Let’s talk about bad days.
Call it whatever you want, it’s all pretty much the same.
With the New Year upon us, I’ve seen an influx of shirts, mugs, pins, patches, art prints, and IG hashtags with slogans like “No Bad Days” or “Good Vibes Only”. The problem with these sentiments moves beyond the obvious impracticality. Everybody has bad days and having the inevitable bad day does not make you a failure. Let’s just level the playing field for a second – I can assure you that that IG bombshell with her perfectly posed beach sunset shots has had and will have, plenty of bad days. She has stubbed her toe. Lost a loved one. Woken up in a bad mood. Had a terrible day of diarrhea.
There. Feel better? Remember that the next time her hashtags get super ethereal.
Anyways, these sentiments and the people who cling to them miss what should be the point of bad days – learning how to have them. Can you imagine for a moment what your life would be like if you woke up one day in a terrible mood, and then moved on to do the things that mattered to you or that you needed to accomplish anyway? What if something bad happened to you which was really upsetting, and then you did some more things that mattered to you and that you wanted to accomplish? The thing about bad days and bad moods is that they happen, and while you might have a small amount of control over your circumstances or environment that could, in some cases, lower the frequency of bad days, you’ll never have full dominance over them. The real problem that most of us have with bad days and bad moods is that they derail our plans. How many times have you said something like “man, everything was going so GOOD!”, after encountering some negative experience or feeling? What if things could still keep going even after the negative thing happened? That would be pretty awesome, right?
Well, it’s possible!
Herein lies the problem I have with the commitment to having no bad days. People who are fixated on not having any bad days never learn how to have them. They never learn how to work through a bad day or bad experience and stay on track doing the things they love to do and the things they need to do. This is why having a clear vision of your values and goals in life (both long-term and short) is so important. It gives you something to lean on when the days are bad. It’s easy to do things we love when we’re happy and feeling good. It’s a lot harder when we are going through something tough. The good news is, with practice, it definitely gets easier and easier. For some tips on identifying your values and some associated value-driven behaviors, see my post on the topic! It’s an excellent place to start with this concept. I’m not saying you won’t feel bad when bad things happen. You will! 🤷 You will feel bad. But you will learn how to have bad feelings while living your good life. Your life doesn’t become bad because you have some transitory bad feelings or experiences.
The next time you find yourself having a bad day, or experiencing bad vibes, take a moment to recognize where you’re at. Don’t get caught up in the trap of resisting negativity. The resistance itself is what brings discomfort. Instead, accept that things are the way they are in this particular moment in time. Then, move on to something you want to be doing or should be doing, even if that feels hard. It is in this purposeful redirection of energy that you will find immense power.
So, what I’m telling you is this – have bad days. Have all the days! Live a life rich with contrasting experiences. The more you do this, and the more you direct your energy towards your values no matter what you are experiencing, the more you train your brain to be more resilient in the face of bad days. Better resilience means being less affected or derailed by bad days when they happen.
All vibes only. ✌️