Everybody has bad days once in awhile. What “a bad day” means differs from person to person and changes depending on what stage of life we’re in.
On Monday, I had a bad day.
All of us have to come into contact occasionally with people who annoy us, unless we are stuck in a dungeoun somewhere. People who play passive-aggressive mind games tend to push my buttons more than others and spending too much time around this kind of person sets me off. If you have read my blog much, you know that lazy excuse-making tends to set me off, too. And people who loudly project their craziness in order to get attention. And people who listen to their devices on high volume while in crowded public places and other forms of inconsiderate acting-out. And…
On Monday, all of my hot button people were attracted to me like a drunken moth to a bonfire. I simmered and stewed and tried to approach each situation with honesty, justice, and some sense of personal tranquility. I went to my evening Boxing class — eager to blow off some steam — and bought a new pair of gloves and tried them out. I didn’t know they were defective until the end of class neared and I felt stinging pain in my pinkies — where the salt in my sweat was reaching the spots where my skin had worn through.
And even then, grumbling to myself and gritting my teeth, I held it together until I got home and…. vented by melting down and immediately engaging in decompression activities so that I could be quietly reading when my wife came in.
And it’s in the rearview mirror.
When you find yourself on the black spiral, it is important to keep in mind that the world isn’t ending. You’re not derailed from your responsibility of making your dreams into concrete reality. You’re not off the hook. Don’t use a bad day or bad days as an excuse for failure or mediocrity.
You’re not a hypocrite for failing to live up to your (I hope, ordinarily) high standards.
Everyone has bad days.
It is also important to remind yourself that it isn’t necessary to blame anyone (God, other people, your own weakness, etc.) for things going off the rails.
Everyone has bad days.
It can be good practice to see the things “happening to you” as reflecting things about yourself, such as your own fears, flaws, weaknesses, past, associates, etc.
For myself, I see loud, passive-aggressive, lazy, mediocre people as a reminder of what could happen to me if I let my self-discipline, proactive lifestyle choices, and constant desire to take responsibility slip or fall to the side. These people annoy me because I used to be the worst of the worst. Sarcastic, habitually late, and always ready with a sly, pithy excuse; I was a well-oiled machine of pathetic weasel-dom and I was arrogant, too. I saw other people’s ignorance and lack of logical capability as a confirmation of my own superiority. And I let everyone know. Ugh. That guy would push all of my buttons and piss me off to the core of my being if I was forced to hang out with him now.
But that realization also makes me feel sympathy for these kinds of lost souls.
The path of personal mastery is challenging and requires a lifetime of devoted vigilance. A commitment to excellence and self-discipline is a very active and “present” thing. It’s a sacred oath.
The path of excellence also requires flexibility and adaptability, rather than hard rigidity. It requires the humility of knowing that, no matter how vast your skills, there is always more to learn. No matter how masterful you become in your areas of expertise, there will always be someone better than you and the things you are bad at will forever outweigh the things you are good at. The expertise of others is a valuable commodity worth sharing, trading, and embracing. And no matter how much progress you make, you’ll still fail sometimes.
The courage to handle challenging situations and people without exploding, breaking down, or acting out is a vital power to have in your arsenal. This kind of courage can be wielded and used to make your entire life philosophy more effective and formidable.
But you need to give that emotion and energy a release. Exercise is one of the most effective ways, because it balances the chemicals in your brain and body, which brings calm to the emotions and gives the brain space to think. I have found that intense cardio is more conducive to “blowing off steam” than the more “meditative” forms of exercise. It’s why I prefer combat sport to yoga — I burn away venom when I’m smacking a heavy bag and rolling on the ground (I like yoga too, don’t get me wrong).
And once you have passed beyond the situation and the posion has burned itself out, you need to integrate the lessons contained in your anger.
Dealing with a bad day is kind of like a psychedelic therapy session in that there are lessons to be gleaned, opportunities for growth to delve into, and new information to integrate into your lifestyle choices and habits going forward. Every painful experience is an opportunity for learning and for testing your personal integrity – particularly your emotional strength, your spiritual resolve, your personality makeup, and your commitment to a lifetime of growth.
Next time, I’m going to talk with you about the magic power of habits and how they are the most important key to self-transformation and life transformation, too, for that matter.
Have you found effective ways of dealing with bad days that work for you?