Everyone has bad days.
Sometimes, we just don’t live up to our ideals.
We make bad choices. We hurt people’s feelings. We have selfish motivations.
We don’t like it…but it happens.
So, what do we do about it?
On this blog, we spend a lot of time talking about how to live well. We know we have to be intentional and focus on what’s most important to us.
That requires a significant dose of personal responsibility. We have to be willing to acknowledge that we have to control ourselves and make good choices. We have to own our behavior.
The negative side is that we can tend to be really hard on ourselves when we act “less than our best.”
In those moments when we realize defeat, but our attitudes are bad, it’s easy to feel like the sky is falling.
But it isn’t.
You’re having a tough time, but it’s not the end of the world…yet. You still have choices to make.
So, when you find yourself in these situations, here are a few things to remember:
1- Stop it as soon as possible.
As soon as you notice that you are “not yourself,” slam on the brakes. Push pause and think about what is happening. Even if your emotions are demanding that you say something or do something, resist the urge. You have to give yourself time to process.
Why? So you don’t add to the drama. Which leads us to number 2…
2- Don’t make it worse.
I don’t know why we do this…but we often respond to our own personal failures by making further bad decisions. It makes no sense, but we do it. It’s as if we’re saying, “Oh well, I’ve already done something stupid…so #@%* it! Let me just do something else while I’m at it!”
This is never a good idea.
Or, at other times, we may feel stupid about what we just did, so our self-anger comes out and makes us do even dumber things.
When we are faced with a pile of bad behavior, the worst thing to do is continue adding to the pile.
So, once you’ve paused to consider what’s happening, DETERMINE to fight your urges to add insult to injury. Stop giving in to the feelings that got you into trouble in the first place.
The smaller the pile, the easier the repairs. If we don’t do this, we will escalate the drama very quickly and regret it.
3- Remember, you’ll feel differently tomorrow.
This is important.
In the moment of frustration, it feels like the biggest thing in the world is happening right then. In reality, tomorrow, you will very likely look back on it and chuckle that you were so upset. It’s important that we remember all the times that our hindsight was 20/20 and our feelings changed with a little passing time.
When we acknowledge this, it helps us fight the urges to continue in our bad attitude. It helps us realize that it might be better to just…
- walk away
- count to 100
- postpone the conversation to a different time
- (if it’s evening) go to bed and start over tomorrow
This isn’t retreating, it’s just acknowledging that there might be a more productive time to process and discuss the issue.
4- Don’t beat yourself up.
We waste so much time mulling over our past mistakes.
We know we’re not perfect. We acknowledge that intellectually, but then live as though we thought we could be.
I’m not suggesting that we shift blame or stop owning our behavior. I’m just suggesting that we own it, call it what it is, and then use our energy to correct our behavior.
Let’s not waste time mourning our perfect past. Let’s use our time and energy to change our future!
5- Make things right.
Whatever amount of trouble you caused to those around you, work to repair it. If you hurt your loved one’s feelings, apologize. I’m often amazed how resilient and forgiving my friends and family are when I own my behavior and let them know I care.
If you’ve wronged someone, do what you can to set it straight. You won’t always be able to repair the damage you cause when you hurt someone, but you can try.
You have to learn from your failures. They will happen. The question is, “What will you do with them?”
- How have you dealt with your personal/relational failures in the past?
- What works well for you in those moments?
I’d love to hear your input.
You may also enjoy:
- What Will You Wish You’d Done?
- Loyal to the Absent
- Simpler: Declutter Your Life & Focus on What’s Most Important (eBook)