No More Crappy Days

Some years ago a young friend with growing pains asked me, “So what do you do when you’re having a crappy day?” I had to think really hard before replying “You know, I don’t have crappy days anymore.”

He looked at me incredulously, so I made up an answer to try to help him out. Find the cause of the crappy feeling and address it at its root – that kind of useless cliche. But privately I started to ask myself what had changed, and what better answer I could have given.

Crappy days in my youth

In my youth I had lots of crappy days. I was a moody, brooding teenager who slammed too many doors for my good. On my 21st birthday, friends celebrated for me with fireworks.  Instead of being ecstatic at the wonderful party they were throwing for me, I just wanted to crawl into a hole and be alone. What a pain I was!

How did I get from crappy days to happy days? I think I basically stopped thinking in a way that made me feel crappy. These were the three main culprits.

Culprit #1: Seeking what is ‘right’

The specific issue making my young friend miserable was not knowing what he wanted to do with his career. He wanted so much to make the ‘right’ decision that it was causing him to lose sleep. I know what it’s like to be afraid of choosing ‘wrongly’. When I was younger, the fear of marrying the ‘wrong’ person kept me from marrying at all.

The illusion of right vs wrong, good vs bad is one of the biggest causes of unhappiness. Knowing right from wrong is useful in helping us to determine who we want to be and how we want to live. But projecting them onto external events causes us to give reality to something that is merely in our minds. When we stop labelling every decision as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and cease to view every person as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, then we start to see past the labels to what just is.

Culprit #2: Valuing happiness over sadness

Viewing happiness as better than sadness ironically makes happiness elusive. Happiness and sadness are two sides of the same coin – one cannot exist without the other. How would you know something is hot if you didn’t know cold? It’s the same with happiness – we need sadness to define and appreciate happiness.

Learning to embrace all feelings as they come is the surest way to experience happiness to the full. At one point in my life I got sick of feeling sad, so I just stopped feeling altogether. Predictably, I couldn’t feel happiness either. I realised then that life was a roller-coaster ride of emotional ups and downs and I’d chosen to get off the train. So I got back on, accepting and even looking forward to the highs and lows. I’ve been having the ride of my life ever since.

Culprit #3: Thinking feelings are real

Feelings are real, and yet they’re not. Meditation reveals this dichotomy. Being able to observe our feelings as they drift in and out, like actors moving on and off a stage, helps us to understand that feelings are not really real. Yet just as white light is the sum total of all colours of the spectrum, our lives are made up of all our feelings and so feelings are part of our very real existence.

Understanding this, while difficult at first, allows us to appreciate happiness for what it is – unreal and impermanent, yet wonderful and to be enjoyed while it’s around. It’s like watching a good play and enjoying the emotions which the plot and actors bring out, yet knowing that we can leave the theatre any time. Once you can see life this way, you’ll be able to fully experience any feeling, including the crappy ones, and just leave them behind as you get on with your life.

Crappy days help us to grow

Sometimes, though rarely now, I still have crappy days. They’re not as bad as they used to be, and they don’t last long. But I’ve learned to celebrate them. They remind me how happy my other days are. It’s all part of life, and it’s all good.

So celebrate the crappy days when they come. Accept and enjoy your crappy feelings. And you know what? Someday you too will realise that you haven’t had crappy days in a long while.

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31 replies on “No More Crappy Days”

Dear Daphne,

Thanks for your enlightment. You said very well that “One person’s opinion or feeling about you does not make you who you are. Some famous person (I can’t remember who now) said “Your opinion of my is not my problem”” It soothes me.

I know the colleague who doesn’t talk to me because he does not like me. We talked about this bluntly because I once clarified my concerns with him. He put it on the table and said that yes, we don’t get along because not only we have vastly different views but also my work quality wasn’t up to “his” standard in his eyes. I told him that he only sees a log in others but never see the logs in his.

All my colleagues, including my boss, said that my work was of good quality. That colleague just tried to find things that I didn’t do so well on one occassion, picked on it to reconfirm his view towards me is right. He kept a book in his heart, marking down all my wrongs and accumulate it one by one. of course, this is hard to fight when one purposedly keep a log book and magnify one’s fault and that log book would not take into account my improvements. hanging on to old problems can make the log book thicker than ohone directory… so, his impression to me is hard to change.

What you just said – Your opinion of me is not my problem, helps me a lot. thanks.


Glad you were soothed by the writing of the post. As much as we’d like everybody to like us, this is statistically quite impossible. I’ve learnt to accept that no matter how hard I try or how good I am, at least 5% of the world won’t agree with me or like me.

Your colleague probably belongs to that 5% of people in your life you’re never going to win over, nor should you try as it will lead to a lot of heartache with very little progress. I’ve also learnt that when people lash out at us, the attack comes from their own hurts and insecurities. Your colleague very likely has issues of his own which make him react to you.

Over the years I try to take things less personally, recognising that others have their own inner worlds that cause them to act the way they do, and that their actions have very little to do with my inner world. I can only take care of my little world and let others take care of theirs.

Hope this comments helps a little, though it comes late. Thank you for trusting me enough to share your thoughts and struggles so openly here. I’ve learnt a lot from you and am inspired to continue blogging if it helps even one other person.

Hi Daphne
Thanks for sharing this observation. I’m the same way and people sometimes give me funny looks or express major disbelief. Like it’s not considered possible somehow. It flies in the face of beliefs.

I use similar points. Making it wrong. Holding on to stories of victimization. Taking it personally/making it personal…

It’s amazing how much lighter life is. But you have to be willing to let the old crap go. It’s only you who can do this…

@ Davidya,

I’m happy to find someone who agrees that this is possible! Yes sometimes people who don’t believe make us feel somehow unreal. I like your expression of a ‘lighter life’ and that is exactly how I feel too. Thanks for chipping in with your comment here… let’s both continue working on “letting the old crap go” 🙂

@ Ale,

Believe me, I’ve dug through a lot of dirt in my time 🙂 Glad you like the phrase and hope it helps you. Thanks for commenting, and sorry for this late reply.

Great article Daphne! You know what’s ironic? After I got sick with Crohn’s disease, I started having less crappy days. I was just so focused on survival and alleviating my pain, I didn’t have time to feel crappy about the future. Isn’t that funny?

Josh Lipovetksy.

My life used to be all crappy days, lol. I had stopped myself feeling anything, when I finally learned to feel again it was wonderful. I had two years of turmoil and depression but now I have changed the way I look at things and I understand completely what your post is about. I am hapier than I have ever been, even with the crappy days, because I can appreciate all the good things in my life and now have a totally different perspective on things.

Hi Daphne,

I’ve a few crappy days every month. I thought about what happened too. It is mostly caused by my feelings which I believe it is real. I found that my feelings are linked to what others say to me. For example, I have a colleague in my same team (whom I didn’t get along quite well with). If I saw him talking to everybody else, except me, I felt left out and I “felt” bad. This bad feeling bugged me and distracted my concentration from work. I want to not to “feel” anything for his acts or for what he says. I don’t want my emotions to be led by others. But I don’t know how to get out of this “feeling”. My heart does pound faster if someone said something that hurts me or if someone gave me starring look (i will think what did i do that makes them don’t like me). See, I care what people think of me. I know you’ve a blog on this. I’ll re-read once again.

So, i’ve one main issue here still – how to feel calm and not be hurt, even others don’t agree with me or don’t like me fully?

@ Candy,

Feelings are real on one level, yet it is possible, with enough practice, to let go of these feelings and see things with more clarity and calmness of mind. Your perception of your colleague is very much in your own mind and there could be so many explanations why he doesn’t talk to you. And you know what? Even if he doesn’t talk to you because he doesn’t like you, it really doesn’t matter. One person’s opinion or feeling about you does not make you who you are. Some famous person (I can’t remember who now) said “Your opinion of my is not my problem” or something like that. Yet you’re right that these little things can get us down and I’ve been there many times. I too let others’ opinions get to me and I’m still working on it myself so hopefully we’ll both be able to care less what others think.

@ Dawn,

It’s great to hear that you’re at the happiest stage of your life so far. And who knows, things may continue to get even better! Yes, even the crappy days can be fun in their own way, simply because they help us appreciate the other days better. Thanks for sharing your experience here and encouraging other readers by doing so.

Hi Daphne,

I can really relate to ‘Crappy is good too’. As you know, most guys in Singapore would hate to serve our National Service in the Army. I’m no exception. However, thinking back to my Army days now, it does bring back some pretty good memories. So it is true that you are able to find fond memories in crappy times too.



@ Megan,

Yes it’s hard to explain. I do still feel sadness sometimes, even for hours on end. But I’ve come to value those feelings too, knowing that they mean I’m alive with healthy emotions. A sad day is not a bad day for me, but a good day in its own way. Funnily enough I’m reaching a point where I can’t feel happiness without sadness, nor sadness without a kind of joy, all the while knowing that all these feelings are fleeting. And you’re right – there’s a hope and calm that comes with this. Thanks for coming back to read the post, even if it put you off the first time. You’re a brick!

@ Giovanna,

Thank you for your encouraging comment, as usual. I love that saying you quoted (by the way, I think you are very wise yourself). Gratitude cures lots of crappiness!

@ Knallan,

You’ve hit the nail on the head. Without these crappy days there could be no clappy days 🙂 Good to know that you can relate to the post – makes me feel less alone. Thanks for leaving a comment!

@ Mark,

In hindsight the bad times were actually quite good times eh? Those times that I was annoyed or miserable now provide lots of laughs when I look back and think how silly I was, and how grumpy I must have looked then… 🙂 Glad that you have fond memories of NS, and probably a few close buddies too!


Thanks for a great post. I definitely could relate to many things in it. I specifically enjoyed #2 because “we need sadness to define and appreciate happiness” really is the truth (at least in my opinion), and that is why we also need crappy days, even if they don’t necessarily feel so good…


Hi Daphne,

Great post! I like this topic very much. Someone very wise once told me “When you’re not happy, it’s because you’re not grateful for what you have.” I think that does it for me. 🙂
Thanks for sharing.
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

You know, I started to read this a couple days ago (when I was feeling a bit low) and stopped because I was afraid you were going to tell us how you never have bad days anymore! How comforted I was when I saw that it’s not that, per se, but instead it’s that you don’t label the days or deem one (happy) better than another (sad).
Along those lines, I guess I, too, could joyfully say I don’t have crappy days anymore either! Yet at times it feels like I do. Must be that happens when I’m judging the crap as being stinky crap and not just letting the high’s and low’s work themselves out.
You have me thinking… And extremely hopeful. Thank you!

@ Tamsin / Nudgeme,

Thanks for the warm note. It was nice to focus on being offline for a few weeks. I don’t even remember sitting at my desk for ages, yet it’s nice to be back, and especially to hear from you again! It’s so easy to think our feelings are real and therefore we are subject to their strength. Fighting them is no use, but looking at them for the mist that they really are helps that mist to dissipate and allows light into our lives again. I knew you would understand, and am glad for a soulmate in you.

@ Tess,

I’m growing too, but it’s so much more fun growing now that I don’t succumb to negative feelings the way I used to. Thanks for your shining example of humility. I have a lot to learn from you.

@ Davina,

Thanks for the welcome. I like your analogy of being in the driver’s seat, and the examples of questions to ask that can put us there. I wish I’d known these questions much sooner, but I guess learning from first-hand experience is most impactful.

@ Vered,

Thanks. Accepting life as it is, is a lifelong journey for me.

@ Broderick,

I used to have lots of crappy days too. It’s nice to know that we can break the cycle and change direction. Sometimes a change of mind can result in a change in life in a second!

@ JM,

Thank you so much for your comment. Readers like you make it worthwhile writing for this blog, and I’m encouraged to continue. Thank you once again.

@ Hilary,

It can be so hard seeing the other side when we’re well and truly plonked on one side. For me it sometimes takes months or years to see the other side, yet when I do it all seems so obvious. Thanks for your wonderfully encouraging comment, as always.

@ Arswino,

Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment. You always do, and I’m grateful.

@ Jocelyn,

Thanks for the welcome, and for being here! I’m grateful for your online friendship. I used to have a lot of anger too, and you’re right about the vicious cycle… these negative emotions seem to feed off themselves. Age helps a little in enabling us to let go… just the energy it takes to be angry is now getting too much for me! Glad you’re forging your way forward too.

@ Jarrod,

Finding what is “constant, consistent and blissful inside”… what a lovely phrase! I get the sense of quiet waterfalls and verdant meadows when I read your words, and that’s indeed a nice ‘place’ to be.

@ Jodi,

Good to know you don’t have crappy days anymore too. For a while I wondered if I was fast becoming abnormal 🙂 Yes I do still feel sad and frustrated sometimes, but never to the point of feeling crappy anymore, and certainly those fleeting feelings don’t affect my entire day, just a few minutes. Thanks for sharing and letting me know I’m not alone.

@ Dani / PP,

Thanks for your comment, and I’m so glad you can relate.

Hi Daphne. Good to have you back. What I’ve been “learning” or practicing is that when I do feel “crappy” I stop to ask myself what I’ve been telling myself. Usually I recognize that negative mind chatter has been going on and if I’m not aware of it… I start to buy into it. Just noticing and asking myself, “Do you really believe that?” or if I do, “What do I want to do about it?” Helps to put me back in the driver’s seat.

Hi Daphne

How lovely to see your post this morning … I was wondering where you’d got to! Hope the technical problems have now got sorted, and I’m sure it was nice to get off line and connect with ‘real’ life for a bit. Would be good to hear more about the pleasant revelatons you mention.

As always, great, thought provoking post Daphne. Really agree with your point 3 – it can be so easy to believe that a thought or feeling is real when in fact it’s only as real as you make it. I’ve found this can be a hard concept for people, especially when they are going through particularly difficult times when thoughts can feel very real in the moment. As with your example of watching actors in a play, a good way to deal with this can be to put yourself in third person position. Imagine you’re standing outside yourself looking in, a bit like you’re watching yourself through a lens. Just by creating this distance you will begin to feel one step removed from the crappy feelings, and thus more detached – then thoughts often change quite quickly from that new perspective.

All the best for now Daphne and looking forward to your next post!


Hi Daphne,

I love this post, especially when you said : “Happiness and sadness are two sides of the same coin – one could not exist without the other.”
Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂

Hi Daphne .. thanks – this is a really excellent post.

I love that idea of the opposites being on the same side of the coin ..

so negative and positive are too – just tip the coin and meld the negative into a positive – the negative has happened, but the positive coming out of that moment is in the future – take the future and move forward.

Thanks – great way of expressing our ups and downs .. Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

just wanted to thank you most sincerely for writing. i’ll be reading for as long as you will write. heres to many happy days ahead 🙂

Man, I used to have a lot of crappy days. I feel awareness rising more and more everyday now though. If I feel like momentum is carrying the day in a direction I don’t want it to, I know I’m free to stop it at anytime and shift it. I guess I just wasn’t aware that there were tools to do that.

You know, now that I think about it, I don’t have crappy days anymore, either. That’s exciting! I have moments of frustration but I’m always slightly amused by them because I know it’s my own drama and I just need to step back, determine my next step and move on. I like your advice to embrace all emotions because sadness and happiness are two sides of the same coin. This is insightful. Your friend is fortunate for having come to you with his problem.

#3 is a serious issue I see in people (and offcourse have experienced myself). We get confused with ‘I am angry’, ‘I am sad’, ‘I am happy’ instead of discovering what is constant, consistent and blissful inside.

And that place is a wonderful place to be.

Glad to hear from you again! “Learning to embrace all feelings as they come”, is something I’ve been appreciating more and more. When I was younger, I had a lot of trouble when I start feeling angry. You see, feeling angry was a sin, as I’ve been taught. So when I feel angry, I feel I’m really doing something bad and so the more I feel angry of the person that made me angry! What a vicious cycle indeed. Learning to accept where I am and forgive myself has also helped me to accept and forgive other people.

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