People Share The Most Profound And Hard-Hitting Thing Someone Ever Told Them

Life is a constant learning experience. Unfortunately, there are many lessons we have to learn the hard way. Sometimes, it takes more than one mistake to finally internalize the lesson. Other times, though, the biggest lessons we learn in life don’t come from our own experience, but from the advice of other people.

Whether we choose to take their nuggets of wisdom is one thing, but talking to other people and hearing their perspective on a certain situation can offer meaningful insight. Tough love and brutal honesty can have the most impact on our lives. Just ask the following people, who recently shared the most profound and hard-hitting thing someone ever told them.

Don’t forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 Walk Tall

My 10th-grade teacher pulled me to the side as I was entering the class and told me, “Walk with your head up.” I don’t think he knows how much that helped me. It’s a saying you hear all the time, but for some reason, it had more of an impact to hear it from him directly, knowing the struggles he had been through himself.


#2 Memories Worth Remembering

“If it’s between saving $100 or going to that movie, or concert, or festival you’ve always wanted to go to, just go. A year from now, you won’t remember where that $100 went, but you’ll sure as heck remember that memory you made with it.” I have lived by this saying since I heard it. Money shouldn’t matter, memories should. So go out and make them!


#3 Family First

My father had been diagnosed with cancer a month after he retired. I had four kids and was trying to get a new business off the ground, so I didn’t have much time to see him. One day, my sister and mother, who had been providing the bulk of the caregiving, asked me to come for a few hours so they could do some shopping (and clear their heads a bit).

I spent the afternoon and told him I was sorry I hadn’t been to see him much. He told me, “You have your own family now. Your wife and daughters have to come first. Any time you have for me is appreciated, but never feel bad about making your family the priority.” I’ve carried that with me over the past 14 years, and I always fall back on that when there are conflicts for my time and attention.


#4 Running From The Haters

This was not said directly to me, but I overheard some guys on my track team talking poorly about me (they didn’t know I was standing there). They weren’t even friends of mine, but I was doing very well on the team that year and earned a spot on the varsity team which is something that had never happened to me before. These guys were saying I didn’t deserve to be there, and that really screwed me up, as I’m a pretty shy, quiet guy, and usually, don’t elicit that kind of reaction out of people.


#5 Time To Get Help

My mother once told me, “I think you’ve been miserable your entire life,” in regards to my depression. It may sound like a horrible thing to hear, but she was not trying to upset me. She was basically saying, you’ve done everything you can by yourself to try to get out of this depression, but I think it’s always been there, so you need help.


#6 Not The Last Time

My team sergeant lost his life in front of me by an IED on my last deployment. He was a mentor of mine and we were particularly close. After we put him on the helicopter, the team commander pulled me aside and told me: “This isn’t the last time this is going to happen. For what it’s worth, he thought you were a good NCO.” It was hard enough seeing him go, but somehow knowing he thought that I was good, that he thought I would be alright, made it hurt more. I still miss him.


#7 All Stress Is Relative

A coworker once told me, “All stress is relative. You have no right to undermine what some else is going through, no matter how small their situation is compared to your stress.” I think about it a lot. He was so right, I was young and being a jerk. Unless you are in another person’s shoes, you have no idea what that person is really going through.


#8 Not The Child’s Choice

After the birth of my first child, my aunt told me, “This is your responsibility. This child didn’t ask to be here. It didn’t ask for you as a mother, it didn’t ask for him as a father. It’s going to be hard, but it’s not his fault he is here.” It really made me step up and try my hardest to be a good mother. I hear her voice every time I see a news story about child abuse or neglect.


#9 Swimming With Pride

“I’m so proud of you,” my swim coach said to me after I came in last, five minutes after everybody else. I realized then that nobody had ever been proud of me before for something I didn’t succeed in. Everybody shows pride when you succeed. When you give your best and come up short anyway, having someone still be proud of your effort means the absolute world.


#10 Sharing Feelings With Father

When I turned 18, I rebelled and lost my way. It broke my parents’ hearts. Even after I went to rehab and cleaned up, my dad wouldn’t tell me he loved me or that he was proud of me. He’s ex-military and grew up with a very strict father. It wasn’t until my husband called him before our wedding and told him that all I ever wanted to hear was that he loved me that my dad started talking to me again.

 Since that phone call, my dad and I talk every day. Today, he told me I was a beautiful mother to my children. I’ve always held him in the highest regard. I still struggle with my vices, but he stays by my side and cheers me on… Now, I am sure to let my kids know how proud I am of them and how much I love them.


#11 Strangers Will Need You

Not me, but a friend of mine was drinking a soda at work and a woman did the whole, “Why soda? Water’s better for you,” kind of thing and he said he just didn’t have a good reason to switch. Then, she said, “Son, there are people you haven’t even met yet who are going to need you here.” I never forgot it. I quit just a month or so after that and I remember it whenever I’m about to do open another can of diabetes.


#12 Self-Conscious Smiling

Never make fun of someone’s laugh because they will be self-conscious about being happy. No one should ever feel afraid to be happy or show positive emotions. Waking up to gold is a beautiful thing!


#13 Truthful About Ties

I was at an interview recently and there was a young man about my age who turned to me and said, “Hey, bro, can you help me tie this necktie? I didn’t have a dad to teach me growing up so I still don’t know how to do it.” That really struck my heartstrings. The fact that this man, who I barely even knew, felt confident revealing something so vulnerable to me made me instantly respect him. It was strange, but I got the impression that he was someone I could be good friends with. We both got hired. I look forward to working with him soon.


#14 Smart Enough To Study

“I don’t think you’re smart enough for this,” said my dad in my first week of university. I told him I liked a challenge. Now I have my master’s degree and I’m working full-time. At my graduation, he told me he was really proud of me and only said it because he knew it would make me work harder to prove him wrong.


#15 Learning To Love

“I feel like you’re so used to being treated as subhuman by everyone in your life that you don’t know how to handle it when someone approaches you, listens to you, and responds with unconditional care. You expect there to be some kind of catch. You’ve never felt the kind of love you deserve, so you don’t know how to respond to it.”

This was roughly quoted from a friend who was a prominent father figure to me. I frequently apologized for bothering him with my issues or venting out of the blue because I didn’t want to bring him down, and he dropped that bombshell as he was reassuring me. Really… he’s not wrong. I’ve had girlfriends, best friends, a big loving family… but my closest friends treated me as if I was lesser than them.

Every relationship in my life, while I value them immensely, has always had a catch, and I’d never felt like someone has truly just listened to me, respected me, and loved me with all their heart. He’s a remarkable man. Thanks to him, I’m a much better person than I would have been had I dealt with all I was dealing with without a role model helping me channel that energy with love and positivity.

And thanks to him showing me how to be a good friend, I was able to mend a very, very hurt relationship. I chalk having my best friend up to him helping me see what it means to support somebody, and express my appreciation for them openly and often. It honestly completely changed the way I treated personal relationships, and I thank him every day for it.


#16 Expecting Good

“Being good to people won’t make them good to you.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not everybody will reciprocate your kindness, which is not to say that you can’t live your life being kind… It just means you need to lower your expectations of others and realize that not everybody is going to have the same mindset as you.


#17 Handsome Husband

A “friend” once asked me if I knew my boyfriend (who is now my husband) was out of my league. This was many, many years ago but since then I have been VERY aware that I am lucky that my husband even considered looking at me twice, never mind marrying me! Makes me grateful… but I have cripplingly low self-esteem about the way I look or come across to others.


#18 No One Cares

“No one gives a damn about you,” my psychiatrist told me. NOW HOLD ON A SECOND, he meant it as, in life, there are very, very, very few people who will be there for you all the time and drop everything to help you. No one cares about what you’re doing because everyone is selfish. That’s just how life is. Do what YOU want to do, because it’s YOUR life. I don’t know why, but it was the most comforting backhanded advice I’d ever gotten. Thanks, Dr. Murphy.


#19 You Don’t Belong

I’ve been going through a rough patch lately. Last night was a friend’s birthday dinner and I don’t know anyone there. I figured I would stay for a drink and excuse myself since his friends are kind of snobs and very elitist. If you aren’t some supermodel millionaire, they won’t even look at you. At some point in the night, I started getting really anxious. I thought I was going to have a panic attack until a knight in shining armor came to my rescue. He said:  “You don’t belong here, you don’t dress like them, act like them, or talk like them. That’s what I like about you.” That meant a lot to me. Dylan at the party, thank you a lot.


#20 Son’s Social Media Post

“I feel bad for my mom. She does a lot for the family and today she’s been really going through it. It hurts to see my mom, one of the hardest working people in the world, struggle.” He didn’t say it to me, but my 13-year-old son posted this about me on social media. I didn’t even see it until my sister forwarded it to me. It was so nice to realize that my kids know how hard I work for them. Sometimes, it doesn’t always feel like they appreciate it.


#21 Corporate Doesn’t Care

“These people, these managers, these directors, and all those other coworkers who are marginally above you, they don’t give a darn about you. Protecting you is not in their interests. The only things they are protecting are the company because that keeps the paychecks coming, and if they have to choose you over their bills, then they will screw you every single time.

“So don’t EVER trust them, no matter how much they sound like they are going to bat for you, no matter how sincere they seem like they are being.” That was my coworker, Matt, before he quit his job when we worked together as insurance adjusters. It made me really open my eyes and realize how people behave at offices and see through the corporate lies.


#22 They’re Just Things

After I accidentally dropped my drink and soaked my dad’s guitar and amp, I immediately freaked out because I was about five or six and thought I broke his stuff. He looked at me and said, “Son, they’re just things, look!” And snapped one of his CDs. “They’re just things…” I think that’s the moment I learned to value relationships over possessions.


#23 Choosey About Bad Characteristics

“He doesn’t have to be a jerk in every way for you to dump him.” I tried to avoid acknowledging an ex’s bad characteristics because he had some redeeming ones. But that’s no way to live when the balance is uneven and you’re miserable. Somehow, I internalized that he ‘deserved’ to be in the relationship because he was smart and funny.


#24 Crayon Colors

A few years back, I went into a kindergarten class to help my mother, the teacher, with whatever she was doing. When I sat down for a bit of a break, the kid next to me was drawing the kid sitting across from him. The kid he was drawing had dark skin, so he used a black crayon. This kid said one of the most useful things I’ve ever heard someone say. “I’m brown, not black you stupid peach!” It cracked me up.


#25 Never Apologize For Learning

Me in third grade. I walked up to my teacher and asked her to explain something again that she just explained to the whole class. She explained it to me again. I apologized for having to ask a second time, then the teacher said super seriously, “Don’t you EVER apologize for asking me to explain something to you. I will explain it 10, 100, 1000 times, doesn’t matter, but don’t ever apologize for it.” I nodded and sat down happy. Now I teach third grade and I carry that in my soul.


#26 Teaching Yourself Through Tears

“Next time you start crying, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you won’t let this happen to you again.” Good advice for anything that you could’ve prevented in life, I’d say.


#27 Love Is Love

“You know, it doesn’t matter to me whether you’re gay, straight, bi, pan, or whatever. It just doesn’t. I wasn’t raised to be judgmental, and I didn’t raise you to be someone who was either. I raised you the best I could, and if you’re happy, then I’ve done my job. I’m not gonna be around forever, and I’ll be darned if I let your happiness be dictated by me after I’m gone. That’s why I’m letting you know I love you now. I don’t care who you love, as long as you’re happy, happy while I’m here and happy after I’m gone. I love you son.” The text I got from my dad after I told him I was bisexual. He wasn’t upset when I told him, he simply felt he needed to tell me this, and I’ll always have that screenshot in my phone as a reminder that I have a lot to be thankful for.


#28 Doubts About Depression

“You have no idea what depression is. Stop asking me for help, it’s not my job”. Both of those are from my former best friends, and now I don’t talk to them about what I’m going through. The funny thing is, they both said those things when I was at some very low points. Prior to going to them at that time, I just kept things to myself. They both told me I could go to them if need be, yet the first time I did, they said that. Not to mention they both had come to me for help with their problems multiple times before I opened up to them about mine.


#29 Fat At The Funeral

“I don’t want you to be fat at my funeral. If you’re still fat, don’t come,” said my grandma when she was 85 years old. She’s 95 now. I lost 100 lbs since she said that and kept it off.


#30 You Problem

I was going through a rough patch with somebody who I considered an important friend, and when I told them that I cared about them and our friendship, they physically flinched and replied, “That’s a you problem.” That hit me hard for a long time and confused the heck out of me. I went through a period afterward, where I reevaluated my close and good friendships with people.  It took me a long time to realize that this person wasn’t somebody I needed in my life since this wasn’t the only trouble they caused me.


#31 Spit But Love

I was waiting at a bus stop to go home one night and this homeless man sat next to me. He started chatting with me and, being in Seattle, there was a good 15/10 chance this guy wanted something from me. He talked with a bit of a slur but I believe that was actually just how he talked. He talked to me for a good hour while I waited for the bus and was actually a very interesting guy.

He told me all about life as a homeless person in Seattle and how he ended up that way. He spoke some genuine wisdom but he also let his spit fly with every other syllable. When my bus finally came, he gave me a fist bump and said, “I haven’t had the chance to talk with anybody in a long time. Thanks for giving me a chance brother, I spit but I love”. And that phrase right there I took to heart for some reason.

It really changed my perspective on the homeless. They’re not all these doped up creatures trying to make a quick buck off honest people. Some really are just people who are down on their luck and are lonely because people avoid them like the plaque. He didn’t ask for anything when he left either but if he had I probably would have given him a few bucks.

#32 Your Neighbor’s Bowl

“The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.” Its a quote from Louis C.K., the comedian, but it felt extremely relevant.


#33 Not Your Emergency

“It is not your emergency.” My paramedic partner said this to me. I was an 18-year-old EMT and had just had my first cardiac arrest call. It helped me realize so much. First about the job, and still years later I relate it to many aspects of life. Just because this person or group of people are in trouble, does not mean I have any reason to feel anxious. I am there to make things better, not become a component of the chaos. In essence, I think this should always be true.


#34 Sick Dog To Sleep

“The best thing to do is put him to sleep.” Just a few weeks ago, I lost my little dog. He was the best boy—he had been there for me all through my battle with mental illness, right up until now while I’m in recovery. He was so smart and sweet. He was the best friend I could have ever asked for. The stark realization that he wouldn’t be right behind me anymore was shocking. I miss his little face terribly.


#35 Don’t Burn Yourself

“Don’t burn yourself to keep someone else warm.” This has become my new quote because I had become a stress ball for several individuals. I didn’t mind, but when you realize some don’t care, it gets you down. I read this somewhere and am now trying to make sure I don’t ever trust or care for anyone outside of my family completely again.


#36 Falling Out Of Love

Whenever my last girlfriend and I got into fights, I’d ask if she still loved me, then say something to the effect of: “Then we can make it through this.” After our last fight, I asked the same thing and she said “I don’t think so” and I honestly hadn’t been expecting that—it hit really hard. That’s when I knew things were really bad and possibly unmendable.


#37 Uncomfortable With Crying

“Crying doesn’t suit you.” This was said to me when I was around 10 or 11, I think. But since then, I haven’t been able to cry unless I’m having a huge breakdown.


#38 Unsure How To Do It

My mom broke down crying in front of me when I was 15 after I was giving her a hard time for some small miscommunication. Through her tears she said, “I don’t know how to do this anymore” and it hit me like a brick. I dropped every bit of teen angst and blame right then and there. I gave her a hug and cried with her, apologizing for the way I’d been treating her and realizing I was being completely unfair to her. She was a person just like me, trying to cope with the world. We’ve never fought or argued since, and we’ve been super supportive of each other emotionally for the past 20 years and counting. I wrote a song about our relationship for her 60th birthday which said it all.


#39 Brother’s Last Words

“I wish you would answer your phone more, it makes me feel like I don’t matter when you don’t.” Those were the last words my only brother said to me, and it hurts now as much as it did 12 years ago.


#40 You Don’t Belong

I’ve been going through a rough patch lately. Last night was a friend’s birthday dinner and I don’t know anyone there. I figured I would stay for a drink and excuse myself since his friends are kind of snobs and very elitist. If you aren’t some supermodel millionaire, they won’t even look at you. At some point in the night, I started getting really anxious. I thought I was going to have a panic attack until a knight in shining armor came to my rescue. He said:  “You don’t belong here, you don’t dress like them, act like them, or talk like them. That’s what I like about you.” That meant a lot to me. Dylan at the party, thank you a lot.


#41 Slowing Down

On Christmas Day, my partner wasn’t feeling well, so I dropped her off at home. She said, “I don’t feel so good. Something’s wrong with me.” I remember being so frustrated because we hadn’t even exchanged Christmas gifts yet and I had made her a fox from Sculpey because she collected foxes.

I got a phone call from her roommate the next morning saying that she wasn’t breathing. By the time she was brought to the hospital, they called it. That shattered me. In retrospect, she’d given a lot of signals that she felt something was wrong. A while back, she took me to the town she grew up in and pointed out where she told her family to scatter her ashes.  The trip to her hometown was unusual because she was very reluctant to go there until she decided to take me. It’s been several years, but I still miss her.


#42 Accepting The Unacceptable

Therapist: “You’ve gotten very good at accepting unacceptable situations.” Hearing that was like getting slapped in the face and coming to my senses.


#43 Fighting For You

“Don’t you want someone who is willing to fight for you instead of fighting with you all the time?” That made me realize I deserved better in a relationship. I’ve now been married five years to a girl who fought for me.


#44 A Job’s Loyalty

“The only thing your job owes you is a paycheck.” This was said by my dad after being laid off of a place he had worked 15 years for. It made me realize that you shouldn’t blindly place loyalty in your job because if it comes down to it, they will screw you over if need be.


#45 Questionable Charity

“People don’t actually want to fix the problem, they want to FEEL good about being a part of the solution. That’s why people don’t actually go out and feed the homeless, they hold a canned food drive instead so someone else will.” This made me realize how much charitable giving is just an ego stroke and the real charitable people are the ones who turn their money into action.