From flowers and animals to meaningful words and phrases.
Choosing a tattoo design is a deeply personal experience: Some look to honor family members with their ink, while others want a piece that can serve as inspiration on tough days. Those looking for tattoos that represent strength will find plenty of ideas on Instagram, particularly from celebrities — many of whom share the meaning behind their designs — and their favorite tattoo artists, who often post stories of the inking process.
Stars like Demi Lovato are especially open about the struggles that inspired their body art, like the angelic neck tattoo she received in 2019, but the designs are never one size fits all. Even among celebrities, tattoos — particularly those that represent strength — can vary. From symbolic animals, like the bee Ariana Grande got to commemorate the victims of the 2017 Manchester attack, to meaningful quotes, like Jourdan Dunn’s "Fear is not an option" script on her forearm, your ink can take a variety of forms — and that could make it tough to narrow down exactly what kind of tattoo you’d like to get.
If you’ve been on the hunt for tattoo ideas that symbolize strength, these 10 may help you in your search.
Tattoos Of Religious Symbols
For those who are religious, symbols from their faith can serve as signs of strength, and that’s the case with singer Demi Lovato’s angel tattoo. Lovato revealed the meaning behind the large piece on her back, explaining that it represents the "spiritual awakening" she had following her 2018 overdose.
For those who have been through trauma, tattoos can serve as powerful symbols of strength. Ariana Grande’s bee tattoo is an example of a personalized piece with deep, powerful meaning, as it commemorates the lives lost at her 2017 concert in Manchester.
Tattoos With Phrases
Some people may want more overt reminders to stay strong through life’s circumstances. For those looking for inspiration for strength tattoos, common phrases are a good place to start. Jourdan Dunn’s "Fear is not an option" ink on the outside of her forearm is a clear reminder to face the day fearlessly.
Simone Biles’ first tattoo is the Olympic rings on the outside of her forearm. While most of us aren’t going to win a gold medal (or several), Biles’ ink symbolizes her hard work toward a major achievement.
Dates also carry meaning, as is the case with Ariel Winter’s roman numerals just below the bend in her elbow. The ink marks the date she moved in with her sister before being fully emancipated from her parents. "It kind of started a new chapter in life for me, so it was really important," Winter said of the tattoo in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
Single Word Tattoos
Celebrity tattoo artist Winter Stone often describes his tattoos on his Instagram account, offering insight into their meanings. Many offer encouragement in the form of single words, and here, this momentum tattoo is a reminder to keep moving forward. Tattoos inspired by this one are a good choice for people seeking out smaller, more delicate options.
Tattoos that take power over a situation can be reminders of one’s strength. Lena Dunham’s "sick" tattoo is an excellent example: The actor had the word inked onto the back of her neck as a way to reclaim the word amid her health struggles.
Multiple celebrities — including Hailey Bieber and Ashley Benson — have tiny letter "g" tattoos. Bieber has explained that the letter is a tribute to Georgia Veach, who’s the daughter of Zoe Church LA pastor Chad Veach and has a rare brain disorder. Tribute tattoos like this one can serve as reminders to be strong and supportive of those around you.
Tradition Breaking Tattoos
Classic symbols like crosses or hearts generally have well-known meanings, but flipping and re-working them can be signify strength as well. Halsey’s horseshoe tattoo is an ideal example: The star chose to have the symbol — which typically means good luck — inked upside-down on her arm despite its omen of bad luck. In an interview, she explained, "I got an upside down horseshoe to signify that I don’t need luck. I work really, really hard, and I believe in the stars aligning, but I don’t believe that anything happens to anyone based out of sheer luck. I believe people work really hard, and they manifest what they want, and what they need, and what they’re hopeful for, and that’s what this is — a reminder."
Flower tattoos can mean many different things, from the design to the actual type of bloom. Dakota Johnson’s tiny flower ink serves as a simple yet effective reminder to accept yourself. When Johnson got the tattoo back in 2017, artist Dr. Woo posted a quote from the actor, writing, "It’s a lil f*cked up, but it’s still a flower, like me." The flower’s imperfection is what makes it powerful, and it’s inspiration for those looking for a twist on a classic floral tat.
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