Whether we learn them in childhood or from our surroundings as we age, most of us carry a certain set of beliefs with us as we traverse through life.
But every now and then someone will come along and say something, whether they mean to or not, that completely changes the way we think about something — and it’s a pretty awesome experience.
Some of these responses may have a profound effect on how you think, too.
Answers have been edited for clarity.
'My mum 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 freak out, and that skill has served me innumerable times.' -- DiffidentDissident
'I was 13 years old, trying to teach my six-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.' -- oubird12500
'You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.'
'This 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.' —maeEast
'I'm the oldest of three kids. I'm older than my little brother by 2.5 years and my little sister by 9.5.
'When I was about fourteen or so, arguing with my dad in private about something I don't remember, he, being the second-oldest of eight kids, told me:
''Any decision you make in this household, you make three times. Once when you make it, once when your brother makes the same decision after watching you do it, and once when your sister makes the same decision after watching you and your brother do it. How you treat your brother will tell him how he can treat your sister; and how you treat your sister tells her how she will expect to be treated for the rest of her life, even as far as her future boyfriends.'
'That kinda shook me up and made me rethink my role as the oldest child; I started taking my responsibilities as the role model a lot more seriously after that. Even when you aren't trying to actively influence those around you, those who look up to and respect you will still base their decisions, in part, on how they have seen you handle similar situations.
'If you break down and get stressed and angry when something inconvenient happens, they will feel better doing the same when something similarly small happens to them. But if you keep your cool in a dire situation and under a lot of stress, it can inspire them to believe they can do the same.' -- Mutericator
'Some software I was responsible for at my previous job failed -- I don't remember what it was, but the damage was worth more than $5,000 at the time. When I apologised and explained to my boss what had happened he simply said, 'Only people who don't work make no mistakes.'' -- dershodan
'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.' -- luckyhenry
'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.'
'Amazing perspective.' -- RedheadBanshee
'When I was young and having what I thought was a serious relationship talk with my first real significant other, 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.' -- faelsoss
'At the end of the day, our graves are all six feet deep and all our urns fit on the mantelpiece,' my uncle, who's a mortician, told me.
'The general point of the quote is to accept that we as humans are all inherently equal, and despite our differences, we all as a community of species must accept one another, because nothing is to be gained otherwise except pain and misery.' —Milk_Lizard58
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