I used to live my life in fear of a bad day.

Sometimes bad days were the result of major blows like the loss of a family pet, the stress of a bad day at work or the news of a catastrophic world crisis. Sometimes they were triggered by slightly troublesome events like a sick kid, a low bank account or a lost set of car keys.

The painful thing was … I used to ruin the perfectly good days worrying about the impending arrival of a single bad day.

After living 40-some years using this terrible coping strategy of doing everything in my power to avoid a bad day, I’ve learned to like bad days. Well, not so much ‘like’ them as ‘recognize their importance.’ This article in Mindfulmagazine perfectly captures what bad days have come to represent for me:

“It’s natural to long for a worry-free life, where you win the lottery, spend all your days with people you love, eat good food, and never want for anything. But if you were happy all the time, would you ever grow as a person?

“Sometimes, actually, negative experiences, negative emotions, produce some of the best outcomes,” says Benjamin Hardy, bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work. “And so, avoiding negative, challenging, difficult emotions is probably one of the worst things a person can do.”

Hardy explains that people’s reluctance (to experiencing a bad day) is usually due to negative anticipation—we imagine something will be more painful or strenuous than it really is.

Whenever I get fearful of a bad day, I also go back and read one of my favourite books in the whole world. This book is about 100 words long and is written by Dr. Seuss. The book is called, My Many Coloured Days, and some of it goes like this:


Some days are yellow.

Some are blue.

On different days I’m different too. 


On Bright Red Days how good it feels

to be a horse and kick my heels!


Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.

Then I feel slow and low, low down.


Gray Day….Everything is gray.

I watch. But nothing moves today.


But it all turns out all right, you see.

And I go back to being…me.”

I used to live my life in fear of a bad day. But now I just see it as brown or gray and I have the best darned bad day I can have. I know the bright red days will reappear, and I’ll have learned important lessons from those bad days.





One Comment

  1. Chris, not too long ago, a wise friend offered a new perspective on bad days. Perhaps not exactly the kind of bad day you’re talking about (I’m still learning how to deal with those well), but I think this still applies.

    I was moaning about having one of those “off days” when I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm or energy to do anything. I hate those days! My friend suggested I reframe it. So, I don’t want to get out of my pjs, can’t get off the couch, don’t want to smile and be sociable. Horrible, right?

    Maybe not. Maybe, instead of thinking of it as an off day, it could be a day off.

    Huh. That seems a bit too simple.

    You know what? It worked! I just had to give myself permission to take the time to wallow, to lack energy, to not give a sh!t. It’s OK.

    It’s also OK to cry over our own tragedy (having my beloved garden dug up to have a new septic tank installed), even if someone else is going through something much worse.

    When we give ourselves permission to feel our feelings, it’s just a bit easier than fighting them, and what’s wrong with that?

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