When A Quote Hits Just Right
At a recent run club meetup, one of my friends said something that has stuck with me and made me think about my self-care practice. I have heard similar quotes before, but this time something stuck. She said someone mentioned to her:
“Did you have a bad day or a bad moment you let take over your day?”
My ears immediately perked and I automatically found some sentimentality in it. As I mentioned before, I have heard similar lines of thinking have occupied my pages on TikTok and Instagram Reels (yes I do both, don’t judge me). In these, a narrator talks about the number of seconds in a day as a comparison to the amount of money. Would you throw away the whole lot for just a small fraction? Would you be consumed by the small amount and forget about the bigger picture?
Truth Time: I have had some pretty shitty days (yeah, I am not apologizing for language), but when I read this quote (or hear it), I wonder if they were bad days or if I just let one bad moment distort my image of the day in retrospect or throw my day off track from the start.
Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria
As a neurodivergent person living with ADHD, I am prone to what is known as rejection sensitivity dysphoria (RSD). Yes, there is a medical term for people who are terrible at dealing with rejection, and yes, I think it is something we should take seriously and not just brush those of us who struggle with it off as weak or sensitive. I invite you to read more about RSD here in this Psychology Today article.
To be brief, RSD makes it challenging to receive negative criticism and not take it personally. I struggle when bad things happen, especially when those things have a negative viewpoint on my self-worth. Even when it is not a true negative comment geared at me, I can perceive negativity at any point when I feel threatened. As my wife has learned, it doesn’t take much to throw off my whole day.
I have had days that I would look back on and generally think they are good in terms of the proportion of that day that had good moments. However, then I would have a meeting, get absolutely destroyed and critiqued on my pastoral leadership, go home to my wife, and talk about how bad my “day” was (not my meeting, my day). I am sure many of us have been there, and that is just an end-of-day meeting that shifts my mindset in reflecting on the day as a whole.
Sometimes the bad moments start my day. I get to the office and someone decides they want to call and yell at me, or I get notice that something is wrong. Well, my entire day is now derailed. I can think of nothing else, and my brain is honestly useless. I have thrown away an entire day because I couldn’t move past one moment that started my day.
While my experience of RSD may exacerbate these experiences it is not solely to blame for the distortion of how I view my day. The fact is for many of us there are things that can so easily skew how we view what our day looks like or even how we approach our day on a moment-by-moment basis. We then end up treating the day as a whole and judging it based on very specific moments, instead of allowing moments to be moments.
There is a particular strength in not allowing one moment to control your day.
For me, it is hard to leave rejection behind. It is hard to move past it. It sticks with me for a while, and it ruins my day. One comment, one phone call, or one thing, can throw off my day.
Time to Ask “Why?”
Why can’t I find the strength to allow a moment to stay there? Why do I have to carry it with me, and feel bad the rest of the day?
Many of you will remember in the recap I wrote on my Monument Ave 10k race experience, I talked about my thought process on a bad race day experience (and if you haven’t read it: click here). I even used a Ted Lasso meme, Be A Goldfish.
However, there is more to it than this sense of just forgetting and moving on, because sometimes it is not that simple. Problems persist, sometimes don’t go away, and we continue feeling beaten down. We may judge our whole day, week, month, or even year on singular moments that don’t really deserve the space they occupy.
Questions We Are Left With
- How do we process this?
- How do we come to a point where a bad moment only defines the moment it happens in?
Unfortunately, I cannot offer a cut-and-dry answer. Though it often starts with the process of allowing a moment to be a moment and knowing the strength we do have to move beyond it.
Self-Worth and Self-Care
I think it begins with an understanding of self-worth.
Self-worth is about our own perceived value as human beings, centering on the respect we deserve as a basic nature of humanity. We deserve to be loved and respected by the very nature of being a human being on this earth (no other conditions attached). We know that when negativity is directed towards our self-worth it is not who we truly are. This is often a task that is easier said than done.
At its most basic understanding, self-worth tells us that we are more than the critiques that are getting thrown at us. Self-worth tells us we matter regardless of our external circumstances.
Now this does not exempt us from personal reflection. This does not mean we can go around being jerks and defend ourselves when pushed back against as “this is just who we are”. We still live and exist on the basis of loving ourselves and loving others where this idea of self-care is founded. However, it does mean we can better separate the constructive from the destructive. Self-worth allows us to identify boundaries that respect our spiritual, mental, and emotional health. Self-worth can allow us to discern between a bad moment and a bad day.
Focus on the Moments
In fact, the more we focus on moments, we can find ways to turn bad moments into good days (or at least decent ones). Moments can be very powerful, and positive self-worth can help create a sense of power to let moments be just moments.
Though we can get bogged down in the minutia of a bad moment, when we let the negative moments control us, we become defined by the negative. Whereas, if we can allow a bad moment to be just that, a bad moment, we can process the negative and move forward with who we are called to be.
There is a manner of self-reflection that guides this way of living. Self-care invites us to live more reflective lives so that these moments don’t have the power over us that we may often give them.
How much power does one moment truly deserve before it begins dictating our lives?
If we are going to allow a moment to take over, then what power do we give to the other small things in our lives?
By giving bad moments so much power over our days we allow them to take over brain space they don’t deserve. Self-care and self-worth help us shed these destructive moments and help us move past these negative moments. We can also decipher whether they are constructive or destructive moments and either learn or let go of them, releasing their power and focusing on our true worth.
Do you have bad days or bad moments? And if it is a bad moment, why did we give it so much power over our lives?