Give Yourself Permission To Have A Bad Day (And Learn How To Deal With It)
When Your Day Doesn’t Go As Planned
One time, I asked my husband to pick up some groceries for a party that I was organizing the next day. He shopped for groceries for over an hour before he finished and piled all the groceries for the cashier to ring through.
“That will be $107.93,” said the cashier.
So he handed over his visa but she looked up at him and said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t accept visa. And we don’t take cheques either.”
Unfortunately, my hubby didn’t have enough cash to pay so he abandoned his groceries and went to another store, where he started all over again.
As he continued to shop, he discovered that he couldn’t find all of the special ingredients he needed at one store, so he had to go to several places to get everything (can you guess how this ends??).
Needless to say, by the time my husband arrived home, he was not feeling very happy…
he was frustrated and upset, as he felt like he had wasted his Saturday!
Some days are like that…
Do You Need Permission To Have A Bad Day?
Life is filled with a whole range of emotions — from the good, the bad, to the ugly. So it’s completely unrealistic to think that we can be happy all of the time (after all, who would feel happy about the little mishaps we have?).
And yet, sometimes we feel guilty for having a bad day.
We may feel like having one bad day means that we’re not growing or worse, that we’re a failure…
That’s simply not true!
You can have a bad day and it won’t destroy everything you’ve worked for. Also, one (or two) bad day doesn’t mean that you haven’t grown or that you’re failing.
(The opposite is also true at times, that we need to give ourselves permission to be happy. Read more about that here.)
Growth Means Learning How Emotions Work
We have all heard or read about the terrible things that are happening in the world:
- Young girls are stolen from their loving families and countries
- Couples feel lost and don’t find their way back to each other
- Accidents happen and lives are permanently altered
- Awful diseases mar the lives of people of every age, class and religion
These are all difficult things and good reasons NOT to be happy.
It’s okay to wrestle with emotions like sadness, grief, frustration or anger.
Feeling a range of emotions is a good and normal part of life because there are many difficult things about this world.
And when you do, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not a happy person because happiness is so much more than an emotion…
It’s a whole package (read more about happiness here).
The Happiness Package
What is happiness?
Happiness is something that comes from inside of us and it’s a sense of inner satisfaction… of contentment. So it’s really a way of being; it’s not necessarily about circumstances.
What are some of the choices that we make that influence our happiness? How we…
- Focus on our special relationships
- Connect with the world around us
- The thoughts we choose to marinate
- Focus our mind on the positive rather than the negative because happiness is a state of being
We don’t experience happiness and joy without also feeling other emotions like pain, grief and anger.
So, you may feel a whole gamut of emotions as you go through your day…
However, it’s what you choose to do with those emotions that matters. When you don’t know how you feel, but instead, bottle up those emotions, then those bad feelings turn into something more… Something bigger and something harder.
How To Deal With A Bad Day
#1. Name It
Acknowledge how you feel. It’s harder to face something when you can’t put a name on it. You may want to say how you’re feeling out loud or write it down: “I am sad” or “I feel grief” or “I am afraid”.
Give yourself permission to feel what you feel.
#2. Talk About It
Talk to someone about how you feel; don’t bottle it up.
It really does help to talk about it. When you share your thoughts and feelings, it’s like releasing the air from a balloon. You’re letting go of the negative emotions and it also helps you to process. Choose wisely who you talk to as you want someone who will truly care, listen to you and validate that your emotions are okay.
#3. Take Practical Steps
Maybe it’s a small situation, kind of like the grocery store incident with my husband — BIG frustration but not a big situation.
And yet, when he came home, we talked about how he was feeling because I could hear how frustrated he was (and I was secretly glad that that hadn’t happened to me… how’s that for empathy!).
Then, he started taking practical steps to make sure that that wouldn’t happen again. For instance, he found his missing bank card so the next time, he could purchase groceries at this store.
As he took these practical steps, his emotions settled and pretty quickly, he felt better.
Use This 3-Step Strategy To Deal With Bigger Emotions
The above strategy can work with bigger emotions too…
Soon after Mom passed away, I felt the grief every day. Not a day went by that I didn’t miss her. Wave after wave after wave of grief and loss hit me.
So I began to acknowledge out loud: “This is grief. I miss Mom.” When I saw a mom and daughter shopping in a store and felt the loss, I told myself, “This is grief. It’s ok”
There was something cathartic about saying that statement out loud that made the large emotional wave of grief okay. I also had good friends who listened to my pain and grief. (Thank you!) And sometimes, sharing my grief with them helped to make the load feel lighter.
And I also took practical steps… I read a book called The Grief Recovery Handbook with a group of women who had also lost a loved one and I found that healing. It was transformational!
Our emotions are the signposts of what’s happening inside.
It’s important for us to pay attention to how we are feeling: when do we feel happy or sad or angry? Processing our emotions and becoming more aware of our internal climate will help us to stay healthy and happy.
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