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12 Succinct Self-Compassion Mantras

Let’s learn 12 short-and-sweet self-compassion mantras. In doing self-compassion work, I’ve found a lot of convoluted mantras that seem to confuse more than help. With these mantras, you get right to the point because they’re short, easy-to-remember and powerful.

We all need some self-compassion. For one thing, you can use these mantras to help you overcome your usual self-talk, which is decidedly un-compassionate. Would you speak to a friend or colleague as you speak to yourself? Do you notice that this habit is disempowering and debilitating?

In general, do you notice you lack self-esteem, wallow in your misery, or are often hard on yourself?

If so, read on to discover these 12 self-compassion mantras, and begin practicing them today. Let’s start by talking briefly about how to use them.

How to Use These Self-Compassion Mantras

It’s crucial you know how to use these mantras to get the most out of them. I practice and teach mindfulness meditation, so I use it to inform how we work with these self-compassion mantras.

Pick a few mantras that resonate with you, then run this process:

  • Choose a meditation position and follow my three steps for perfect posture,
  • Set a timer for 20-30 minutes. When you feel settled, begin to repeat the affirmation every 5-10 seconds,
  • Pay attention the effects it has on your mind and body moment-to-moment. Though this work doesn’t mean we force ourselves to feel a certain way, you’re likely to notice effects that mirror the content of the phrase,
  • If the reactions are pleasant, feel them deeply and use them to gain momentum. If unpleasant, open up the body and drop your resistance,
  • If your attention wanders, anchor it again in your affirmation and your body and mind,
  • Continue repeating the affirmation every 5-10 seconds. You might like to switch phrases after 5-10 minutes of working with one.

This is Training

See these self-compassion mantras as a form of training. It takes time. Don’t get forceful with this, as though beating yourself into having self-compassion. That isn’t self-compassionate at all!

Repeat them to yourself and work through your distractions, and you’ll slowly re-train your mind to default to them. During the training itself, the mantras can bring up all kinds of reactions. The goal isn’t to feel a certain way, but to do the training, part of which is knowing how to work with the unpleasant reactions.

You can also use these during the day when you realise you need some more self-compassion. This can be on the go, or while seated for just a couple of minutes.

Now you have a process, let’s look at those 12 self-compassion mantras, starting with my favourites.

My 5 Favourites

“I am innately whole and complete.
“May I be tranquil and joyful.
“I send warmth and compassion to myself.” 
I am forgiven.”
I honour myself.

I like to remember that these self-compassion mantras are unconditional. It’s not about weighing up whether we really are whole, or tranquil, or forgiven: these are a given, and when you work with these mantras, you may notice you can tune into this innate qualities, no matter what’s happening in your life.

4 Powerful Self-Compassion Mantras

“I allow myself to feel everything.”
“In every way, I am already enough.”
“I treat myself with kindness, compassion, and patience.”
“I let go of what no longer serves me.”

Again, attempt to connect with the truth of these statements as you’re repeating them, while also working optimally with any unpleasant reactions that come up.

3 Buddhist-Style Mantras: Metta Bhavana or Lovingkindness

Let’s end with three Buddhist-style self-compassion mantras from the Metta Bhavana practice, which dates back to the early days of Buddhism 2,500 years ago. It’s one of Buddhism’s core practices and philosophical foundations.

Metta means love (in a non-romantic sense), friendliness, or kindness, hence lovingkindness for short. Bhavana means development or cultivation. Thus, this Buddhist practice is the development of love and friendliness, and there is plenty of solid science behind its effectiveness.

“May I be well, may I be happy.”
“May I be free from suffering.”
“May I be at ease.”

Notice we use “may” in each of these phrases. This can take away the obligation of feeling self-compassion when you don’t, which isn’t self-compassionate at all. The “may” poses these as wishes, rather than directives you must meet or else you’re an inferior being.

If you’re able to hear the deeper truth of these statements, you will, yet there’s no obligation. Just send yourself the wish, over and over again.

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