How does someone focus their energy on what they want in life, as opposed to all the barriers one might face? What actions truly help align one's mindset with the outcomes they are working towards?
Some cultures have practiced mantras — a sound, word or expression believed to have a spiritual power — from time immemorial. Now, mantras are known to be something one repeats to reaffirm a strong belief that will help guide that person.
Mantras and affirmations
Although used interchangeably today, mantras and affirmations are actually two different things.
In yoga, mantras have been extensively used during meditation to help focus the mind. The sound and repetition of a mantra helps to settle the mind and keep it from wandering, so you can reflect and focus. Mantras can assist you in eradicating troubling, persistent thoughts and in maintaining calm by lowering stress and anxiety.
There's nothing magical about chanting mantras, and it is not a panacea for all issues. But if you put your heart and mind into every mantra you utter, it could really help you. It will fill your heart with joy and tranquillity, and you'll notice good things eventually happening in your life.
Generally speaking, mantras cause your body to vibrate at a frequency that harmonizes it. According to research, this can enhance your immune system, reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your concentration, and help you sleep better.
According to the self-affirmation theory, your self-identity is malleable, and you may alter how you see yourself as a person. You can decide to believe that you are powerful, intelligent, and capable of doing anything you set your mind to. Affirmations that are consistent with your personal ideals could be very effective in this situation.
More and more studies demonstrate how affirmations affect your brain's physical structure.
When you use positive affirmations, you're teaching your brain new ideas and creating new neural connections. This is what enables you to shift your perspective from one of doubt to confidence. Scientists have studied the changes that take place in the brain when we decide to adopt a more optimistic outlook, creating and strengthening those neural networks.
When you reflect on your own values, the area of your prefrontal brain that is involved in processing information linked to yourself and valuing yourself is activated. Regularly saying your affirmations throughout the day keeps this region of your brain active and reinforces your positive self-identity.
Despite the differences between mantras and affirmations, people today refer to them interchangeably or lump them together because they both evoke a positive focus.
Both mantras and affirmations can be useful if you want to restore or achieve serenity in your life and wish to focus on achieving specific goals.
Self-knowledge and affirmations
Since you’re here, it goes without saying that you’re aware of who and what you are and what you could still be. You may feel restricted by society and all the stereotypes associated with being a Black man.
Positive self-talk or affirmations can help you get rid of unfavourable thoughts and feelings when you repeat them to yourself with conviction and a sincere desire to move toward your goals.
Tough days come and go, but affirmations can help you see things differently and more positively at the start of the day (or anytime you need a personal pick-me-up).
When you recite your affirmations and ground them with personal work, you know you’re headed somewhere good — closer to the kind of life you desire and deserve.
Why are Black men’s affirmations important?
When you develop self-knowledge and see society for what it is and how it can control your behaviour and limit your opportunities, you also realize you are part of a bigger community comprising other people who are experiencing something similar and want change.
As a Black man who continues to experience daily traumas brought on by racism, sexism and harmful stereotypes that threaten your life, liberty and property, you realize there is a need for not only community support but also self-care and cultivating positivity for and within yourself.
So, to all Black men who struggle with imposter syndrome and feelings of inferiority, worthlessness and incompetence, stop right now!
Black men mantras for every day
Words and thoughts have power, and you can use them both to your advantage.
And while affirmations are not some magical pill, you swallow that’ll make all obstacles to your life goals miraculously disappear, they can make a difference to the quality of your every day, your thinking, your self-talk, and as a result your actions.
When you start each morning speaking your truth and these affirmations, you are setting yourself up for something good. Once affirmations become a daily habit and you continue to tirelessly work toward achieving your goals, you’ll come to realize that you’re more than what society adjudges you to be, and that success is within your reach.
So resolve to start your day differently today and recite these mantras:
I’m mentally and physically strong enough to overcome what life throws at me.
I’m more than a label and don’t live by anyone else’s expectations or stereotypes.
I’m resilient and persevere despite the systematic and systemic barriers that exist.
I’m an educated and intelligent person whose opinion and experience matter.
I’m loyal and devoted to my family and community.
I’m a professional in all that I do, no matter how I look to you.
I’m confident and assertive, not passive and arrogant.
I’m a friendly and compassionate member of my multicultural community.
I’m the protector of my family, and I create a safe and supportive environment.
I’m romantic, supportive and emotionally available to my partner.
I’m mindful of my words, thoughtful with my actions and humble in my approach.
I’m hungry for learning (lifelong learner) and innovative toward our collective future.
I’m a creative being who can express myself through various artistic forms.
I’m driven by passion and determined to live a life without limitations.
I’m dependable, responsible and lead by example.
I live by my word and value my integrity.
Of course, not everyone’s situation is the same, so it’s best to tailor your affirmations to the challenges you currently face and objectives you wish to pursue.
Choose the ones that resonate most with you, and work for your current circumstances.
Be who you are
It’s true that it’s not easy being a Black man in a society that sees you through the lenses of stereotypes.
However, it’s also true that you are limited by what you believe about yourself.
Rather than giving negative thoughts a verbal platform in your life, focus on making every day positive by finding more to enjoy about life, more to work towards, and more growth to attain. Give yourself credit. Remember your mantras. Recite your affirmations.
You can also gain more insights into the experiences and wisdom of several Black men by downloading our special report — Tough Conversations with Black Men.
If you’re a part of an employee group or wish to work on a special initiative for Black men in your organization, schedule a call with Tough Convos to explore our custom learning experiences.