“Instructions” for a “Bad Day”


Sometimes we contribute “ah-ha” moments on social media, comment with great energy, and soak in the impact as it relates to us in that very instance of posting.

And then, we move on.

In fact, we move on a lot.

We post. We comment. We process. We move on.

Rinse, wash, repeat.

I am, perhaps, the most guilty of this behavior. For example, a few months ago, I shared the following video after an explosion of “ah-ha” moments:

In the initial reflecting of this video all those months ago, I emailed myself with the link, and the following line: “I’ll never be the same.” In watching again, I concur with myself.

Please observe:

Say how you feel without fear or guilt.

Remember the times when you could have pressed quit, but you hit continue.

Love and hate are beasts, and the one that grows is the one you feed.

If you are having a good day, be considerate. A simple smile can be the First Aid kit someone is looking for.

Check your blind-spot. See that love is still there.

Be loud. Make noise. Stand in poise and be open. Hope, in these situations, is not enough, and you will need someone to lean on…

In the unlikely event that you have no one, look again. Everyone is blessed with the ability to listen.

Again, I’ll never be the same.

If I had $10 for the amount of times people asked, “How are you doing,” as it relates to my current status, I would be driving around in a brand new Land Rover. Consequently, if I had to give $10 back for every brief and vague response to, “How are you doing,” I would be about as penniless as I am today. Let’s pause here for a moment.

With 1 being the lowest of all lows (parent passed away, unexpectedly fired, watched a puppy get hit by a car, etc.), and 10 being the highest of all highs (got a promotion, feeling beautiful and worthy, found love in a hopeless place, etc.), where are you right now? Seriously, pause – let this challenge sink in for a moment.

If you had to place yourself on a scale between 1-10 every single day, where would you place yourself today? Where did you place yourself yesterday? Last week? Last month? I have a good friend who, every once in awhile, texts me and asks where I fall on the scale. Before going to China, we would have this conversation in person nearly every single day. I was most often sitting at a 7.25 average, however I would find it tough to be okay with this rating when my perfectionist mindset had always guided me to only strive for a 10. This dissonance usually pushed me down from the previously-attributed 7.25 to a steady 7. I would quickly learn that a 10 is usually temporary and unrealistic, but that never stopped me from trying to achieve.

And, while in China, the daily number was a bit lower. I struggled with this. And more so, I struggled with the haunting question, “How are you,” as it related to that specific, and ever-changing, situation. Let me be clear, “How are you,” is quite possibly the worst thing someone can hear when they absolutely don’t want to hear it. Consequently, it can also be the best thing for one to hear, if coming from the right person – someone who has an understanding of what it means to truly pause, and listen.

Quantifying how we feel has, what seems like forever, been a reasonable reflection question for feelers and inquirers alike. How is it that we know what we want, how we want it, and when we want it? Hell, how is it that we know why we ever want something? This very well could be the reason, when asked, one would simply assert, “I’m okay,” and move along. Reaching a 10 is nice and ideal and potentially the dream for many, but our own self isn’t the only factor assisting in this potential achievement. Sure, we do hold the keys to some of the more immediate needs we might have for ourselves, but ultimately this is not sustainable.

Thus, is a 7 really all that bad?

Thus, “Instructions For a Bad Day.”

Thus, rinse, wash, repeat.

To my fellow perfectionists, what does happen when we finally reach a 10? Are we then done? What is next? Will we be satisfied? In a world striving for 10s, my hope is that we can settle for somewhere between a 5-8, and virtually never actually achieve a 10. And while, at face-value, the video above is simply a compilation of a YouTube video’d documentary accompanied by Shane Koyczan’s spoken word poem, “Instructions For a Bad Day,” the message is ripe for us all.

People are carrying a lot.

Pain is real, and raw.

Each of us know someone who is experiencing pain.

Reach out to someone today. Befriend someone today. Give an honest answer to, “How are you?” And more importantly, give an honest space when people answer with an unapologetic and raw response. Help people share by listening with empathy and understanding. Pause. Seriously listen. Intentionally listen.

Be real. Be raw. March on today, every day.

Doing okay,



*jars photo taken by me while in China; second photo from the brilliant creative, Amber Rae

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