So…you’re having a bad day.
It happens to all of us.
You’re tired. You didn’t sleep well. Someone yelled at you at work. You’re distracted. You’re depressed. You’re in a funk. There are so many possible reasons…so many combinations of possible reasons…
I get it.
And then, people begin to notice. You’d think that would make it better, but it doesn’t. You’re suddenly assaulted by people trying to “cheer” you up by making their lives seem more miserable than how you’re feeling.
“You’ve had a bad day? Let me tell you…”
“You think that’s bad? Well, I…”
“Ok grumpy…get over yourself. We’re all…”
“Oh, please! You have no idea!”
“I have it so much worse than you do…”
I don’t know when it became a thing to try and make someone feel better by making yourself look worse. I don’t why or how this is supposed to work. I don’t see the logic behind it. The funny thing is, I’m almost certain if you’re having a bad day, you don’t either. It seems like a poor attempt to relate to the person or a case of empathy gone horribly wrong. Regardless, this “technique” just doesn’t work.
And I’ll full out admit that I’m just as guilty of this as the next person. I’m far from perfect, and there are plenty of times I do or say something that doesn’t make sense…even to myself.
But we seem to have this weird default setting in which we compare ourselves to others no matter the circumstance.
“My car is better than yours.”
“My home is bigger than yours.”
“I get paid more than you because…”
“I have the latest toy…”
You’ve heard it all before.
And then we finally hit that moment…
“You don’t know what bad is.”
We treat it all like it’s part of the same competition. But having a bad day shouldn’t be competitive. Misery, sadness, depression, or a funk, shouldn’t be a competition.
You have no idea what that person is going through or how it’s affecting them. Whether you agree with their how or why is irrelevant. Things will hit people differently, and they may have a lot more going on than you know. What they are feeling is real. And when you claim that your struggles are worse than theirs, it doesn’t make them feel any better. The only thing that does is try to invalidate their experience. That shouldn’t be the goal.
So if you are having a bad day, know this…
Your feelings are valid. I hear you. I will listen if you let me…if you want me to.
There will be brighter days ahead.
And when my day comes, and I’m feeling blue, I hope you’ll do the same, as I did for you.
Image Credit: RHADS