About two years ago, on a lazy day spent falling down the dark rabbit hole that is the Internet, I came across a quote (or, maybe, it came to me) that changed a part of my life. I’m unsure of who exactly came up with the quote, or whom the specific post came from, so be sure to note that I am not, in any way, taking credit for this beautiful mantra!
“Eliminate your guilt and regret; it will allow you to find your center and be your true self.”
This message struck something inside me—something that hadn’t been brought to light before. I believe it may have been the understanding of the simple idea behind this elegantly-worded quote: As long as you hold on to negative thoughts, whatever they are, you will not be able to love yourself fully.
Although I had told myself that same thing in the past, it was so clearly reiterated and stated in the quote that it changed the way I saw how my negative thoughts affected my mental state from day-to-day. I realized that every time I reminded myself of something embarrassing that had occurred that week, an endeavor I had failed at or a mistake I had made, it tore down my confidence by twisting the way I saw myself. I’ve never been a very confident person, and I definitely had a tendency to revisit memories that gave me feelings of guilt and regret.
I decided that I wanted to banish my feelings of shame so I could see myself the way those that loved me did, so I began living by the quote. I didn’t suddenly change and love myself more, though. It definitely took some time.
I started my journey with a blank sheet of paper and markers. I copied down the message that shined like a beacon of change on my laptop’s screen; I wrote the words down and drew a flower, similar to the flower in original the image. I took my time to made sure that the poster was aesthetically pleasing because it was something I’d aim to look at every day.
Along with the poster, I made a new rule to try and repeat the quote in my head once a day, or possibly multiple times if negative, self-shaming thoughts found their way into my mind. I hung the poster next to my bedroom mirror at eye level so that every time I saw myself in the mirror, I saw the message, too.
It took a few months of repetition and forcing myself to be reminded of my rule, but eventually, it was something I automatically told myself in order to eject my regrets and my feelings of guilt. I even introduced the mantra to my younger sister during a time when she was experiencing self-hatred and shame.
I truly do believe that this quote helped me, and I am thankful that I chose to incorporate it in my life. I no longer beat myself up over things that are ultimately meaningless, and it’s easier for me to see myself in positive light.
There are already certain things that each individual tells himself or herself every day, and if you’re a person who is plagued by similar feelings of guilt, regret, shame or a negative self-image, you should make this quote a part of your routine. There are multiple ways of interpreting the quote and many basic ideas behind it, so why not find one that speaks to you? Maybe, like me, you feel that you don’t love yourself fully or that you beat yourself up over pointless things; maybe you feel that you don’t know who you truly are; maybe you feel weighed down by how much guilt you feel. Regardless of the situation, adding a positive, uplifting mantra like this one to your life can make a difference that you will not only see, but feel, too.
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Photo: Eli DeFaria via Unsplash