Darius in my lap, or I’m reading to the kids, or we’re having a special family moment. It helps me just soak it all in and enjoy it, knowing that this won’t last forever. Especially the baby part. They grow up so fast.

    • I remember, “it’s a stage.” Time seems to accelerate as they get older so it is great that you are trying to hold onto those moments. When my kids were home at Christmas I pulled their adult bodies onto my lap and it was amazing how they remembered!
      There were a couple more mantras I could have included like a version slightly different than yours, “Life is short and then you die,” and another from college that my friend Mac used to say while floating on a 99 cent blow up air mattress and drinking a can of beer, “I wonder what all the poor people are doing today?” Hahaha! The irony of that one was we were all dirt poor, but lucky enough to go to college back in the day when it was cheap…..

  50. I think it’s wonderful how you committed yourself to skiing like that. It’s not as easy as it looks. Your mantra is great and that rope swing is crazy. I don’t know what my mantra is, maybe ‘don’t chase the pigeons’ LOL.

    • “Don’t chase the pigeons!” Now that’s original..Hahaha! I think I have been caught chasing them a time or two…
      I would love to do that rope swing even though it is totally crazy. I think everyone who did it was a professional so I probably can’t put that on my bucket list…dang!

  51. I think we all have one whether we realize it or not. Some are positive. Some are not. I think a pretty good one to adopt would be this one:

  52. This is great. I was going to say mine was ‘every day it gets better and better’ because that cliched phrase has helped me in the past but now I think my mantra could be ‘Today is better’. That way I’m not always waiting for tomorrow if you get me. Thanks for inspiring me – love your blog!

  53. You have much for which to be thankful-I must recite this to myself more often

  54. I love this, Susie! I think I’ll borrow your mantra and try it on for a while. For years, I’ve used: “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” This works best while singing the Tubthumping song. :-) And Churchill’s “Never, never, never, give up!” Both have helped me through some rough patches.

    • Borrow away! It sure works for me and I say it out loud A LOT! I liked
      “I get knocked down, but I get up again,” but since I never knew the second line I would say “abba dabble deedle dum bahdah do.”

      Thanks Diane!

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