What is an inspirational tattoo? Well that depends on who it is there to inspire. People often consider various items of artwork to be inspiring, and while one item of imagery might inspire you it may do nothing for your friend, tattoos are the same; after all they are a form of artwork.
Some of the most common inspirational tattoos are text based, but not all are; as explained before it depends on what inspires you. So – inspiration; the process of being mentally or emotionally stimulated towards something, whether this is a feeling or an action. Most commonly inspirational tattoo designs feature phrases that are intended to mentally encourage us to meet our goals and avoid our past mistakes.
Some of the most common inspirational tattoos are text based
I am a strong believer that you should have a reason for getting a tattoo, to prevent you from regretting it, and in general the inspirational tattoos are an excellent reason and very difficult for you to come to regret. While these are more commonly famous quotes and words of encouragement to the wearer, there are some more subtle interpretations.
Birds; there is definitely something to be said for birds. They are beautiful, graceful creatures that possess the ability to fly, and by basic nature we as humans envy that ability. As such birds have developed a whole range of connotations, varying based on species. As a whole they are taken to represent freedom, wither the desire for it or the process of striving towards it; freedom, travelling, adventure – there are a number of potential goals these might represent.
As a whole they are taken to represent freedom, wither the desire for it or the process of striving towards it; freedom, travelling, adventure – there are a number of potential goals these might represent.
There are of course some birds that appear more frequently, particularly within inspirational tattoo designs. The robin is a great one, a small and characteristically cheery little bird that is easily recognised, this represents a new beginning, and makes for a fantastic inspirational tattoo feature for those seeking a new start in something. Ravens are also a common option and have a number of spiritual connections, they can be a reminder of God’s love, or sometimes represent a teacher or guardian we believe will protect us. The phoenix is a popular option, sometimes with a quote relating to ‘rising from the ashes’, for which these mythical birds are known. The phoenix is a symbol of rebirth and represents the ability to rise from death and difficulties to start afresh. The blue bird is another popular choice and as the bird represents hard work it is not surprising that this is often used in tattoos that aim to encourage us to meet our goals in life.
Feathers, wings, butterflies and even angels are also used within inspirational tattoo designs, again following the envy we have as a species for creatures with the ability to fly, and the freedom and adventure that is interpreted from that.
Religious symbols, infinity signs and other such well known symbols are also frequently used within these designs, often accompanying a message of some sort.
The messages are the most frequent options for inspirational tattoo designs, and include everything from movie quotes, song lyrics, poetry and other such quotes. There are an endless number of these, many of which reflect some similar messages but present them in different ways.
‘Seize the Day’ or ‘Live for the Day’; effectively meaning that you should life each day to the fullest.
There are the ‘enjoy life’ messages – “Carpe Diem”, is a common one, and one I feel that I relate too very easily. Carpe Diem is a Latin phrase, translating as ‘Seize the Day’ or ‘Live for the Day’; effectively meaning that you should life each day to the fullest. Similarly there are some that simply state “you only live once”, which is easy enough to interpret as the tattoo is very clearly remaining you that you only have one life, and therefore should make the most of it. Some even opt for the slightly more obvious instructions “live your dreams no matter what”, which gives a very clear message about living each day the way you want to, no matter what might get in your way.
There are the ‘love yourself’ messages, which provide a particularly frequent and popular option for young people. Particularly those with a history of depression. The messages might be anything from “believe in yourself” to “remember who you are” (my favourite of which makes it clear that this is a lion king quote by including Rafiki’s drawing of Simba). One I have seen simply states “don’t forget to love yourself”, which is of course a beautiful reminder to care about the person you are.
“don’t forget to love yourself”
Throughout our lives we have things that carry meaning to us, images, phrases, words. Some that remind us of something we consider to be important, others that remind us to do something important.
Original Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/melinamanfrinatti/8391983271/sizes/l
About the author
Kate Critchlow is a freelance writer working in a number of areas, and has recently developed a particular passion for tattoos. Of course if you are considering your very own inspirational tattoo, there are some things you should consider before getting inked…