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Positivity Tattoos: Images and Symbols for Positivity

Positivity tattoos are a new trend in the mental wellness sphere, but can they make you happier? Find out at HealthyPlace.

There is a therapeutic art to positivity tattoos, particularly if you have a mental illness. While not everyone has a tattoo, many people see inked symbols and images as an opportunity to showcase their personality and creativity. Even the smallest positivity tattoos can have important meanings, especially if they represent obstacles you’ve overcome. Let’s explore why tattoos can have such a positive effect on the mind, along with which positivity images and symbols are the most effective.

Why Are Positivity Tattoos So Popular?  

Humans have been marking themselves with tattoos since the dawn of civilization. Tattooing has been a ritual to mark one’s place in a community, a decorative celebration to enhance one’s skin, and a way of standing out in prisons and criminal underworlds. In any case, it has always been a natural impulse to mark our bodies with significant symbols. For many, tattoos are a way of making sense of their inner worlds.

As one tattoo artist summarizes:

“There is something in our DNA that drives us to mark our body in a way that’s different from those around us.”

While 50 years ago, tattoos were rare in the Western world, now, at least one in three Americans has one. Many of these tattoos stem from indigenous communities or to symbolize spiritual powers. Others are inspired by nature and the environment. One thing’s for sure: tattoos are popular because they make people happy.

Positivity Symbols for Tattoos

If you’re thinking of getting a positivity tattoo (whether it’s your first or your thirtieth), it’s important to know what the images and symbols mean. While each tattoo is personal to the wearer, your chosen positivity image is bound to have roots in ancient culture, particularly if it is a well-known pattern or symbol. Here are some of the most popular tattoos for positivity, along with the traditions they stem from.

  • Hearts and banners: These tattoos have become a fashion staple, but they actually stem from sailors to mark their achievements at sea. These days, hearts often demonstrate personal relationships and usually have names at their centers.
     
  • Swallow: Sailors were often inked with swallows to symbolize their travel miles: each time they hit a new milestone, they received a new swallow. Nowadays, swallows and other birds symbolize freedom and an affinity to nature.
     
  • Lotus: The lotus has been a powerful, positive symbol for centuries. In Buddhist, Hindu and Egyptian religions, it is considered a sacred flower representing divine birth, creation and spiritual development. The lotus itself rises from unclean water and blossoms as a pure and beautiful flower, so it is a great symbol of persistence and growth.
     
  • Semicolon: The semicolon is often displayed to represent life after a suicide attempt; that one’s story isn’t over yet. This symbol can be a powerful positive reminder to anyone living with a mental illness of the struggles they have overcome.
     
  • Lyrics and quotes: It’s become custom to have inspiring lyrics and quotes tattooed on different parts of the body. These quotes may remind you of your favorite song, send a positive message, or help you make sense of a painful situation.

    For example:

    “Take these broken wings and learn to fly,” From Blackbird by The Beatles is a metaphor for surviving adversity (becoming “broken”) and learning to thrive regardless.

    If you have a personal mantra for positivity, you may decide to get this tattooed on your body. A simple phrase like, “Think positive” or “Never give up” can be encouraging to look at during a difficult time.
     
  • Dates: Many people choose to tattoo themselves with memorable dates to mark the birth of a child, an achievement such as getting out of the hospital or graduating from college, or the death of a loved one. Only do this if the date pertains to an event you want to remember. You should feel positive, proud and connected when you look at it.

Which Positivity Symbol Is Right for You?

Every symbol has a deeper meaning, but it’s what it means to you that counts. Spend some time researching positivity symbols and images before deciding which tattoo is right for you. You can practice sketching tattoo ideas in your positivity journal or create a scrapbook of ideas. Positivity tattoos can be a great source of comfort when you’re going through a tough time ("How to Focus on the Positive When Your Mental Health is a Mess"). They can also serve as positive reminders and help you connect with others who have similar interests and experiences.

Please note: It’s important not to get a tattoo on a whim. Although many tattoos can be removed, the process of removal can be time-consuming and expensive. If you’re prone to episodes of mania or impulsive behavior, it’s best to wait until your mood is stable before getting a tattoo.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2018, December 11). Positivity Tattoos: Images and Symbols for Positivity, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, May 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/positivity/positivity-tattoos-images-and-symbols-for-positivity

Last Updated: 2019, April 13

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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