Tattoo Ideas that You Won't Regret Later

By | February 3, 2014

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Most people these days have tattoos, or want one, and if you don’t pick a tattoo that will stand the test of time, you may have to consider getting it removed. Tattoo removal is expensive and painful, and it would also make you face that you put something on your body that no longer interests you. Therefore, finding the right tattoos is absolutely essential, and here are a few tips to find the perfect one:

First you have to ask yourself why you’re getting a tattoo. The procedure can be painful and tedious, not to mention expensive and permanent. If you want to represent yourself with a tattoo, or if you think it would enhance your physical image, those are better reasons than wanting to fit in, or just if you think it might look cool. Tattoos aren’t like clothing; you can’t remove them and they don’t always “go” with everything (such as formal wear, wedding attire, etc.).


If you are religious, you might want to consider a religious tattoo, whether it’s an intricate portrait of a representative of your faith, or an elaborate design, or a simple cross, crescent, Om symbol, or something similar. Keep in mind, however, that your religion CAN change. (I wrote about becoming an agnostic and no longer being a Christian in another article, “How I Lost My Faith and Became a Lot Happier” [ ])


I’m not talking about “Get ‘R Done”…this is about what you feel about life, love, or things in general. A good resource for these are latin quotes, and Wikipedia lists quite a few of them, such as “fortis et liber” (“strong and free”), “non ducor duco” (“I am not led; I lead”), “omnia vincit amor” (“love conquers all”) and more. (1) You can also use song lyrics (for example “That’s life” from Frank Sinatra, “Imagine” by John Lennon, “All you need is love” by the Beatles”), whether they are classics or contemporary. Your basic outlook on life shouldn’t change too much, but I would recommend something uplifting, or something that showcases your strength, since you may be feeling gloomy now, but hopefully things will look up soon. Plus, why would you want a tattoo reminding you of how miserable you are right now?


I would advise against names, unless they are of your parents or children. Getting your sweetie’s name imbedded in your skin isn’t a testament of your love, as truthfully, it might not last. Even marriages tend to end in divorce, so unless you want to get something you know you can adapt to another design later (a famous example is Johnny Depp’s “Winona Forever” turning into “Wino Forever”), don’t get your mate’s name tattooed on you.


Symbols are a great way to express a lot with a little. I would recommend as an excellent resource for this. This site lists symbols by graphic index, word index, and you can also search the text to find symbols for a certain word or thought. The site also gives the background of each symbol and related symbols as well.

Another way to use symbols is from another language, such as Chinese symbols or Greek ones. If you are going to use these though, I would only really recommend it if that language is part of your heritage or if you’re truly interested in it, as you don’t want to get a tattoo that’s too trendy.

Ethnic Heritage

If you want something that showcases your heritage, you could use a family crest, an artistic rendering of your last name (using an elaborate font), or a symbol of your culture. You could also use your home country’s flag or motto.

Political Influences

Be careful with this one, as your political leanings might change. If, however, you are a dyed in the wool Democrat or Republican, you could opt for the famous donkey and elephant symbols, in blue or red ink, respectively.

National Pride

There are many, many ways to show pride for your country, whether it’s an adaptation of your country’s flag or its motto. You can get a star or peace sign with your country’s national colors in it, or your country’s flag waving, or a different symbol (i.e., for the United States, the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, etc.)

Foreign Languages

This can go with the Latin phrases and the ethnic heritage ideas, as you’d want to pick something that showcases your philosophy and your heritage, unless you are interested in a ethnicity or other country that you don’t have roots in.

Zodiac Signs

A symbol indicating your zodiac sign is best for those who are interested in astrology, or those who feel like they align with the descriptions that come with their sign. For those who are extremely interested in astrology, a tattoo artist can also help you develop an elaborate, colorful design.

Personality Indicator Designs

Either taking an online test or checking out a book on the subject at your library can show you what sort of personality type you have. Some examples are Enneagram, Four Temperaments, the Five Point Survey, and a Personality Star test. If you like the sort of symbol that your personality tests shows, you might consider getting that as a tattoo, but I’d make sure you approve of the test results as well.

These are just a few ideas that you can use to find your next tattoo, and I have some warnings against tattoos that you might regret later:

You might regret: Matching Tattoos

Getting a tattoo should be an expression of your self and individuality, so unless you have an extremely close relationship with the person you want to get a tattoo with, I’d advise against these. Not all relationships last, whether they are friendships or romantic relationships, so I’d suggest that matching tattoos are best for close siblings, or parents and children.

You might regreat: Trendy Tattoos

Barbed wire, tribal art, Chinese symbols, and butterfly tattoos are a dime a dozen. If you’re going to follow a trend, pick something you can wear, and not permanently. Also, finding a tattoo that appropriately represents your personality keeps it from becoming a trendy design.

Another thing to keep in mind when getting a tattoo that while business places are getting used to Gen Xers and Millenials with tattoos and piercings, not all employers are understandable with such things. You might want to put your tattoos in places easy to cover up, such as your shoulders, on your back, and on your legs.

If you’re not sure about committing to a tattoo, you might want to consider a temporary one using ink that will fade. It’s also a good idea to at least sketch on yourself what sort of tattoo you want so you can get an idea of what it would look like.

A tattoo should reflect you, your personality, your strengths, and your hopes and dreams. If you pick the right design, you’ll have a tattoo that you’ll love in years to come, one that you’ll want to enhance in later years, and not cover up.


1 – “List of Latin phrases (full)” (

2 –, Online Encyclopedia of Western Signs and Ideograms

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