Do you remember the last bad day that you had? I do. I awoke one rainy and cold Monday morning and realized that I had slept through my alarm and that I would be late for work. I jumped out of bed, dressed as fast as I could (skipped the shave), and dashed out to my car for my commute. As I got to the car, I could see that my left front tire was flat as a pancake! “This is going to be one ofthose days”, I grumbled to myself as I pulled the jack from the trunk of the car.
We all occasionally have days that get off to a rough start. I arrived at work two hours late, and sat down at my desk still frazzled, and thinking what a rotten day this was going to be. The frustrations and anxieties of that morning were threatening to ruin my entire day.
At that moment I realized that I was projecting my negative emotions about the morning into the rest of a day that had not yet happened. I thought “What would happen if I let go of all of the problems that I had encountered getting to work and restarted my day from this moment, letting the day be whatever it was going to be?” I decided right then and there to forget about that morning’s difficulties. As it turned out, it was not a bad day at all. It was an ordinary day like most other days. It was not a bad day because I was able to let go of the negative energy that I had allowed to spoil the beginning of my day.
Bad events happen, but bad days are created. Bad days are the result of expecting bad things to happen during the day. Our expectations about the future shape our attitudes and perceptions of the events that actually occur. If we expect bad things to happen we will rarely be disappointed, because we unconsciously want to affirm our negative expectations. We overlook positive events and we highlight and focus on negative incidents, because that will prove that we were right. We prefer to be right even if being right creates negative outcomes for us.
What I’ve learned about bad days is that it is up to me to prevent negative thoughts about an event or a series of events from creating a negative outlook that contaminates the way that I feel about the rest of that day. We do have a choice. Projecting negative feelings into our future denies our ability to let “bygones be bygones” and prevents us from unlocking our capability to enjoy life.
I’ve learned that if you have a day that starts downhill to use it as an opportunity to challenge yourself to “turn the lemons into lemonade”. You have within you the capacity to embrace a positive outlook that will prevent negative events from becoming bad days. The key to making this shift is to resist being overwhelmed by negative emotions and allowing the positive energy to direct you toward the enjoyment and fulfillment that each day can bring to us if we let it. Remember how important it is to let go of the baggage and to allow yourself to “Have a good day”.