What is something someone said that forever changed your way of thinking?
The users of the social network Reddit wrote about when and where they heard the words which changed their life.
Here is a selection of interesting stories:
1. When I was 38 I contemplated beginning a two year Associates Degree in Radiography. I was talking to a friend and had almost talked myself out of doing it. I said "I'm too old to start that. I'll be 40 when I get my degree." My friend said "If you don't do it, you'll still be 40, but without the degree." I'm nearly 60 now, and that degree has been the difference between making a decent living, and struggling to get by.
2. My mom was dying. A friend told me "you have your whole life to freak out about this-- don't do it in front of her. "
It really helped me to understand that my feelings are not always what's important. It IS possible to delay a freakout, and that skill has served me innumerable times.
A Jump in the Pool
3. I was 13 years old, trying to teach my 6 year old sister how to dive into a swimming pool from the side of the pool. It was taking quite a while as my sister was really nervous about it. We were at a big, public pool, and nearby there was a woman, about 75 years old, slowly swimming laps. Occasionally she would stop and watch us. Finally she swam over to us just when I was really putting the pressure on, trying to get my sister to try the dive, and my sister was shouting, "but I'm afraid!! I'm so afraid!!" The old woman looked at my sister, raised her fist defiantly in the air and said, "So be afraid! And then do it anyway!"
That was 35 years ago and I have never forgotten it. It was a revelation -- it's not about being unafraid. It's about being afraid and doing it anyway.
A Serious Relationship
4. When I was young and having what I thought was a serious relationship talk with my first real SO, I told her that I just wanted to find the right person.
Without missing a beat she said, "Everybody is looking for the right person, and nobody is trying to be the right person."
That stopped me in my tracks.
5. I met a person who was in a wheelchair. He related a story about how a person once asked if it was difficult to be confined to a wheelchair. He responded, "I'm not confined to my wheelchair - I am liberated by it. If it wasn't for my wheelchair, I would be bed-bound and never able to leave my room or house. "
The Most Interesting Person
6. "The person that you will spend the most time with in your life is yourself, so try to make yourself as interesting as possible. "
A Precious Lesson
7. My old boss, the CEO of a small hospital, told me a story from back when he was a lab technician (for simplicity, let's call him Dan). Dan had forgotten to check some sort of mechanism on a piece of equipment he used, it malfunctioned and broke the equipment which ended up having around a $250,000 repair bill. The next day Dan's boss called him in to talk about it, and he was sure he was going to be fired. His boss asked him why he didn't do a proper check, made sure he understood what happened and sent him back to work. Dan asked him "Am I not getting fired? I was almost sure that's what this was about." His boss said "No way, I just spent $250,000 teaching you a lesson you'll never forget. Why would I fire you now?"
8. "You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm".
Really hit home for me, since I grew up trying to mediate my parents' issues and had multiple friends in and out of the ER for mental health crises during my teen years, among other things. As someone who spent the majority of her life feeling like she had to take care of others at all costs, it was kinda a shock to the system to hear that I was allowed to have my limits even with people who truly needed help.
A Ride in the Bus
9. A small thing, but vastly more important than it sounds:
I was sitting in a bus once, and we came to the railroad tracks. There were some cars sitting inbetween us and the next red light, so if a train came, we'd be stuck until it had passed. That was always a couple of annoying minutes.
Then the light turned green, and the bus went across the train tracks without having to wait for a train. Pheew, crisis averted. Then, behind me, a mother said to her small child:
"That was too bad, we didn't get to see the train today."
That was the perfect way to frame that. Why not enjoy what you get?
10. My psychologist gave me a print of a picture of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet in the forest. This is the quote that went with it:
"Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Supposing it didn't," said Pooh.
After careful thought, Piglet was comforted by this.
I think about it when I'm catastrophising and it is really helpful for calming down and thinking rationally about whatever situation I'm in.