Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Getting Inked

I've always found tattoos to be a great way of expressing yourself, documenting things that are important to you, and a source of inspiration. I got my first tattoo over a year ago, and am ready for my next one.

The image I want for my next tattoo is the symbol for the mantra om mani padme hum. I've found many sources that speculate about the exact meaning, but there seems to be a consensus that it essentially comes down to compassion, including self-compassion.

Everyone who knows me fairly well knows that compassion for others and empathy drives everything I do. My work, my hobbies, how I treat my friends and strangers, all of it.

I do not, however, treat myself the same way. I have a lot of confidence when it comes to my abilities, but I do not show myself very much compassion or love at all. I don’t eat as well as I should, I don’t try hard enough to get good sleep, I don’t work out as regularly as I should, I beat myself up constantly over the stupidest things, I blame myself for everything wrong that happens around me. Basically, I’m a big ball of negativity when it comes to myself.

So, I wanted to get this tattoo as a regular reminder that there is strength in the compassion I give to others, and that doing more of that can only help. But I also need to remember to give at least that much compassion to myself.

For me, finalizing the placement is just as important as the design. I currently have a tattoo on my back, and I forget it’s there. Because of what this tattoo means to me, I want to get this one on my forearm (like Alanis’ breathe and gentle tattoos). I want it somewhere visible, so it can really serve as a daily reminder, and my forearm seems like the best place for that.

Do you have any tattoos? What are they of and where do you have them?

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