bad day

I had a bad day yesterday. I was off my game, not myself, did not live up to the best that I can do. Nothing terrible occurred, nothing was said or done that I will regret for days or weeks, but I did not feel myself. I am not sick or tired or frustrated or angry. I was just not myself.

I think this happens to us more often than we care to admit. Mostly we blame others. Someone said this or did that. But as I look back at all of many interactions yesterday it was me who misspoke, spoke too much, listened too little, and said the wrong thing at the wrong time. As I mentioned above nothing was said or done that rises to the level of apology but it does give me pause to recalibrate and adjust accordingly.

What I’ve learned about myself is that I need to attend to three things after a day like yesterday. 1) I need to take stock and see my own fault. Sometimes there is fault elsewhere as well, people do say and do things that are unhelpful. In an honest assessment of my faults and other’s actions and words I find the irritant that led to the mistakes. Having gone through these conversations and actions in my head I find that moment when I took the wrong path and I ask God to help me choose the better way next time. This first step is never to be underestimated, it has proven so effective in my maturing process and the mending of relationships.

2) I need to find perspective. When you have a bad day you think it is the worst day ever, that your work is going to hell, that your relationships seem toxic, and that your life is not moving forward or reaching the joyful moments you dream of. After assessing what happened it is helpful to put the day in context, how much really went wrong, how much long-term ill will did you foster, are there issues or relationships that were in anyway affected in the long-term. Sometimes I have affected things in the bad day that need addressing but more often than not the bad day was a “one off”, no one really noticed as much as I did. Thinking in a broader way, getting away from the narrowness of our own life and considering all those in our orbit of influence can help us reach perspective.

3) Moving forward the final step in moving out of the malaise of the “bad day” is to do something positive and uplifting for someone else. I find that I need to do something for someone that is purely positive. The spirit of that act somehow cleanses me of whatever toxins have seeped into my soul and spins me out of the irregular rhythm of my day and into something that feels right and true.

Every day is a new day. Thanks be to God for the promise of hope.