You’ll Never Say You Had a Bad Day Again
Back in my internship, during a couple’s therapy rotation, I was introduced to the phrase “BOTH/AND.” I remember it because I was perplexed by it.
Since then, this phrase has permeated every area of my life. It is one of my biggest secrets to navigating times where I feel like a failure or times where I feel like everything is going wrong.
BOTH / AND – Say What?!
What the heck does it mean?
Let me tell you a little story to illustrate. This morning, I was tired. I was so tired that I could not get out of bed on time. In fact, my kids were late for school. I was daydreaming about lying in bed all day watching the new season of the Bachelor. Did you watch?!
Have you ever had a bad morning that leads to a terrible day? It could have happened to me for sure. I was ripe for a day of…you guessed it…failure and misery.
When I got home. I forced myself to put on my walking shoes. I walked and walked and walked. The breeze brushed my face. I was struck by a sense of gratitude. I thought of how lucky I am to be married to a kind man, to have healthy children, and to be able to walk. I thanked God for the health of my parents. I appreciated the neighborhood. Gratitude washed over me.
Then, I started to sweat. I felt sticky, hot, and uncomfortable. I wanted to go home. I felt so tired.
What’s the point, doc?
Life is nuanced. Emotions are fleeting. Our emotional landscape LITERALLY changes with the wind.
I can be BOTH tired, disappointed in myself, feeling like I’m failing, AND I can feel the breeze brush my face, feel gratitude for my family, and enjoy the beauty of the neighbor’s garden AT THE SAME TIME …. IF I ALLOW MYSELF TO!!!!
As I write this, the truth is that I am tired. The truth is also that I am having a lovely day. Yes, there have been some hard moments, but there have also been some beautiful moments. I am not failing today; I am living. It is not a bad day. It is a nuanced day. Thank you, BOTH/AND.
Often, a bad morning can turn to a bad day. We “tune out” the things that are right in front of us and stay stuck in our heads.
Maybe our husband made one comment that rubbed us the wrong way, so we failed to notice that he also cooked dinner, picked up the kids, and complimented our outfit. We can be BOTH upset by the comment AND appreciative of the help and compliment at the same time if we allow ourselves to!
Remember the phrase BOTH/AND.
You can be sad that your son is getting married because you will see him less often AND be happy that he found his perfect match. You can be devastated that your mother is dying of cancer AND you can enjoy a dinner date with a friend. You can be in physical pain AND enjoy the warm breeze as you sit on your front porch.
One unpleasant moment is NOT THE END OF THE STORY.
Stay present and notice the nuance. Allow yourself to REALLY notice the moments as they unfold. Be curious about how your emotional landscape can shift throughout the day if you stay present. You will never again have a bad day. Every day will be FILLED with BOTH bad AND good. Every day is a nuanced day. Practice noticing, and it will change your life.
NEVER HAVE A BAD DAY AGAIN WITH THE STRATEGY OF BOTH/AND.
Don’t miss out on your life as it unfolds because you have already decided it’s a bad day.
Dr. Sumer Ledet Miguez is a licensed clinical, medical psychologist who operates a private practice in Lutcher, Louisiana specializing in the treatment of trauma and anxiety disorders.