Are Bad Days Your Fault?

“Sometimes you need those bad days, to help you appreciate the good ones.”-Unknown

The other morning I woke up in what could gently be described as a “mood”. It’s very uncharacteristic for me. I’m not always a ray of sunshine but it’s pretty rare to find me in a bad mood or a funk.

This was not the case a few days ago. I don’t know if it was a lack of sleep, bad sleep, stress, or a combination of it all. But from the second I woke up, I was grumpy. I couldn’t understand why and it seemed like the hits were gonna keep on coming that day.

The logical side of my brain kept telling me to get it together. Shit happens. This was just like any other day, where there are bound to be ups and downs. I just couldn’t shake it though. It seemed as though Murphy’s Law was the only one in charge for the day.

The Downward Spiral

The day started like most do, with me waking up and doing a little Medium perusing with some social media sprinkled in, before I began checking emails. My inbox is where it all started. As I’m deleting spam and checking through the important stuff, I see an email alerting me I’ve gotten a parking ticket. I don’t have a car.

In my city, they offer a ride share service called, “Car 2 Go”. It’s really helpful in situations where you just need a car a couple times a month. It saves money and you get to drive some nice vehicles. For all the eco-conscious, you get to reduce your carbon footprint.

Apparently, on the last trip I took (weeks ago), I parked in a “No Parking” zone. I consider myself a fan of obeying the laws. I don’t speed and I definitely don’t see myself parking in a space clearly marked as unauthorized; but here I was looking at a a citation with my name on it for that very reason. To add a little insult to injury, like any other car rental service, I got a bonus fee from them to go along with my citation.

Super Cool

Slippery Slopes

It seems like when your day starts off with something bad, bad things just seem to start piling on. It feels like you become a super magnet and all the bad things are a bunch of steel rods, aching to find what’s dragging them in.

After I came to terms with the ticket, I decided it was too early to deal with any of this, so I went back to sleep. That’s when I was awakened by the noise of my cat decided to try to rip (yet another) face-sized hole in his food bag. While I cleaned up little bits of cat food off the floor, I re-realized the only way I was going to get everything I needed done for the day was by putting in a solid 14 hours. To start my 14 hour day, a light fixture project took me waaayyy longer than it should have to finish. After having a quick chat with my kitchen manager, there was a looming realization that I was going to have to let one of my employees go. All the funnest things you can imagine, gifted to me on a silver platter.

It was while I was having a terrible time with the lights that I realized I was doomed. Reality was, my day wasn’t going to get much better. The thing about finally coming to that conclusion is it was pretty freeing. Once you get to that point, you stop worrying about trying to dodge the onslaught of shit and focus on what the solution is. You also start to realize that all the “bad thing” that are happening to you, are pretty minor in the scheme of things.

How bad is it, really?

As I struggled to get the fucking light fixture installed, I started to think back on the day so far. How much of my day had really been unnaturally bad? Was is it more likely my day seemed worse than others because I let myself think in those terms? What would my day look like if I just looked at it as another day with a few more obstacles than usual?

If I break down the events that were compiling to create my “bad day”, they are all just normal things. The difference is I allowed myself to propagate a negative mentality around each thing.

  • I earned that parking ticket, whether I realized it or not.
  • The cat is a cat and knows he can get food from tearing holes in his food bags. I should probably come up with a solution to prevent him from being able to get to his food in the first place.
  • My long day was because I gave myself too much. I should have allocated some of it to another day.
  • The light fixture had no way of being more or less difficult. The installer (this guy) controls how smoothly installation goes. And, after the first one, they all went up pretty painlessly.

More importantly, my “bad day” was full of things that weren’t really that bad. I woke up in my own, comfortable bed; in a nice apartment. I have food. I’m financially stable enough to take care of the citation. I have friends and family that care about my well-being. I have no real room to complain about anything when others don’t even have their basic needs met.

Negativity breeds negativity

We all have a habit of allowing ourselves to take a normal event and allocate negativity to it, instead of seeing it for what it is. Doing this allows us to remove ourselves from responsibility. Because, we can’t control the things that happen to us, right? Wrong…maybe.

Obviously, there’s no way to control everything that happens in our lives. We can control how we react to what life gives us. Think of it as a skill. Skills take time and practice to get good at. Start slowly and work towards your goals. The next time you tell yourself, “Oh man, I can tell this is going to be a bad day…” stop and consider something you have to be grateful for. It may sound silly, but over time you’ll find yourself seeing a little more positive and a little less negative. Not always, but it is definitely easier.

If we let ourselves be the victims in our story, it becomes easier next time. It’s easy to blame and point fingers instead of understanding and correcting the issue. I choose not to be a victim in my own story. Some days will be easy and some will be hard but I will deal with each one as best I can. I challenge you to do the same.

A version of this post was previously published on GoFindYourHappy and is republished here with permission from author.

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