6 Mantras That Have Gotten Me Through Life's Big Changes
A life coach and author shares the words that help her navigate difficult and uncertain times.
"Anyone who's anyone"
When I got divorced at age 23, it was terrifying. I was a 20-something with an ex-husband. I felt like damaged, used goods. I was embarrassed for my poor judgment and failure at marriage. And don't get me started about my fear of telling potential new dates that I was a divorcée. It felt totally weird and unsexy.
The only way I could mentally turn it around was to remind myself how utterly not alone I was. I chose to focus on how I was one of a million women in the same situation and certainly not the first with a broken heart. Feeling that connection soothed me. It reminded me of my most loving and compassionate self and the person whom I wanted to show up as more often. Because connection is the most comforting feeling when you're newly single, scared and all you want to do is shut down.
After all, divorce happens to the best of us, even with our most loving intentions. So I started saying to myself and anyone who asked, "Anyone who's anyone is divorced. J.Lo. Halle Berry. Kate Winslet!" I said it with a laugh and tongue-in-cheek tone, but it really helped me. Because these strong women were not to be pitied or sympathized with. And neither was I.
"Love is stronger"
My dad died of addiction when I was 19. Even in that limited time, he taught me so much and encouraged me more than anyone else. I still miss him terribly. But in my pangs of wishing he were still alive, I remind myself of this truth: Love is stronger than death. Because the truth is I still have a dad. He lives within my sister and me and shows up in unexpected, even hilarious ways—like when my husband and I rent a car and out of nowhere I know how to parallel park, something my dad taught me many years earlier. And when I know how to make the best gravy, as if from some ancient place of remembering, because he taught me that too. I feel his presence and even his pride. My dad was a writer who relished watching me write in my teenage years, so when I held the first book I'd authored in my hands, I felt him say, "Told you so, kiddo!"
"It's all home"
I once heard that moving to a new country is one of the most frightening things a person can undergo. And as someone who's moved around a lot growing up—the U.K., Canada, France, Australia, the USA—even as an adult in the face of a one-way ticket and a well-packed suitcase, big nerves bubble up! Especially when you start contemplating all there is to do (new bank, apartment, tax forms, credit, job search) before you even get to the fun stuff (finding some friends, a local yoga studio, the best supermarket). And hey—what if you just don't fit in?
The best calming mantra that I've found and repeat to people going through similar changes? "It's all home." We're all in this together. This planet, this life experience, this experiment where we're given 80 years or so if we're lucky. Who cares the name of the city or country you reside in for a while? In most cases, too, you can always move on. Home is a state of mind, and the sooner you adopt it, the sooner you experience it.
"Okay then" is not a fancy mantra. And it doesn't have to be. I created this mantra for myself to not dwell on a friend who had let me down. It started when I became single and naturally spent more time around other single people. I was trying to adjust to my new life; she became cold and critical, seeing my going out more as me trying to be an "it girl." After a mutual friend told me what she was saying about me behind my back, I confronted her. The pain of her betrayal hurt me, and she wasn't sorry. I knew I wouldn't be able to change her or her behavior, and that was it for our friendship. My final words to her? "Okay then."
Because I've learned that when you resist the moment—the situation, the argument, the impossible thing that's happening right now—it only maximizes it. When you let go, surrender and allow it to just be as it is, you become the most powerful version of yourself.
I've also applied this mantra to vocal online haters and to any negative medical report a loved one of mine receives. Okay then. What's next?
"No one knows what they're doing either"
When I left my $500K job to take my side hustle as a coach full time, I was scared as hell. The first two years of business I was learning a lot, making mistakes and, in my worst moments, second-guessing myself. I saw other people in my space posting their highlight reels online with hashtags like "#crushit" and "#winning" and all the nonsense that just makes you feel bad when you're in a learning phase.
Funnily enough, this mantra is my favorite one. Because it doesn't just apply to business; it applies to everything. I first heard Ricky Gervais say it a few years ago. It resonated so deeply back then and continues to as I coach CEOs, employees of NASA and high-performing people at all stages. None of us knows what he or she is doing. The most important thing is that we just keep doing. We figure it out. Because we're all humans, doing the best we can, wherever we are.
Which leads to my final mantra, the ultimate truth:
"You are going to be okay"