I hold an opinion that days are generally only good or bad because of the stories and opinions that we attach to them. If we call a day “good”, then it is good. If we call a day “bad”, then it is bad. Because of this, I try very hard not to define my days as good or bad. Every day is a day, with no judgement attached.

Yesterday, I hadn’t been awake very long before I gave up and declared the day a bad day. There was no one event that triggered my declaration. I was simply in a way of being where I didn’t have access to my usual techniques for shifting my moods and behaviours, and so wallowing in self-pity and being grumpy and emotional about everything seemed to be my default. It was a day where I just knew that sitting with my earplugs in, listening to my musical theatre playlist on repeat and not actively trying to engage with anyone else was where I could do the most good in the world. To be honest, it was probably greatly appreciated by everyone around me. Yesterday was really not my finest moment.

On the way home last night, I was reflecting on my day, and I was quite cross with myself. I have received two years of coaching. I have completed a graduate diploma that talks a lot about how to interact with others. I have made declarations around my standards for interacting with others. I should know how to handle my moods and emotions. I generally don’t declare days as bad days. And here I was, not having applied any of that. After not applying any of my previous learning, I then declared the day a bad day, and so it was.

The thing is, I think that we all have days like this; days when we wish that we could call a do-over and give the day another go. Days when we “know” that our actions aren’t within our standards and we just don’t have access to becoming more resourceful in the moment. These days are probably not ideal, however they also happen. My assessment is that the key on these days is to always be willing to look for the learning. This may not be possible in the moment. However, later is better than never.

As I was reflecting on this moment on the way home last night, I invited myself to look for the learning. What came to me was that declaring the day a bad day was taking care of me in some way.

For the sake of what did I declare today a bad day?

This is where I learned that my choice to wallow in self-pity came about because I felt as though my needs were not being taken care of by others around me. I also learned that I had not articulated my needs to those who supposedly weren’t taking care of me. I learnt that, in my own way, I had at least been trying to take care of others; I had placed myself in my musical cone of silence so that I didn’t say or do anything that would impact others. I may not have completely succeeded, but I tried. For those occasions where I didn’t feel as though I succeeded, I asked myself why I felt that way and what, if anything, I would do today to turn that around, and I learned from that.

Some learning that came completely from nowhere was that I had a lot to be grateful for yesterday and I simply didn’t allow myself to see it. This then prompted me to consider the question: Next time I want to declare a bad day, what would it take for me to find something in the day for which I can be grateful? Being grateful is something that I hope I generally do by default. Yesterday, the default didn’t happen, so I am still reflecting on why that was the case and what I could do differently next time. The answer is there somewhere and will surface when it is ready.

The biggest piece of learning that I think I took from yesterday was that every situation presents us with an opportunity to be a learner, and it is what we do with that opportunity that matters the most. Not every day will be perfect. However, every day has the potential to have a great impact if we give ourselves permission to look for the learning.

Points to Ponder…

  • Have you declared a bad day recently?
  • How would being a learner have helped you?
  • What might it take to be a learner on future “bad days”?

– The featured image in this blog post is a photo by Piet Bakker from Pexels

Who am I? 
I am a leadership and life coach, available for coaching and facilitation services. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website.

7 thoughts on “How Declaring a Bad Day Provided a Fantastic Learning Opportunity

  1. I find when I have a bad moment in a day, I always feel like I’m looking for the remote control of life to rewind and start again. If only it was that simple! I tend to feel sorry for myself and just hide away, like you did with your music, if I can. If I’m working, then I tend to throw myself into some task and spend most of the day revisiting the ‘bad day’ in my head, thinking why it happened. Sometimes it just won’t leave and so a good sleep will help to clear it. Learning wise, I need to be better at letting go of it, shaking it off and just move on. But oh me, that’s hard to do when you are in a slump! Going to make sure I take notice next time! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting! I find that I am more able to manage myself on bad days now than I was a few years ago, which is probably why my recent bad day was a shock to me. I just couldn’t shake it. I kept reliving my bad day in my head also! I found that letting go, etc, required learning in the moment that just was not available to me, and reflecting later was the best that I could do. Sometimes, I can ask myself what mood would be more useful, and find a way to shift to it (for example, curiosity/wonder). Sometimes, I can notice my body posture and breathing and shift it and that makes a difference. It is all learning!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not so good at shifting moods…I’m good at holding onto it, even if I know it’s not right. Sometimes a good laugh will shake it though! I’ll try noticing my breath the next time and see what I can do! Thank you

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s not always easy to shift moods, in my opinion. I can do it in the moment for some moods, such as anxiety to curiosity/wonder. For others, I may be able to add something, such as being grateful, but may not be able to completely shift. Often, the secret can be in the body. For example, if I am having a difficult conversation with a team member and I start to feel anxious, I will move my body. If I don’t immediately know which body part to move, I will move any body part. For example, I shift myself in my seat, or cross/uncross my legs, or move my arms. Often that will give me access to something more useful. Noticing the breathing is great because, for example, noticing that my breathing is shallow will automatically have me open up my torso to deepen the breathing, and my mood can shift with that; I can feel the anxious sensations rushing out of my body. A good laugh is a great idea. Thanks so much for commenting; I always enjoy hearing your thoughts!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to often come home and declare “Its been a crap day!” However now whenever I catch myself I now reframe my thoughts to “Ok so that interaction/thought/email/discussion was crap but the rest of my day wasn’t crap” I then look at the moments that weren’t crap. This then helps me to realise that in the grand scheme of things one / two crap moments in a day, does not in fact make a whole crap day. I am getting better at this, however sometimes I do fall into a habit of feeling like I have had a crap day 🙂


    1. Thanks for commenting! It is a trap that I sometimes fall into, too. When it happens, I try to stop and ask myself why I think it was crap, which I find helpful. I also find it useful for events throughout a day. Like, a meeting that I think was crap. Sometimes I can discover that there was only one tiny part of the meeting that didn’t go so well and the rest was fine. Sometimes I do find it useful to just accept that I think the day was crap, and then make a conscious decision about how I would like the next day to be.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s