August 30, 2023 | Derek Choi

"When Your Entire Life Changes In An Instant"


The right moments in life can really flip someone’s thinking on its head. Whether it is an awful experience or someone’s wise words, profound moments can linger for a very a long time with both good and bad effects. These Redditors share harrowing moments and enlightening words that changed the way they look at life.


1. A Heart-Stopping Scare

I found out at 43 years old that needed heart surgery for a genetic heart defect I was born with but didn’t know I had. I was in stage three heart failure. I went from diagnosis to surgery in just six months. It scared me so much because I had never had surgery of any type before, let alone heart surgery. I came home from the hospital a new person. I’m so much nicer to people and I’m generally much happier. I really appreciate life.

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2. Family’s Financial Folly

About five to six years ago, a lot of people my age in our 30s decided to go in on a property with our parents because we saw that buying our own homes was almost impossible anymore. I trusted that my parents were doing what was best for me and would help me get what I needed to get my own home and then later, help me leverage it for a better home. I was so, so wrong. 

Well, when the value of said home doubled, it turned out they didn't do what was in my best interest, and, long story short, they rented it and I live in an entirely different state. They chose money over their family. They feel they did nothing wrong, and that I should have been better at filing paperwork. I am not the only person that has had this happen.

Never go into anything financially with your family. I will never forgive my parents for this and it has changed my life drastically.

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3. A Friend’s Advice

My best friend and I were having some drinks around a fire pit on a camping trip. We were the last two up and were just giving some inside jokes and "remember whens". He stopped, looked at me with his glazed-over eyes, and said "I wish you weren't such a jerk all the time." He leaned back and let out a deep sigh, and continued "It's nice to remember when you weren't so angry all the time".

After hearing that, I decided to start managing my anger and taking steps to decrease stress.

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4. Bettering Myself

I said a lot of callous and jerk-ish things to people in my late teens and early 20s. I thought I was “just joking”—but I didn’t know what a mistake I was making. My close friends had enough and ghosted me. I had just moved to a new city where I didn't know anyone aside from my partner. My best friend ducked my calls for months, then finally answered the phone telling me the extent of the damage I'd done to our friendship.

I was blindsided and apologized profusely, telling him I had no ill will behind my words. His response was delivered with tact, and in a calm voice said "Your apology, while impeccably delivered, isn't accepted". He politely ended the call and that was it. I was crushed. I had a really hard time with losing my best friend and took a serious look at myself and how I acted.

I changed my behavior and stopped being such a jerk. I'm very careful about what I say and how I say it now. Thankfully, he reached out a couple of years later and we reconnected. I told him how I had reflected on what he said and how much of an impact it had on my life since that phone call. We reconciled and picked up our friendship where we left off.

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5. Speaking Up More

When I started my internship, I was very quiet. I would do my work well, got along with patients, but was not assertive with my superiors. One of the inpatients on a medical ward developed severe pain. I was concerned they had something life-threatening. I called the surgical registrar, but I could not convince them to review the patient because the patient did not have a history of the precursor.

The registrar went out of their way to delay further investigation because they were sure they were right. Six hours later, patient got their scan. I was right. They were taken to surgery, but they didn't make it. I felt responsible. It’s been over a decade, but I’ve never forgotten that patient. I’m not quiet anymore. I am very assertive when I feel I need to be an advocate for my patients. They’ve made me a better doctor.

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6. Forgiveness For The Future

"Forgiveness can't change the past but it can change the future". My mom told me she got the message in a fortune cookie—but the reason why she thought it was so important is heartbreaking. It really resonated with her because my dad was about to come home from being locked up 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 partner. I haven't exactly mastered the art of forgiveness but I'll never forget how powerful it can be.

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7. The Look In His Eyes

I used to tease this one guy at school. Me and a few other guys would mostly just joke about him being fat. But this one time, things went a little further and we pushed him so he fell and we would all shout "earthquake". When we all stood and laughed, he looked up at us and I met his eyes. That look on his face just wrecked me. He didn't say anything, but his eyes just said "Why".

I've never felt so bad in my life and his face is forever seared in my memories. I stopped any kind of that behavior the same day. And I slowly cut contact with the other guys who were with me that day. Luckily, the guy we were mean to is doing all right now as far as I know. I've talked to him a few times after this and I always tried to be as inclusive and kind as possible, but I think the guy just did not want to have any contact with me, which is very understandable.

This One Moment Changed My LifeFreepik, andreas

8. Life Changing Life Saving

I was at a festival when a couple of kids fell into a river and one didn’t resurface. Me and two other people jumped in after the kid. It was about two minutes of all of us diving down when I found him. He wasn’t breathing, and I managed to put him on my back and climbed halfway up and was dragged the rest of the way up as I was destroyed physically by the swimming and the adrenaline.

The kid wasn’t breathing, and I handed him off to the paramedics, who fortunately were already at the festival. Me and the two other people who helped just laid flat out covered in filthy water. I was crying, as it really hit me hard after carrying that kid’s body all limp and lifeless. That’s when I heard a sound I’ll never forget. It was the kid coughing and people clapping and cheering.

It really put everything into perspective. Now 10 years later I have a young son myself and now I understand how that mother felt. She visited me at my home a few days after the incident, gave me a hug, and wouldn’t stop crying, saying thank you, etc. At the time I didn’t get it and was rather embarrassed, but now I fully understand.

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9. Broken Trust

I used to be so incredibly confident. I was definitely too confident, but I was mercilessly teased in my first year of public school and it absolutely ruined me. The people I thought were my friends encouraged me to doggedly pursue my crush only to find out later that my best friend and the crush were dating and would read together the very love letters she encouraged me to send to him.

That betrayal messed me up really good.

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10. Determined To Change

I was holding my daughter, and my husband and her dad were screaming in our faces. My daughter was terrified and apologized. That’s when I made a chilling realization. She was just like me. She was only two. It was enough for me to radically change my standards for myself, for her, and for the kind of home we live in.

I got an order of protection from my ex almost a year ago, and the recovery has been challenging but worth it. My daughter and I are both in therapy for PTSD. We will never live in a home where we are afraid again.

This One Moment Changed My LifeFreepik, Racool_studio

11. What Is A Good Life?

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 when he was just three, 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 for 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.

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12. Rock-Solid Feelings

I accidentally saw my father's tax forms 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. His answer made me want to bawl. 

He looked me straight 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 of what being a good parent involves.

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13. A Matter Of Perspective

As I was walking home with my significant other, 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 to me: "It would be awesome, but I'm sure some people look at our home and say the same thing." That really made me appreciate the things I have.

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14. The Name On The Door

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. Instead, her answer blew me away. She said: "I love my father-in-law very much and think he's a great guy. But he's not the one who worked, 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.

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15. A Child’s Plea

When I was a kid, my dad worked at a coal mine and was never home. I would see him in the morning before school and then right before I went to bed. I honestly at one point wouldn't come to him because I didn't recognize who he was. On top of that, he smoked and he was having trouble quitting. One night he got home early and was smoking in the dining room.

Apparently, I walked up to him and said " Daddy, don't smoke" really sadly. I had no idea the kind of effect they had. He said he never had the urge to smoke again. Basically, he blamed himself for not being able to be close to me and he was tired of me not coming to him. The words themselves weren’t that profound, but he said it changed his life.

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16. Moving On

My dad did not show up to my graduation. I have had a terrible relationship with my father for years, and didn’t even really want to invite him anyways; I’d rather have people I want there. I sent him three separate texts, with light persuasion from my mom about where, when, and why, and he confirms verbally to my mom he was going to be there.

On the night of, he doesn’t show. His choice changed me. I’m not hurt but I decided I’m going fully no-contact with him and I haven’t talked to him since those texts. I severed all financial ties and obligations, and changed some of my mail addresses from his house to my mom's. After that, I honestly became a much more decisive, true-to-myself person, and I started listening to my intuition.

I became much more grounded and happier because somehow his small presence in my life was depressing me before.

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17. Waiting Too Long

I worked at a job for several years and made it clear from the interview what my goals were in that job. When they hired me, they said I would get put on a track to do that specific job, but they wanted to work me up to it. Year after year, I asked for that position, and they kept saying I wasn't ready. Before I knew it, eight years went by.

I reached the peak of my impatience, called another company that only did exactly what I wanted to do, and asked for a job. They told me they weren't hiring at the moment but would take my name. As soon as I said my name, the woman on the phone put me on hold, and the owner of the company came on. He asked me why I wanted to work there and why I didn't ask sooner.

I told him why I wanted to work in that position but that I heard repeatedly I wasn't ready for it, so I didn't think they would give me a job. He created an opening for me and told me he would have created an opening for me if they didn't have one if I asked years ago. Every year I worked at that company; I was employee of the year. I won tons of awards for how well I did that job.

Sometimes, the person telling you that you shouldn't do something, or are incapable of doing something is the wrong person to ask. Set a definite time limit on how long you are willing to wait.

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18. Some Tough Love

I had been a bicycle messenger for around seven or eight years. I had no real-life plan other than partying, but I was starting to get a bit bored with being a courier. So, one day I jokingly asked a business guy in an elevator how to get a job like his. He said "You can't have what I have without putting in the work I did to get it".

It was in an annoyed and condescending way, but it had an unintended consequence. It totally changed my worldview. I went out and got my GED, quit my job as a bicycle messenger, started at a community college, and now I am at a university and am only a semester away from having a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.

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19. Chess And Science

When I was in elementary school, I was in chess club and the guy who led the chess club said, "You will always learn more from losing than winning". That had a mild effect on me then, but as time went on that simple thing he said evolved. I started trying more things to see if they'd work, learning from failures, and not being afraid to confront them when I'd been wrong.

I started being more creative with problem-solving strategies. I stopped seeing getting the wrong answer or an unexpected answer as really bad as long as I realized it was wrong. I got more interested in asking hypothetical questions related to the material in school. I feel like that one statement helped to cultivate a scientific mindset because in science you can totally mess up and get "the wrong answer", but if you do, you can learn something from it.

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20. Changing For The Worse

I once had a friend I had met online. I was extremely fond of him. We talked every day and he’d even sneak in the bathroom at school to text me here and there. We had inside jokes and he’d talk about his crush or I’d talk about my job or whatever. We were very close. One day, he just left without saying anything. He blocked me after we had a nice conversation and all.

He still has his social media accounts so I do know that it had something to do with me, but I’m not sure what. Since that happened, I have a huge issue trying to trust anybody just because I'm so afraid they’ll leave. Even now, I have a more recent friend and again he’s very nice but there’s still that underlying fear that he’ll find some reason to leave. Because of that, I’m significantly less trusting of people, even the ones who I should trust.

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21. Looking Back Fondly

A friend of mine experienced a horrible tragedy. He lost his five-year-old son to a car accident. During the next few weeks, he was in terrible shape, constantly crying and unable to function. Another friend of mine told him, "Listen, none of us can understand the pain you are in, but consider your son for a minute. Do you think he would be happy knowing that he came into your lives for only five years, and when he's gone, all he left behind was sadness?”

They say “This beautiful kid came into your lives and gave you five amazing years with beautiful memories to hang onto. Nobody is telling you not to be sad, that's impossible, but don't forget the good times. And hang onto those good times, laugh, be happy as well as sad. There is nothing wrong with that." This really changed the way I think about the passing of loved ones.

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22. Breaking The Cycle

The way my parents treated me is terrible—but it made me come up with a plan. When I have kids, I will treat them equally. There will be no favorites. Everyone will follow the same rules and if someone did something they weren't supposed to do, they will be punished accordingly. If my daughter wants to learn karate or play sports, I will let her. If my son wants to wear fashionable clothes and do makeup, I will let him!

My parents limited me on what I was allowed to do. As a girl, it was important for me to be ladylike and obedient. It was so ridiculous that my mother put me in etiquette classes. I couldn't do sports, make friends, or join clubs because my parents were strongly against it. I was told growing up that my job is to only take care of them and my future husband. No one else.

I was constantly reminded that I have no future, and should only worry about my family, and not think for myself. The only thing I should worry about in my life is the people I'm taking care of. I will never put my children through that. It's horrible and has put a huge scar on me.

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23. White-Hot Rage

When I was 15, I was washing the dishes and my little brother wanted to get into the cabinet under the sink. I was being stubborn and refused to move and let him get in there. So, he starts kicking the back of my legs. With every kick I could feel my anger rising and finally, I snapped. When people describe "white hot rage", this is what they're talking about.

All I saw was white and the next thing I remember is my brother on the floor and my hand was bleeding. It turns out, when my mind took that brief vacation, I was holding two full-size ceramic dinner plates under the water of the sink and swung the stack into the side of his head shattering both plates. He wasn't badly hurt, just briefly knocked for a loop, but the plates had sliced my hand open pretty good.

Of course, I didn't take any responsibility at the time. He had it coming, right? Well, maybe five or six years later I remembered the incident, and the full weight of how much worse it could have gone finally sunk in. I was literally out of my mind at that moment. If I had just happened to be holding a knife under that water, I would have 100% put it into the side of his head.

To say it was a life-altering realization is a massive understatement. As a result, I have never let myself get that angry again. Any time I am pushed into that headspace, the one where I feel the edges of my vision begin to darken and vibrate, I walk away and refuse to engage further with the individual. I can only remember feeling that way twice in the 25 years since the altercation with my brother. But at that moment, I learned what I am capable of if pushed too far and I will never allow myself to go to that place ever again if I can help it.

This One Moment Changed My LifeFreepik, cookie_studio

24. Treating Yourself Better

I was unhealthy but in denial. Blood pressure issues, borderline diabetes, obesity. I never was physically active and didn't eat very healthily. My husband and I wanted a baby. We got pregnant fast and even though I ate healthily and did everything right during the pregnancy, I lost the baby at 30 weeks due to placenta issues from blood pressure.

It was hugely painful with internal bleeding, and very traumatic. I then had a necrotizing infection in my C-section wound that required surgery, three weeks in the hospital, and another two months of at-home nursing care with bandage changes while the wound healed from the inside out. Six months later, I'm down 50 pounds, walking my 10k steps most days, doing yoga, limiting my eating out and junk food, and I'm counting my calories to a reasonable 500 cal deficit.

My sugars and blood pressure are improved. I’m not all the way there yet, but I no longer take my health for granted. I never felt invincible, but I treated my body like it was. It was a valuable lesson.

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25. To The Next Stop

I was 16 and standing at the bus stop to go to college. A shady-looking guy in his late 30s comes over and asks me for a light. I give it to him. He then goes on to tell me about how awful it is here and how much fun and money he made working in Asia. I had never dreamed of moving away from my hometown. Let alone another continent on the other side of the planet.

He never could’ve predicted that he was changing my life. That thought stuck in my mind. 22 years later and I'm living abroad on the other side of the planet. I'm making good money and I couldn't be happier. I owe that weird stranger a drink. He was instrumental in changing the entire course of my life. And I only knew him for about five minutes.

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26. Learning To Bend Time

My mom had a lot of trouble convincing me to go to sleep when I was little. One day, my grandma was reading a Raggedy Ann story to me and Ann was having the same problem. Another character said something that has never left me since. "The sooner you go to sleep, the sooner you'll wake up!" It was so simple, but it made me realize that sleeping is time travel!

I was sitting there, night after night bored out of my skull, desperately wishing for the morning so I could be alive and doing things where if I just fell asleep, I could freaking time travel 7 hours forward to morning and be there already! It was such a revelation!

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27. Breaking And Repairing

My best mate at the time said "Your ex-girlfriend came down to see me a couple of weeks ago and I asked her out. She said yes." It broke me into a thousand pieces, and I don't consider him a true friend anymore. I was a bit of a pretentious, cocky jerk, but after this, I now care for everyone's feelings and make sure everyone is happy.

If they need someone to talk to, I'm there for them. Emotions are strong man, and you need someone to talk to all the time.

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28. Weighing Complaints

I was doing my last overseas rotation in the army before I got out. Actually going to a third-world country really makes you appreciate how good we have it in the States or in the first world in general. I was always nice to people and a pretty easy-going dude but I’m telling you nothing upsets me more now than seeing people here in America complain about the stupidest stuff.

We don’t have much to complain about in the first place. You can live without a phone for an hour because you left it somewhere. The world’s not gonna end.

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29. Rethinking The Past

Growing up in the rural Midwest listening to my father spout the most bigoted statements I've ever heard was an eye-opening experience. He even made derogatory comments about and to his own brother-in-law, who was of Mexican descent. This was very rural and 99% white. I always found his words offensive, but it changed my life when I moved to southern California and experienced real integration for the first time in my life, and realized that my father was full of it.

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30. Didn’t Come To Mind

I was ranting about people who bring giant strollers to festivals, street fairs, and crowded places to a co-worker. What kind of jerk does that; I asked my coworker. "Well, me, for one", he said. "I have a disabled daughter”. Ohhhhh. For whatever reason, I had simply never thought of that. Some people are still just jerks, but there might just be a reason why they are doing what they are doing.

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31. What Everyone Wants

At one of the deepest moments of loneliness I have ever experienced and when I was really just about give up on the world, my father sat down next to me and said this: "People want to be around other people who are happy. It is not selfish. It is the natural reaction and a healthy one too. People need others in life who make their life easier. Not harder".

That really hit me hard.

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32. The Way We Speak

I had a girlfriend in high school who asked me why I cursed a lot. I didn't really have an answer so I asked her why she didn't curse at all. Her reply? "English has thousands of words in it that express subtle differences. If you have to curse, or use the words ‘stuff’ or ‘things’ to express what you're feeling or trying to say it means you're not really trying to communicate".

It totally changed the way I thought about language and how we are perceived by the way we talk.

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33. Keep Moving Forwards

Having "wasted" years of my life and allowing my fear to rule me, I wrote this down as a note on my phone and then promptly forgot about it: "I don't know how to tell you this. This is your life." I came across it about a month later and while I'm not instantly transformed, baby steps are being taken to help me not throw away my entire life.

The fear is still there, and I haven't moved forward with what I think is most important for me right now, but I think about this every day. There is no second chance. I either start working towards what I want now, or I wake up in ten years exactly where I am now.

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34. Letting Go Of Worry

My boyfriend was driving in a snowstorm and had been ignoring my texts all day. Because I didn't know if he had gotten anywhere he was supposed to go the whole day, I was worried he had gotten into an accident and been badly hurt. I was with a friend and asked if she thought I should start calling hospitals.

She turned to me, took a deep breath, and said "You know, the chances of him getting into a fender bender are pretty small. Enough of an accident to cause an injury is even less likely. You don’t need to worry”.

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35. Rethinking The Name

I watched a show called Status Anxiety. Basically, it’s about the history of how people used to be born into their situation. A baker was born to a baker. A locksmith’s son would be a locksmith. No matter how rich or powerful you were, you would still be a baker or a locksmith. Your status in the hierarchy would not change.

Have you ever bought something specifically to impress upon someone your wealth or success? Ever bought a brand-name product? Why did you buy it? Was it the best quality product or was it just fashionable? Have you ever come across someone who bought a fancy car they couldn't afford in order to look rich? I took a long look at the stuff I was buying.

That’s when I made a disturbing realization. I was buying stuff just to improve my image. My stuff was serving little purpose. Now everything I buy must be useful. Everything goes into the shopping cart and stays there for at least a week. If I still want it after that, I know it's useful and not just some random garbage to clutter my life. Nothing is brand name unless it's good quality and that is the only reason I would buy it.

My life has become sparser, but not in any bad way as far as I'm concerned. I have a cheap car. It goes great. I get a lot of stuff from Kmart. If it breaks, I buy a nice one. If it survives, I keep the Kmart one. I have a lot of Kmart stuff. I'm not cheap. I'm happy to spend money on things I want, I just care less about what name is stamped on the side.

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36. Sensing Sarcasm

After my divorce, my therapist mentioned how sarcasm often veils hostility. I realized then that I had spent nearly a decade with someone who chipped away at my confidence by making everything a critique and then passing it off as a sarcastic joke. The best thing I ever did was walk away from that relationship and generally stay away from people whose default defense is 'geez, it was just a joke'.

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37. Making Mistakes

It was my first jazz workshop studying at university, and I was freaking out. I have only been teaching myself for a few months before the term started, and all of a sudden, I'm thrown into a class with kids who have been playing since they were seven. My workshop instructor stopped us and said: "I don't care what level you are, no matter how much you practice. You'll never be ready".

He then explained he's been playing for 50 years. He’s a well-respected Canadian jazz pianist, and he still feels like he going to screw things up at the bar on Saturday night. It made me realize we're all learning. Everyone. And it's okay to make mistakes. Every teacher still wakes up and improvises to teach their class. No one has anything set in stone.

This One Moment Changed My LifeFlickr,Berklee Valencia Campus

38. Losing Too Much

I went through a series of losses in a short amount of time. Seemed to cause some kind of trauma that completely cracked me open and flipped my personality. Stuff like suddenly having anticipatory anxiety and abandonment issues, talking to everyone and anyone about my personal pain, seeking constant reassurance, loss of hand-eye coordination, and a complete breakdown of my previous beliefs and morals. It was nuts.

Completely involuntary changes to my personality and I'm honestly still struggling to accept myself as I am now. I've balanced out a little over the last couple of years but it's still a cause of self-conflict and loathing!

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39. Learning To Learn

A friend of mine was very into martial arts and had been taking classes for years. One day he was telling me about starting taekwondo all over again from the white belt stage. I asked him why, and he said that 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.

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40. Sharing Is Dumb!

I was a selfish egocentric brat in the past. Even though I had a brother and a sister, I wanted it all to myself. I used to really like 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.

I asked why she was doing that because it was her cheese. And her answer was: "What is more beautiful than sharing what you like with the people you love?" It totally changed me.

This One Moment Changed My LifeFlickr, Marco Verch Professional Photographer

41. Apology Awareness

I can't remember who said this to me but in high school, one of my friends said to me, "why is it so hard for you to say sorry?" I realized my family never apologized for doing anything wrong. It was always a "Well...it's your fault anyways", or a "So? I don't care" response when you wronged someone. My friend’s words made me realize how much I lacked emotional intelligence and worked on apologizing when wrong rather than feeling defensive about it.

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42. Finding New Family

I’m not one to wallow in self-pity. I don’t go around thinking “boo-hoo me, I had it hard so feel sorry for me”, and I don’t use it as an excuse for my behavior nowadays. I had a single mom working her socks off to provide for five kids. She wasn’t often there because she worked so hard. She was a saint and I am grateful every day of my life for her sacrifices.

That being said, I grew up tough and scrappy because I had to be, but there were also a lot of ugly things that came out of me having been without a male role model or the ones that she dated for short periods of time being… Well, let’s just say not great. I just didn’t know any better and I manifested some of their characteristics and beliefs because it was all I knew.

Some of those produced some nasty behavior that I just cringe looking back on. That all changed when I became a member of my girlfriend’s—now wife’s—family around the age of 18. Finally, there was someone steady, emotionally sound, and stable that I could talk to. They were rational, benevolent and they lead by example.

I could bounce my thoughts off them and get a thoughtful opinion without judgment. I became a lot more introspective. I didn’t needed discipline, I didn’t need money I didn’t need sympathy, I just needed guidance. And I got it. Those were some formative years, and here we are 10 years later. I’d like to think I’m a better man and a better husband for the time I got to spend around them.

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43. Finding Kindness Inside

When I was a teenager, I had trouble with interacting with my classmates and people my age. I was shy and always ashamed of being there, wanting to say sorry to exist every time I entered a room. One day, the therapist I was seeing told me that people saw me as they saw them: no one is very self-confident, and they would appreciate me talking to them and paying attention to them.

It didn't really make its way to my brain until the day I arrived in a new class. We were told where to sit, and when I sat next to my new classmate, I was so embarrassed and feeling bad for her that she had to be next to me that I didn't look at her, and didn't talk to her. A while later, I thought again about it, and realized that indeed, if people saw me as a "real human being", it could be interpreted as "I don't like you".

I decided to act kind to other people, even if I was convinced my kindness would not mean anything to them. Next year, I had to repeat the same class. I took it upon myself to smile, say hi, and ask the name of my new desk neighbor. She spoke to me in a friendly way and complimented my notebook. That's when I really understood and believed what my therapist said. It turned my life around. I started acting completely different.

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44. Taking A Weight Off

I lost weight and realized how much of life I had missed out on because of it. Being able to move freely, feel comfortable in any clothing, being treated like a normal person, being touched. It is everything to me and it's made my value my own health so much more. I now have a very healthy view of food, and I've learned several ways to see if I'm hungry, if I'm thirsty, and when I'm full.

I'm part of a great group of friends and truly feel normal for the first time in my life. I have vowed to never let go of the person I am today, the man who takes care of himself and never stops reflecting upon how I work and what I need.

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45. Emotions Are Okay

It's okay to feel anxious and depressed. I used to pretend to be relaxed and easygoing because that's the person I wanted to be. The more I was able to hide and cope with these feelings the worse they became. I thought I was abnormal and felt ashamed when I faced my problems on my own. Going to therapy let me know it was normal to have feelings you can't control.

It taught me to recognize the behavior that leads to those feelings and control that. I can now talk about those feelings and be that person I pretended to be at the same time.

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46. Other Kinds Of Rewards

While struggling with weight loss, one of my friends and I were having a conversation. My friend at one point was overweight but now is quite fit. He said he never did a cheat day after his friend told him that he's not a dog, and to stop rewarding himself with food. That idea helped me lose a lot of weight too. I realized that I'm a person and I can be rewarded with way better things than a chocolate bar.

So, when I hit my dieting milestones, I'd take a trip, or buy myself a game, or ride the kiddie train around the mall.

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47. Making Backbone

My last breakup gave me more of a backbone than I used to have, and whilst I'm not one for direct confrontation, I will defend my corner nonetheless. Had people, usually people who don't expect or want to be challenged, claim that it's selfish, but I haven't given myself the attention and care I've needed for a long time, so don't get all worked up now that I've found a voice for myself.

But it had an unintended side effect. It's also given me an insight into the company I keep. Since the breakup, a lot of people I should've cut off but didn't, I decided to oust from my life. I should've ended it with my ex despite my feelings, I decided to hope everything would blow over all the whilst crippling my mental health, she broke up with me, and in the aftermath decided to do things that only served to add salt to the wound for me. But I did purge myself of people who had a negative effect on me, giving me some external peace.

It has also made me a litter bitter and cynical, but that's something I am continuing to work on.

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48. A Trail Of Trauma

My husband got a non-cancerous brain tumor followed a few years later by dementia. We went through years and years of excruciating pain and daily trauma—and the effects were seriously dark. Our kids were destroyed, and our marriage was over. I tried to hang on. I couldn't. We divorced at his request. He lives in a group home now and I recently remarried after 14 years.

Life is completely different now. I learned so much, not only about myself and my kids, but about other relatives and friends. I learned about my employers, the court system for guardianship, dementia, brain injury, neurology, PTSD, chronic disease, therapy, and finally about rediscovering joy.

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49. The Teacher’s Guidance

In high school, I was extremely depressed. For a couple of years, I went into bouts of drinking, substances, and experimenting with many over-the-counter things. I didn't know how else to cope with this anxiety, depression, and chronic loneliness. After my marks took a nosedive, I was called into guidance to speak with a counselor specified in "student success".

She wanted to find out why my marks fell. It took me three months before I started to open up to her, and this was only after a few suicide attempts. She's usually calm, but she was very worried and extremely fed up with me. What she said next changed me forever. She said, quite assertively, "Whatever you're doing isn't working. Whatever it is, try something different".

She then said to try some little things, told me to use a different pencil, or try something else for lunch. Maybe drink this brand instead of that. Every week. The smallest thing. Soon after, I started to feel better. Anything different was better than what I had at the time.

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50. What Do I Do?

My friend was going through a major rough patch with a now ex-boyfriend when she calls me late one night crying so hard, she could barely speak. I go and pick her up and take her to our favorite hangout spot by the local lake. As I get her to calm down, she looks at me and asks, "Is it ever going to get easier?" This threw me for a loop for a few long moments. 

I laid my arm across her shoulders and replied, "If you want the truth to that question, then no. It doesn't get easier. Don't fret about that, though. At the end of the day, the happier you are the easier life seems to flow. Do the things that make you feel great. Follow your dreams." Since we had that talk, she found a new job and got back into school.

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Sources: Reddit


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