Cherish the good days and forgive yourself for the bad ones.
I’ve had dark days. Days I couldn’t push myself out of bed; when even making myself a meal felt like too much effort.
There have been days I wished I’d stop existing. At least that way, the pain would go away.
I’ve had weeks and months where I wrote barely anything of any significance; countless hours I’ve been assailed by crushing self-doubt, and so many times when I “almost” gave up.
And yet, if you read the stories I wrote, you’d never guess.
That’s because, as a writer, my job is to curate the best part of my life and present them to you in a way that inspires and motivates you. I aim to leave a legacy of positivity behind, to make you believe that no matter how hard things may seem, you will get through.
Life won’t be this dark forever.
But no matter how motivated you are or how great things are going on for you, there are bound to be sad days. Days when even a simple chore like taking a shower might seem impossible. You can’t escape days like that. You’re not a robot programmed only to achieve and be happy.
My posts are usually designed to make you see the best in yourself. But this post is different. This post aims to help you recognize your humanity and understand that having a few bad days doesn’t mean you’ll never make it to where you want to be. Failures are just as important a part of your life as success is. You can’t escape them, no matter how hard you try. Instead, embrace your sadness and show yourself compassion on the bad days.
Sadness Isn’t Your Enemy
Popular culture and social media have portrayed sadness as the enemy. But as Psychologist Chuck Schaeffer, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today, “Sadness is the healthy emotional response to pain or loss, and it signals a need for care and compassion from self and others.”
Sadness isn’t your enemy. It doesn’t make you weak. Scientists have argued that showing sadness is a way to signal others to respond and come to our aid. Since homo sapiens never had claws or venom, working closely in cooperation with each other is a trait that helped our species survive and thrive.
As career coach and bestselling author Marty Nemko, Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today, there are some benefits of being sad:
- It helps you examine life’s under-examined dark side.
- It motivates you to act so you can get out of your current situation.
- Sadness forces you to reflect and introspect on your life choices and, as a result, gain wisdom.
- It helps you appreciate the beauty you’d have otherwise missed.
Summarizing, the benefits of sadness can be summed up in this quote from Healthline: “Feeling blue can alert you to the fact that something isn’t quite right in your life, which can help you take steps to identify the cause of the low mood and make some changes that could help you feel better.”
“Sadness was not something that could be cured. It was not, in fact, a failing, not a flaw, not an illness of spirit. Sadness was never without reason, and to assert that it marked some kind of dysfunction did little more than prove ignorance or, worse, cowardly evasiveness in the one making the assertion.
As if happiness was the only legitimate way of being.
As if those failing at it needed to be locked away, made soporific with medications; as if the causes of sadness were merely traps and pitfalls in the proper climb to blissful contentment, things to be edged round or bridged, or leapt across on wings of false elation.”
— Steven Erikson, Toll the Hounds
Coping With Sadness
You don’t have to immediately distract yourself or immerse yourself in work when you feel sad. However, coping with negative feelings is a skill that needs to be learned. As Healthline points out, here some ways you can go about doing it:
- Share your feelings with someone you trust.
- Do a quick workout or go for a walk, and it might improve your mood. Physical activity releases endorphins that help relieve stress.
- Spend some time outdoors.
- Change your routine.
- Try some form of creative expression like poetry, journaling, art, or music. These can be cathartic and help you get that load off your chest.
Sadness usually passes with time. If it lingers far too long or stops you from resuming normal life, this could be a sign of depression. As Medical News Today puts it, if you feel discouraged, demotivated, hopeless, and find no meaning for a long time in activities you enjoyed previously, you might be suffering from depression.
Contrary to what most people believe, depression isn’t a choice. You can’t snap out of it at will. If you show any of these symptoms, it might be a good idea to seek professional help.
Having “bad” days or moments when you struggle with your self-worth is normal. No person can be happy all the time. There’s nothing wrong if you struggle on some days.
I write quite frequently about self-improvement online. Many people have left me messages to say that my writing has helped them in more ways than one. That it gave them closure and helped them move on from a previously unresolved issue. And yet, here’s the raw, unpolished truth: not all days are rosy and “perfect” for me.
I used to feel admitting this in public would undermine my credibility and somehow disqualify me from writing about personal development. But now, I know my bad days make me human. Just like you, I suffer, I stumble, and then, pick myself back up and move ahead.
Life isn’t a straight line. Nor is it an uphill ride. Every life is peppered with happiness and sadness in proportionate measures. You can’t always hope for one while wishing the other never comes.
If you’re having a bad day, stop beating yourself up over it.
Today, you don’t need to work or be at your productive best. Today, you deserve to take some time off and take care of yourself.
After all, there’s only one of you. Don’t you realize how special that makes you?
I create content in many different forms related to self-improvement, body positivity, and feminism on YouTube and Instagram. Join my email list to make sure you don’t miss out on anything new.