Do I Have A Bad Day If You Do?

I watched a YouTube video earlier today about a guy who was riding his bicycle and got called a name by a guy in a passing truck. He talked about how he immediately wondered what he was doing wrong that caused this. Did he act wrong, was he dressed wrong? What was it he did wrong?

Have you ever had a similar experience? Someone says something unkind and you wonder what you did wrong to cause that reaction. I think that’s a fairly normal response. Put your hand on the stove and it’s going to get burned, cut a guy off in traffic and you might see with a few interesting gestures made in your direction, cause and effect right?

Back to the video, he wondered what he did wrong for a while before realizing: He didn’t do anything wrong. Whatever caused the guy in the truck to call him a name had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the guy in the truck.

We often forget that just as we see the world through our own experiences, everyone else sees the world through their own, different set of experiences. Someone calls you a name from their truck, and we automatically review ourselves at that moment to find out what we were doing wrong. We only have that brief interaction and our own actions to review, and we forget that the person in the truck, who’s being rude, is perhaps living their life by completely different rules and had a completely different day.

Or at work, we make a small mistake and find ourselves in the boss’s office being reprimanded for how we handled it. We don’t understand why this small mistake warrants such a severe response. Maybe we get upset or maybe we quickly brush it off. Either way, we forget that the boss is looking at it through a different set of experiences.

As you go through your day, remember that everyone is making the best decisions they can, based on what their experiences have taught them.

Unfortunately, some people’s experiences have taught them that when they are feeling bad, they feel better if they share that bad feeling with others and that it’s perfectly okay to do that (for the record, it’s not).

So, how do we handle it if we end up on the receiving end?

  1. Realize that it’s not really about you. It’s about the other person and brush it off.
  2. If you can’t brush it off, get help in whatever form you need it.

What do you do when you’re on the receiving end of someone’s bad day?

If you’re interested, you can watch the video here.

10 thoughts on “Do I Have A Bad Day If You Do?

  1. Having had the misfortune of living the first 18 years of my life with a rather unkind person, I did learn not to take much stock in what other people’s bad days dump in my lap. However, when the person who had a bad day is CLOSE to you (husband, kids, anyone else who might be under your roof), it’s tough to step back. Good advice though!

  2. Hi Evie,
    Yes, this is one lesson I have I had to repeat to myself. It’s very freeing to realize you aren’t at the center of the universe and other people see the universe in a different way. Of course it never feels good to be yelled at or scolded but if you keep this in mind you can move past the incident faster.

  3. Great post! I’ll always remember the day a guy walked up to me on the streets of Durban and spat in my face. It was my first visit to Durban and being a youngster, I was so shocked that I didn’t react. I’d always wished I had run after him and boxed him on the ears or something, but reading your post makes me realise it wasn’t really about me was it…

  4. A long time ago a wise person told me that I needed to develop the back of a duck. You see ducks would drown if they couldn’t keep water from getting to their skin. So they developed a way to clean their feathers that left a resin on the feathers that water cannot penetrate. Water just rolls off their backs. So when someone is unkind we can be like ducks and just let it roll off our backs.

    There is a difference between being instructed and being put-down.

  5. Hi Evie,

    Keen point, one which many miss.

    What people think, feel or say about us has nothing to do with us. They view the world through their own set of glasses, just like us. It has everything to do with them, nothing to do with us. So true.

    I remind myself of this affirmation: “Respond, don’t react!” I repeat it after a resistance-laden instance with someone. By responding, we think before we act. By thinking, we see it’s silly to take the perceived slight personally, because it’s all about the other party, not us.

    Thanks for sharing your insight with us!


  6. Hi Evie,

    Having been extremely hyper-sensitive for most of my life, an incident like that would destroy my confidence for the next several days. Now, however, I’ve learnt that when people do what they do, it’s not about me and is all about them – their thoughts, feelings and beliefs. It’s very freeing to no longer take responsibility for other people’s bad behaviour….just my own!


  7. When I check out at the grocery or other place and the cashier or employee is rude, I am extra nice to that person. You would be surprised at how quickly their attitude changes. Chances are that throughout the day, people have been rude and nasty to them and they’re tired of being treated that way. It really makes a difference. I don’t take it personally that they’re unhappy, but I try to let them know that not everyone is mean. If a friend or someone else I know is having a bad day, I steer clear of that person, and again, I don’t take it personally unless I’ve done something to upset that person. Then I’ll try my best to communicate with him or her and straighten things out.

  8. This is a very good post and something that we need to remember. It’s not always about us. And we do need to remember that everyone is struggling with something at any given time. Does that give them the right to take things out on innocent people? No, but I know I can be guilty of letting my emotions get the best of me sometimes. Thanks for your insights! ~ Suerae

  9. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. I know its unconcventional to say, but we really don’t need to allow us to be so affected by what others say or think. If we our confident about ourselves then thats enough. But yes if we are caring, instead of asking ourselves are they right, ask ourselves, why would he feel like that, what has made him so angry, so stressed, then send him your love and wishes that he will have a better day. Then move on

  10. Hi Evie,

    I just brush it off. If I can speak to them I will say, “Sure hope your day gets better, hope I didn’t mess it up to much.” that usually straights them up real quick and maybe it helps them have a better day. Nice post and we all need to remember acts of kindness when the poor guy or gal i having a bad day.
    Thank again for sharing and blessing to you,

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