Consolation Thoughts

In Response to the Bad Days

I used to be racked with guilt whenever I had had a bad day.  Like it was all my fault.  That I was a bad person.  That if only I were just a stronger person, I could will myself to not have any more bad days ever.  Well, sometimes the bad days still come.  You know what I’m talking about.  When we just can’t break through the dark cloud.  When everything irritates us.  When we can’t concentrate on anything.  When we want to make progress on things, but there are interruptions at every turn.  When we fight resentment every other moment.  When there’s no clear focus to anything.  When we can’t catch an “up” cloud to float on.  These days still come even if we work hard to prevent them, anticipate them, and resist them.  It’s just part of being a human being—we will not always have yippee skippy days.

So what I have learned as a more helpful response than staying guilt-ridden about having these sorts of days is to be thankful for them.  Not like, “I am so glad these types of days are in my life.”  But like this: “I am thankful to have a foil every now and then of what life could be like all the time if I didn’t try or care or work to move forward in life.”  You know what a foil is?  In literature, it’s a character that presents a striking contrast to another character.  More specifically, a foil makes another character look better or more desirable by contrast.  An antagonist (bad guy) is often a foil for a protagonist (good guy), though a character does not have to be an antagonist in order to be a foil.

So, yes, I am thankful for “bad days” because they remind me how glad I am to have good days.  And they also remind me to not actively perpetuate the bad days.  We can do that, you know.  Keep the bad days coming.  Part of all of this self-development stuff is about having more “good days” than “bad days” so that eventually we can have few if no bad days at all (because, really, what we are doing is training ourselves to be so resilient in life that if and when the bad days do come, we can bat them away like they are nothing).