Listeners Reveal Things People Said In Passing That Totally Changed Their Way Of Thinking.
You can read a book or watch a film, certain epiphanies can happen. But some of the most profound things that change your perspective are shared in passing by someone close, maybe even a stranger.
Here are some of things people heard that totally changed their point of view.
Many thanks to the Reddit user who posed this question and to those who responded. You can check out more answers from the source at the end of this article!
1/21. I was addicted to heroin at the time, my favorite uncle was in hospice with cancer... I felt so guilty because I took some of his pain killers months before.. I went to see him the day before he died and he could barely talk but when he saw me the first words he said were "I love you so much" he kept saying it and he was clearly using all his energy to say it.. I broke down when he said and it really helped me get my life on track.
2/21. My brother and I used to argue all the time as kids. I don't remember what we were arguing about, but at one point he was talking about how I get mad at him and he said, "you're nice to everyone all the time, but I let you yell at me cuz the anger has to go somewhere." Stopped me dead in my tracks.
We're super close now, and never argue.
3/21. Therapist said to me, "If I could show you a picture of what it will look like when you get there, you'd have no concerns about trying. But I can't, so you'll just have to trust me; it's going to be worth it."
4/21. "I love you more than life itself, but you have turned into a sad, toxic person."
My mom opened my eyes.
5/21.In the mid-80s I was halfway through Med School and was kind of an immature conservative with immature conservative values. (It was mostly from having a somewhat sheltered Catholic upbringing and not really having seen the world.)
Anyway, one of my classmates was a married female who had kept her maiden name. This was still a relatively uncommon thing back then, so I asked her why she hadn't taken her husband's last name. I then expected myself to be in the midst of a feminist conversation about gender roles and blah blah blah. Instead she said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "I love my father-in-law very much and think he's a great guy.
But he's not the one who worked his butt off, struggling with two jobs so he could afford to put me through undergrad and med school. I want it so every time MY dad drives by my office, he'll see HIS name on the shingle out front, since he's the guy who is responsible for my being here."
Never before had such a simple statement so utterly flipped my opinion on an issue 180 degrees so quickly. In fact, I can't even tell this story to people verbally now, 35 years later, without tears welling up in my eyes. And I often try to think about this story as an example of how much are opinions are shaped by one's perspective. So I really try to look at things from the other person's point of view before dismissing their opinions.
6/21. During an extreme depression after my ex-fiance left me, my birthday was shortly after. My mom sent me a birthday card that said:
"You may not be the winning horse right now, but you're the only one I'll ever bet on."
My brother: The test of man is not how far he will go to win, but how far he will go when he has already lost.
7/21. My sister once told me that I had a major role in her developing depression.
When I was younger, I absolutely hated her and just hammered on her non stop with criticism and insults. She was more of a passive person so I never got the same level of backlash that I had dealt. I was about 5 years younger than her and everyone from the outside would just consider it brother and sister hijinks. I had matured, moved on and forgotten about the torment I used to put her through. It's easy to brush things off when no on is hammering you on it but when those words escaped her lips, all the vivid memories of what I said and thought came rushing back. It's been 10+ years now but I still feel like there isn't much I could ever do to get her her sanity back.
So, be nice to your siblings people. You don't always have to get along but someday they'll be the only ones in your life left so don't take them for granted and don't treat them badly.
8/21. Even "no update" is an update.
This completely changed the way I dealt with business partners and clients.
9/21. I accidentally saw my father's W2 when we were in his home office while he was helping me out with something. I asked him if he ever resented me and all of my siblings because if he didn't have to pay to raise all of us, he and my mother could've been ballin', doing pretty much anything and everything they wanted.'
He looked me dead in the eye and said, "not even for a second. If it wasn't for you guys and wanting to give you all a good life, I never would've been motivated to work as hard as i did."
This was almost 25 years ago and I still remember it clear as day. Even though I didn't have kids at the time, I instantly had a new understanding into what being a good parent involves.
10/21. As I was walking home with my SO we were walking through a relatively expensive part of town with many fancy homes and I remarked "What I'd give to live in a place like that."
She replied "It would be awesome but I'm sure some people look at our home and say the same thing." Really made me appreciate the things I have.
11/21. "Forgiveness can't change the past but it can change the future."
My mom told me she got the message in a fortune cookie. It really resonated with her because my dad was about to come home from prison and instead of her resenting him and making everyone miserable she decided to change her attitude and change their future. It ultimately saved their marriage.
She told me this when I was going through a really difficult time with my SO. I haven't exactly mastered the art of forgiveness but I'll never forget how powerful it can be.
12/21. My buddy John was dying of cancer and I was helping him out daily, he said a few times. "Mike, you need to stop worrying about things like that because you could end up like me and it won't matter."
13/21. My dad had been diagnosed with lung cancer in May. In June, he told me "No matter what happens, I have lived a good life." In July, just before my 20th birthday, he lost his battle. My dad came from nothing. His mom passed away when he was 3 and his dad was not around. He lived on the street and would sleep on playgrounds. He worked his way up to an executive spot in a small company over 30 years. To hear him say that he lived a good life brought me to peace with the situation and I am now thankful for every day.
14/21. Not huge or anything, but I read a quote somewhere that was like "Take the stairs. Enjoy it while you can. You're going to miss them when you're not physically able to take them anymore."
Now the only time I take an elevator or escalator is when I'm with other people.
15/21. "Stop worrying about what people think of you; mostly, they don't."
16/21. My father passed away about a year-and-a-half ago and it was a struggle for me at first but eventually I started to cope. He died at 50 and I was only 23. It was a rough go for a while.
Awhile back I was reading a thread online about something similar to this and somebody posted a comment along the lines of "when I asked my boss how he could be so calm about a stressful situation he told me that "someday someone you love will die and this stuff just won't be as big a deal."
It seriously changed my thinking. Because it's true. I feel this way everyday, I'm always calm and stress free and it's because that is my mindset. After losing my dad things just got put into perspective.
17/21. A friend of mine was very into martial arts and had been taking classes for years. One day he was telling me about starting taekwando all over again from the white belt stage. I asked him why and he said because every teacher teaches differently and learning the same thing with a different method will only make you better.
The logic is that in learning something, you'll have a lot of questions that will either go unanswered or that you'll attempt to figure out yourself. Learning it a second time might fill in those gaps.
For some reason that reasoning had a profound impact on me. Since then, when people explain things to me that I already know, I listen because I lose nothing if they tell me nothing new but I'll miss out if I could've learned something.
18/21. "We judge ourselves by our intentions, but others by their actions."
19/21. I was a selfish egocentric jerk back in the day. Even if I had a brother and a sister, I wanted all to myself. I used to like very much cheese, any type of cheese.
One day I went to visit my aunt in Italy and we crossed the border in France, she bought like 20 types of different cheese and when we returned home, she opened all of those 20 packages and made me taste from each one of it. I asked why was she doing that, because it's her cheese. And her answer was: "What is more beautiful than sharing what you like with the people you love?"
20/21. Professor of mine took me and a classmate to his office, I don't remember why. Outside on his board is a picture of 3 little, I wanna say Guatemalan girls.
"See those kids?" he says. "Happier than anybody you know. Anybody. And they have just nothing. Wanna know why?"
We had no idea.
"Gratitude. What little they have, they are so thankful for, especially for each other."
It was so off the cuff, we were talking about something else and then we went right back to it, but I was just like shit did this man just reveal the fundamental secret to happiness to me in like 15 seconds? Yes, he definitely did.
21/21. My mom says this changed her life, and I to this day can't believe the words came out of my mouth.
When I was 7, my great aunt and uncle who my mom was super close with her entire life were brutally murdered in an attempted robbery of their home. The murderer was the son of their neighbor - he had broken into the wrong home and freaked out and killed them in a panic.
She was devastated, obviously. I remember she wouldn't tuck us in or eat dinner with us for months. She became a shell of the person she was before. Just wasn't my mom anymore.
So one day, in my 2nd grade class, we were for some reason learning about coping skills and depression.
I didn't know the specifics of what had happened at the age of 7 obviously, but apparently that day when my mom got home from work, I asked her if I could walk her out to the end of the driveway before she went on her run (REALLY long driveway). She of course agreed, and during this 5 minute walk to the end of the driveway the conversation went something like this:
Me: "Mom. You've been sad lately."
Mom: "Yeah, I have honey. Mommy is just going through a lot of stuff right now."
Me: "Because of Aunt xxx and Uncle yyy?"
-silence until we get to the end of the driveway-
Me: "Have you heard of coping skills?"
Mom: "Coping skills? Where did you hear that?"
Me: "We learned about coping skills in class today. When bad stuff happens people get sad. Sometimes they need help using their coping skills to feel better. I think you need coping skills."
My mom basically broke down crying and laughing because how is this 7 year old saying this to me and hugged me. She assured me she would and told me to go back inside.
She admitted to me when I was much older that she didn't know what would've happened to her if I hadn't asked her to go get help. It's honestly crazy to me because I have very little memory of the event beyond her story. I remember her being sad, and I remember her getting better, but I don't remember being the reason for it.
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Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.