Earlier this month, I had what an older version of me would have labelled a “bad day”. Let me show you why I wouldn't call it that these days.
First off, I do my best not to use the word “bad” anymore. That way… no bad days! (Yes, this probably sounds over-simplified, but it’s actually really effective.)
If you think about it, “bad” is just an undescriptive word that carries an energy we don’t want to perpetuate, so it’s worth considering giving it the old heave-ho.
Now, here’s what happened that day.
I opened my email in the morning to find out I had been rejected. Ouch! (That’s what my ego said.) Immediately my mind wanted to make up all sorts of stories, so I noticed that tendency and did some breathwork around the feelings of hurt. I also kept turning my thoughts away from the incident. It took a lot of concerted effort, and I endeavoured to stay persistent with it. (And when I say persistent, I mean over and over and over and over and over x 1,000,000,000,000.)
Next, I found out that my husband got hit by a car while riding his bike. Miraculously, neither he nor his bike were hurt too severely. He sustained an injury to his pinky finger and a couple of scrapes, so all in all, wow. But scary too. I was rattled, to say the least.
Later on, my son and I were getting ready to go for a bike ride to the mall. It was my first trip by vélo of the season, so my tires needed some air. We have an air pump in our building’s garage, so I got that all set up. To my chagrin, it wasn’t working and it ended up deflating my tires even more. Boo.
That necessitated me finding our own air pump (not a quick task what with texting my miraculous husband multiple times and then rummaging around our storage room) and pumping the tires back up. It was frustrating because of all the back and forth effort that extended the experience by a good 30 minutes. In the grand scheme of things, not a big deal, but in my frazzled state, it was annoying, to say the least.
Then, when we were done at the mall, we went out to our bikes and I realized that I had left my phone in one of the stores that was a good 10 minute walk away. Again, not a huge deal, but also again, I felt annoyed. It just seemed like one thing after another.
Eventually, I found myself on the yoga mat, where I had the realizations that I want to share with you. (Thanks for making it through my day!) Initially, my mind wanted to ignore the yoga and breathwork and fret about the rejection from the morning. As I inhaled and exhaled and found my centre, though, I had an epiphany that almost had a “ding” sound, it was so significant.
In that moment, it became really obvious that the rejection was actually a huge gift because the person in question had not really respected my boundaries. Now, all of a sudden, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t have to deal with that issue anymore. It was simply erased with no effort on my part. Wow! I marinated in that relief for a few moments.
Then, as minds will do, it wandered back, hoping for a little victim action. (No more relief for you!) After hanging out there for a few moments, I had another *ding* epiphany. I realized that I was thinking about the completely wrong thing, which was resulting in my undesirable emotional experience. The more appealing thought was to sink into deep gratitude for my husband being ok after being hit by the car (which was actually a truck). Contemplating that felt a lot better. Whenever my mind tried to wander back to poor-little-rejected-me-victim-mode, I corralled it back to gratitude. With lassos. It was definitely running wild.
And that’s how I did not let it be a bad day. Ta-dah!
Let’s unpack the lessons into some straight-forward how-to’s to turn an unpleasant day or experience into a better one:
>practice not labelling a whole day as “bad” (because that will just bring you even more of that vibe)
>notice your thoughts; if they’re making you feel a way you don’t want to feel, choose different ones (you might need lassos too… you’ll find one further below for your lassoing pleasure)
>when uncomfortable or unpleasant emotions come up, honour them by feeling them as sensation in your body and breathe through them; ignoring them or suppressing them doesn’t work too well because they’ll just come back later with more insistence, like a hungry 2-year-old
>when things don’t work out the way you anticipated, trust that it’s happening for a reason that is supporting you and be open to the gift (for example, when we had the air pump set back, Oakley and I discussed how we were probably saved from an even more unpleasant experience)
>go to gratitude (when I wanted to label parts of the day, I chose instead to say, “Thank you Universe for these challenges”, because it just felt better)
>focus on what is instead of what isn’t (I’ve noticed that whenever I’m suffering, it’s because my attention is on what I don’t have, rather than on what I do have)
>incorporate some sort of self-care in action into your day, like yoga, breathwork or journaling/writing about it (even while the day was happening, I knew it would make a great blog, so I observed what happened throughout the day, and reflected on the teachable moments, rather than diving into full-out victim-mode)
And if you want the takeaway in the most super-simple way possible, here it is:
Embrace what is. Receive it, rather than fight against it. Then you don’t have to try so hard.
I hope that’s helpful for you. Here’s to no bad days! Cheers, from my water bottle to yours!
Oh- and here's your lasso; cute outfit included. Feel free to use it whenever you like.
Sending you impactful love and remarkable courage,
Creator of Courageous Self-Care
Daily Practiser of Self-Care in Action
Embracer of Challenges with Annoying Optimism
PS- The monthly Self-Care Masterclass is coming up next week, on Friday April 30th. It’s a practical and process-oriented experience of How to Get Crystal Clear and Take Inspired Action. You’ll definitely leave with clarity and action steps. Click here for details.