Monday Monthly Mission #15

November 1st, 2010 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift or habit or inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.


“Self improvement is masturbation.”
-Tyler Durden

I have this theory that the film Fight Club will provide an appropriately profound quote for every situation. It hasn’t let me down yet.

Last month’s MMM was about managing our stress, but a lot of us seemed to get sidetracked and the mission fell by the wayside. That’s okay! This month’s task offers perfect continuity, and we can move forward. Because part of managing stress is about managing perception; making your own reality as you see fit. And this month, that’s exactly what we’re going to work on.

A few years back I went through a quarter-life crisis. I’ve referenced this event before, because it was the catalyst that spurned a lot of my growth, and eventually led me to Bonzai Aphrodite. There were epiphanies that came from that dark horrible place, realizations that re-lit my internal fire (and the accompanying Fight Club quotes, of course!). But once that fire was lit it was all on me to stoke it, through hard work. Growth is hard work.

As I rebuilt myself, one of the greatest habits I developed was the use of a daily mantra. Yes, that totally New Age crystal-twinkie crap. Like, standing in front of the mirror and making positive affirmations, out loud.

No, I’m not crazy. No, I’m not a total hippie. Yes, it works. It really, really works. And the more you work it, the more it works. Back then my mantra was, “I’m not perfect, but I’m really, really awesome.” That’s all. I repeated it at least once a day, but often over and over as I went about my business. I did it mindfully – both felt (the ‘give’) and heard (the ‘take’) myself say it. Until one day I actually believed it. Holy crap, I believed it! I wasn’t perfect, and that was okay! And what do you know, I really was pretty damn awesome! I really believed it!

How amazing, that such a minuscule act could add up to such a momentous internal shift. Which begs the question . . . is Tyler Durden right?

Sure, maybe. But you know what? Masturbation is fun! It feels great, and it relieves stress, and, well, there’s nothing wrong with a little pursuit of pleasure.

So have at it. Love on yourself a little, metaphorically speaking. Come up with a mantra, and make it part of your day.

Mine is going to be:
“Everything always works out, and it just keeps getting better and better.”

What about you?

Still not totally convinced? Watch this video. We could all learn a thing or two about practicing positivity, from this badass little girl! She’s not afraid to love her life and we shouldn’t be either!

  • Heather (Perspective Is Everything)

    Great MMM :)
    There are so many that I love and reiterate, but 2 that stand out to me and are so influential in my day to day decision making
    1:Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less-C.S.Lewis
    2-Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.-Jim Rohn

    I love all quotes and reminders about humility, because I think pride and arrogance are every humans #1 downfall. i.e. the “it’s all about me” attitude. I think if we all learned to be more humble, the world would be a MUCH better place :)

  • Farmingtheburbs

    I can do this, that is, find a new mantra.

  • Catt

    This is such a good idea!

    I think my downfall comes in being too selfless, and then breaking down when I realise I’ve left nothing for myself – so I think my mantra should be fitting with that.

    “I am not worthless. I deserve to feel as good as I strive to make others feel.”

  • Ria

    I love Fight Club! I totally agree that there are so many excellent liveable quotes from that book/movie.

    The two mantras I live by are:
    “Live life to the FUUUUULLEST!” (must be spoken just as it’s presented here for the best affect)
    “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” -Ms Frizzle, Magic School Bus

    but for this month in particular, I will tell myself this mantra:
    “You are Worthy, you are valuable, you have a purpose in life.” I’m having a relapse into the feelings of myself that I had in my past and I need to tell myself this mantra every day right now, to remind myself that my life matters.

  • Melisa

    This, of course, couldn’t come at a better time. I’m struggling with feeling lost and stressed and always SO HARD ON MYSELF. Grrr. So, I will be stealing your mantra, and alternating it with Ok Go’s “Let it go. This too shall pass.”
    I completely agree with Heather on humility and with Catt on sometimes having nothing left for myself. Great, great mission.

  • MathTutor

    @ Melisa

    I am super hard on myself too! I’m going to go with the “this too shall pass” mantra as well.

    And I also really like the “self improvement is masturbation quote”. It’s a great mantra, plus, self improvement AND masturbation are 2 of my favorite things! =P

  • Minna

    “I love my hair!” XD Hahahaha!

  • ellie

    i was a wee bit disappointed when i realized you werent telling people to actually masturbate for the monthly mission but oh well ;)

    my mantra is a lyric from a french song that i really want to get tattooed on me once i have the money. it is “non je ne regrette rien” which translates to “no i regret nothing”. i realized that you i can wish i had done things differently but then i would not be the same person i am today, and why would i want to change that? because im pretty freaking awesome if i do say so myself :)

  • erosan

    I gotta say it makes me sad to hear people demonize “pride” and “arrogance”. Those two feelings will bullet-proof you and allow you to try different thing and become “more” by taking out the fear of change and improvement. So what if society says we should be humble?

    As with anything, too much of one thing is bad, but a little arrogance is good… taking pride in who and what you are and what you want to become is great. And if you ask me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with bragging a little here and there about your accomplishments (after all, you did work hard to do all those things, right?).

    My unnoficial “mantra” for a while now has been “I AM superior to others.”

    No, I do not discriminate people, and never indulge in biggotry, but I like to remember that we are all different and we excel in different things. By recognizing that I am better than others, I remind myself that there are others better than me and I WILL catch up to them and hopefully get past them, and at the same time, I don’t lose sight of all which I’ve achieved and all the hard work I’ve done, all the decisions I’ve taken and all the road I’ve walked to be who I am.

    This also applies to you’all… you are all “superior to others”. The simple act of consciously wanting to improve, puts you miles away from the average guy. Know who you are and take pride in that. Embrace that which makes you different.

    Never forget there is always room for improvement, and walk towards your goals without stuttering. You WILL achieve that which you are in pursuit of. If that is arrogance, so be it then. Pride and a bit of arrogance will take you far.

    I know some people (more like most people) will not agree with my point of view, but that is ok too. I’m not too worried about that, I just wanted to share. ^_^

  • RK

    My favorite mantra it a bit long but it comes from one of my favorite artists India Arie. I say it to myself when the pants I put on are a little too tight or when I’ve been doing the mommy thing all day and am exhausted. I say/sing to myself: I’m not the averaged girl in the video. My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes. I’ve learned to love myself unconditionally because I am a queen.

    My other favorite is when I need a really good pep talk. I say: I am beneath no one, I am immune to criticism, I am fearless.

  • Heather (Perspective Is Everything)

    @Erosan. That is a very unique perspective on pride vs. humility. I’ve never really known anyone to express their feelings about it that way before.
    As far as pride/being proud of something, I guess I should have clarified. What I meant was “pridefulness” is -as in having an overly-important haughty opinion of oneself and ones talents/abilities.
    There’s a slight difference between being proud and being prideful.
    I have a hard time with pridefulness, because of my perspective of “pride going before a destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” I also believe “Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor.”
    One last one :)
    “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
    I would rather be honored by God than men, and the way to achieve that is true humbleness of heart.

    I know that’s alot of Biblical scripture, but I’m just giving you a reference to why I believe what I believe. :)

  • Sayward

    Such an interesting conversation going on here!

    I definitely think that humility is important, as long as you also have self-confidence. Too many people, women especially, confuse being humble with being to selfless or even self deprecating, which I think is what Catt was getting at. You can love yourself and meet all your own needs and still be humble! But that idea is foreign to many, and definitely confused by our culture.

    For me, there is a clear distinction between pride and arrogance. Pride is healthy – I can be proud and still be humble. I do not think arrogance is healthy as it operates in a framework of competition, and I prefer to think in a context of cooperation. But at this point I think it’s just semantics, as I agree with the essence of erosan’s point – maybe just not the exact words he used.

    @ Ria – You ARE worthy, you ARE valuable, and you DO have purpose. That’s the damn truth! I’m gonna check back at the end of the month, and you better be believing it by then! =D

    @ Melissa & MathTutor- I’m so hard on myself too. So, so hard on myself.Realizing I didn’t have to be perfect (I mean *really* realizing that) was huge, so liberating. I still struggle with it but it’s getting better. Luck, ladies!

    @ Minna – Yay! haha

    @ ellie – Girl, you can make that mini mission #2! ;-D

    @ RK – “I am immune to criticism” – I like that.

  • Becks

    It’s the beginning of exam period/essay writing/crunch time at school. My MMM Mantra is going to be an ode to my favourite Karate Kid.

    “Sun is warm. Grass is green.”

  • saundra

    am i going out on a limb here to say that you know Flylady?? i dunno for sure but that’s one of the vids on her fb page lol. i would totally love it if you were :)

    my mantra this month i think will be
    You are confident, and you are worth it

  • Sarah

    First, a link to define pride (everyone’s right!):
    It seemed like a disagreement between definition #1 and #5 up there.

    Definition #4 is perhaps the least confusing… unless we start talking etymology.

    At the “This too shall pass” folks up there, a friend of mine has that tattooed on her wrist :)

    For me, I’m going with “I am fearless” for now. I may switch to “I love you” at some point too. I hear it from others enough (because I am blessed), but I’ve been thinking I need to hear it from myself too lately.

    <3 Good timing with this one. Thanks, Sayward.

  • sj

    I’ve always thought mantras were cheesy, but I could use some good self affirmations about now in my life so look at me, I’m growing and not dismissing something I used to think was ‘weird’ lol.

    I’m having a hard time with family issues so for that I will go with
    “I am moving forward and creating my own healthy family.”
    Simple, but works.
    As far as a more generic, applies to my whole life mantra, I may have to rip off some famous ones here and come up with something like
    “I am unconquerable. I am not afraid of anything or anyone. I am the master of my fate, I am the captin of my soul.”


    I love this! I’m gonna be SUPER cheesy and write it on my bathroom mirror.

    a little of topic but… I’m a recently freed by calling myself an agnostic, from a very conservative religious background and sometimes I miss the verses that were used for encouragement/bettering one’s self purposes, and I love that you can not believe in a god AND still have something like this. haha, my journey is slow and sometimes I’m a little retarded in thinking one group of people get to ‘claim the rights’ to different ideas… so it’s nice to realize “oh! i can no longer say i’m a christian AND still have encouraging mantras! saweeeet!” :-)

  • erosan

    @Sarah, thanks for the definitions. I think all of them are kick ass. Especially the group of lions one. ^_^

  • Sayward

    @ Becks – Beautiful. =)

    @ saundra – I don’t know Flylady! What is that?

    @ Sarah – “I am fearless” is *really* good. I think I’m going to steal that one!

    @ sj – I’m totally with you on the cheese factor, it’s what kept me away from this sort of stuff for so long. But man, it works! So cheesiness be damned. I like your attitude of embracing it – over the top cheesiness like writing on the bathroom mirror (which I’ve totally done). Love it!

    Also, regarding the a/theism and claiming your own rituals, what game-changing realization! Talk about empowering. =)

  • saundra

    Flylady is this awesome lady who lives in carolina and she helps people get out of C.H.A.O.S. (can’t have anyone over syndrome) and she also helps people to learn that it’s ok to not be perfect and to love ourselves. her website is one of the things she says is you can do anything for 15 minutes. and she helps you to FLY (finally love yourself) and actually that little girl you posted the vid of is one of the “flybabies” daughters..

  • Lenn

    If you like the movie Fight Club, try the book, it’s even better. =)

    Oh, and did I mention there is a nude beach scene? Oh god of all the things to cut out for film… /cry

  • Sayward

    @ saundra – Flylady sounds awesome! And I’m in love with her daughter – I’ll have to look her up!

    @ Lenn – Actually, this was one of the times when I thought the movie was superior! It’s a rare occurrence but I really felt that way here. Granted, I am not a huge fan of Palahniuk’s style and much prefer his ideas to his actual writing. So that’s my own bias. =)