Tattooing has been around for centuries. Different cultures have used tattooing the skin as a means of personal experience. It is also part of rituals and practices around the world. The symbolic meaning of tattoos has evolved over time. People are getting more individualized psychology tattoos.
Up until the 1970s, in the modern Western world, tattoos represented a cultural taboo. We associated them with people outside of the mainstream culture. That included soldiers, gang members, criminals, and other people of the marginalized groups.
But in the past several years, things have changed. Tattoos have become part of the mainstream culture. Celebrities have many tattoos. There are even people with their entire bodies covered in ink.
In the past 20 years or so, people get tattoos to symbolize their individuality. They want to express something about their uniqueness. Sometimes, however, we get ink to join a movement or a cause. Let’s see some of the reasons people get tattoos and what are some of the psychological tattoos.
Why Do People Get Tattoos?
Let’s start with a little history lesson. Tattoo designs first emerged in the 1800s. At the time, they were considered a sign of being a criminal or deviant. But today, they are common. Some statistics show that 38% of adults in the Western world between 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo.
So, what makes people get a visible tattoo? According to some psychological research and studies, we have a couple of answers.
According to a study, the primary motivation is to show a personal meaning, mark a significant experience or struggle in life. For example, keeping your mother’s memory, or marking an important date in life. Other examples include honoring your child or showing what you went through during a certain period of your life.
Some people also believe that body art tattoos are an extension or expression of their personality. They say things like, “my body is a book and my tats are my story”.
Yet, the same study shows there are still people who refuse to get a tattoo. In most cases, this is because of religious and cultural stigma. Religious people consider their body image a temple of the Holy Spirit and they want to keep it clean.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some meaningful tattoos.
This mental health tattoo was born as part of the Semicolon Project. Started by Amy Bleuel in 2013, Amy wanted to encourage people living with mental illness and give them hope. The semicolon is basically saying, “your life doesn’t end here”.
According to the movement, the description, and definition of the tattoo reads, “A semicolon tattoo means your story could have ended but it didn’t. It stands for awareness of mental illness”.
Think of the semicolon tattoo in the same way as what it means to a writer. It is a sign the story is not written, there is more to write. Amy wanted to use this sign to tell people with depression to keep their personal narrative going and keep fighting.
This famous quote comes from the novel East of Eden by John Steinbeck. People use the word as tattoo ink to remind them they always have a choice.
The word itself means “thou mayest”. It is one of many hidden tattoos, usually written on hands, fingers, or other non-flashy areas.
Semicolon With Flower
When the Semicolon movement started, people opted generally for the traditional semicolon. But some wanted a different take, and that is how we have the semicolon with flower tattoo.
You can pair the semicolon image with any other image or graphic. Among the many options, flowers are a popular choice. They also have a symbolic meaning. Every flower has its own symbolism, so choose one that suits your purpose.
The beauty of music notes is that they are small and easy to conceal. For example, if you place them behind your ears, people will rarely notice them. And not all people with tattoos want to show their body art.
The tattoo itself is a reminder that music is life. In terms of psychological encouragement, music always brings positive vibes.
Here is another popular tattoo in the past several years. Dots look like natural beauty marks. When you put them on your body, they can symbolize different aspects of life, depending on the number or pattern of the dots.
And the best part is people rarely notice them. Similar to music notes, dotes are small and subtle tattoos.
This symbol represents a broken infinity. Use it as a reminder that nothing lasts forever. That applies to both good and bad things. No matter what happens in life, there is always one “and” or “but”.
The lotus flower has one of the best symbolic messages in the world of tattoos. Think about its story and growth. The lotus grows in muddy waters, yet it manages to maintain its purity. It is a symbol for people who come out of tough situations as winners. The lotus symbolizes the struggling phase in the life of an individual.
The simple lotus tattoo will do the trick. But if you want something more elaborate, you can always choose a more detailed lotus flower.
Some people combine their favorite quote with the lotus to make it more personal.
If you want to go back to simpler forms of popular tattoos, the wave is a great option. The outline of the wave is a petite, adorable tattoo. It also maintains your connection to water.
Remember, water represents life and human beings associate it with birth, fertility, and refreshment. Throughout history, people have used water as a symbol of wisdom, power, and grace.
Heart With Semicolon
Here is another option for a semicolon tattoo. You can spice up the semicolon sign in many ways. This is another option to pair it with a graphic image. There are many options for combining heart and semicolon.
Yet, one of the most popular ones is to make the semicolon part of the border of the heart. It is another statement about depression and serves as a reminder to love yourself.
Many people struggling with mental illness lack a sense of belief. They do not believe things will improve. This tattoo is a direct message to show more faith and belief in yourself and the things around you.
There are many words you can put on your body, but hope, faith, and believe are definitely among the most popular psychological ones.
You can also pair the words with the semicolon sign, making it a strong symbol for people fighting depression and other mental health problems.
Do you know what is the symbolic meaning of an arrow? It represents protection from everything negative around you.
When life pulls you back, remember to go forward. You are the only individual who can make things better. Do not expect others to pull you forward. You have to do it.
Arrows are usually bigger, multiple tattoos. But you can always go for a less detailed arrow if you want a small tattoo.
This common tattoo is a perfect example of life itself. Heartbeat, or pulse, is the sign of life. Without a pulse, there is no life.
Use this tattoo to make a huge statement.
Here is another word tattoo that you can put on your body. Associated with anxiety, this ink is a reminder for those who are fighting depression and other anxiety disorders. It carries the same connotation as the semicolon or the importance of pausing and recollecting yourself.
When you struggle with mental health and mindfulness, it is important to take a moment and breathe in.
Nirbhau and Nirvair
These two words represent “without fear” and “without hate” within the Sikh understanding. The tattoo will keep you safe and away from negative thoughts.
It is important to keep negative thoughts away. They can easily pull you back in life.
Mind Over Matter
Let’s finish off our list of psychology tattoos with the most important message. This minimalist tattoo represents the clear most important factor in life. And that is mind. You should not worry and stress about material things. As long as your mind is pure, nothing can beat you.