An Open Letter to Anyone Having a Bad Week

Closeup of happy little boy aged 5 embracing his mother. The mother and boy are lit by soft light from the window.
Closeup of happy little boy aged 5 embracing his mother. The mother and boy are lit by soft light from the window.

Dear Anyone Having a Bad Week,

I'm sorry. I have no idea why your week is bad, or how bad it actually is. I don't know if this is just an isolated few crummy days, or if this is one week in a long succession of hard months -- or even years. I don't know if you've told anyone, if there's anything that could fix it or if it's made you rather unpleasant to be around. But I do know that I'm sorry that you're hurting, or stressed, or exhausted, or grieving, or frustrated, or depressed, or lonely, or scared or lost.

I thought about writing this letter in a couple of different ways. I thought about writing it about the things you could do to feel better: show yourself compassion, go outside and look at the trees, look at a baby photo of yourself. Or I thought about focusing the letter on how the "bad weeks" can actually be pretty beautiful, if you look at them the right way. I almost wrote those letters, and maybe at some point I will, but I think I ended up deciding that I wasn't writing to make anyone feel better -- I just want you to feel heard.

There's something about humans that makes us crave for our pain to be recognized. There is something inherently good and comforting in having someone say, "Yeah, that sounds really hard," or, "It really sucks that you have to deal with all that." Somehow, when our bad days are taken and acknowledged for what they are, it helps.

But unfortunately, that's not always the direction that society pushes us in. We have been taught that bad days are to be silently borne beneath a bright smile; that expressions of pain are uncomfortable; that no one likes you when you're in a bad mood; that suffering should be shunned.

I want you to know you can feel free to spill your bad day all over the place and wear it on the front of your shirt.

I want you to know that the expressions of your pain are beautiful and that I will try my very hardest to feel the hurt with you. I want you to know that your grumpy, stressed out, short-tempered self is just as awesome as your cheerful self. Please do not shun your suffering.

Because in expressing ourselves -- whether that means beaming on a day when you're happy for no reason or admitting how awful we feel walking out of a midterm -- we show ourselves and our world a kind of kindness. Because in expressing our feelings we allow them to be heard, and being heard is a form of healing.

In writing this, know that I hear you, and let yourself be healed. I hope your day turns around, and that even if it doesn't, you can still find a few moments of beauty and/or happiness amidst the crappiness. For all of you not having bad days -- carry on, and enjoy.

Sincerely,

Clara Wagner

This post originally appeared on Tufts Daily.