Words can be powerful, and in a very emotional AskReddit thread users shared the phrases and sayings that deeply affected how they saw the world from that point forward.
Get your tissues out. Some of these are real tear jerkers.
#22. “your family is staying with me.”
My brother was battling cancer and had to have a bone marrow transplant. He would have to come spend two months with me because the town he was getting treatment in didn’t have a hospital that did the procedure.
I was fresh out of college living in what was essentially bachelor pad. We had a regular at the restaurant I was working at, Dr. J, who always asked about my brother’s progress. When I told him about the next step he stopped me mid sentence and says to me “your family is staying with me.” He insisted because he lived out in the country, on a lake and it would be very peaceful, refusing any sort of compensation. Not to mention my mom and brother would have privacy because they would be staying in the mother-in-law suite that was separate from the home. It brought tears to my eyes and I couldn’t stop thanking him. Dr. J then says to me:
“There’s no need to thank me. It’s an honor to do good.”
Those words will ring with me forever. That man and his wife are some of the most caring and altruistic humans I know.
#21. “one bite at a time.”
A sergeant of mine in the Marine Corps once told me “no matter how big the plate in front of you is, the only way to finish it is one bite at a time.”
It’s amazing how many times over the years I’ve had to remind myself of this great piece of advice.
#20. “Being a good person is all I want to be.”
“Do you feel victory when your words cause pain?”
I grew up in an abusive environment and I left it but it took years for me to leave the actions I’d learned behind as well. I wasn’t a good person because I had no example.
Being a good person is all I want to be.
#19. “the time to worry is when…”
As a teenager I started pouting after a coach yelled at me.
He looked at me said “the time to worry is when I quit yelling at you because that means I’ve decided you’re not worth the effort”
#18. “it really hit home…”
My wife was the the first person to tell me that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
It gets attributed to a number of people who probably didn’t say it, but it really hit home when she was the one who told me.
#17. “You’re not okay.”
I was in San Francisco on a school trip and I went out of our hostel for a cigarette. I was going through some s**t at the time and wasn’t handling it well. A homeless man came up and asked for a cig, so I gave him one and he sat and smoked with me. He asked what was bothering me, so I told him I was having some trouble with my girlfriend but I was okay, and he told me something I’ve never forgotten.
“Son, stop pretending you’re okay. You’re not okay. Sometimes in life s**t happens and you won’t be okay, but that’s okay.”
Really resonated with me. Helped me come to terms with a lot of things in the years since.
#16. “my dad took my mom out every Friday night…”
When my parents first met my dad took my mom out every Friday night and would look forward to Friday’s all week long because of it.
Years ago when I was down about something he told me about how he was in a rut until he found what made him happy, and that was the all the Friday’s he spent with my mother.
He told me to find my “Friday”. Find what makes you happy and go after it.
So that’s what I do. I try to better myself and really focus on the things and people that make me happy.
#15. “you’ll wish they made it easier.”
I was in McDonalds with my Dad when I was around 10 year old. I remember him asking me to take the tray to the bin at the end and I said “that’s their jobs, someone else will do it.”
My Dad said “someday you may have to do a job you don’t particularly like and that other people could make easier or more difficult for you, you’ll wish they made it easier.”
#14. “I had all these awesome ideas of who I was…”
How you live each day is how you live your life.
Simplistic, I know. Up until the point that I heard that from a friend, I had all these awesome ideas of who I was, who I was gonna be and what I wanted to do, but hearing this made me realize I wasn’t going to do or be any of the things I thought unless I started living them each day.
#13. “…but others by their actions.”
“We judge ourselves by our intentions but others by their actions”
This put a lot of things into perspective for me.
#12. “This quote has always stuck with me…”
I’m a Software Engineer, and tend to do my best work when I am around people that are better than me.
This quote has always stuck with me and I make a lot of decisions with it in mind.
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. “
#11. “I grew up in an abusive environment…”
“Do you feel victory when your words cause pain?”
I grew up in an abusive environment and I left it but it took years for me to leave the actions I’d learned behind as well. I wasn’t a good person because I had no example. Being a good person is all I want to be.
#10. “it hit me hard while my personality was still developing.”
When I was 12, I was criticizing someone’s project in shop class. A girl came up to me and told me very calmly “you’re always criticizing people, why are you so mean?”.
It was a very simple thing to say, but it hit me hard while my personality was still developing. I think her neutral tone was important too. Something clicked, and I realized she was right – I was kind of an a**hole. It changed the way I behaved forever. I guarantee she does not remember the exchange, or even me at all.
Sometimes it doesn’t have to be something poetically profound, just something true said with honesty at the right time in your life.
#9. “My guitar teacher said this to me…”
“If you want to be good at something you first must be willing to be bad at it.”
My guitar teacher said this to me after I expressed that I felt like giving up because I wasn’t making the progress I thought I should be making.
It made a lot of sense to me and it helps motivate me whenever I attempt something new.
#8. “no one cares how many times you fail at something…”
“What do you call a guy who asks a hundred girls out before getting a date?
A guy with a date.”
As a young teenager, it opened my eyes up to the idea that no one cares how many times you fail at something as long as you finally succeed. It got me to be less nervous talking to girls and strangers, more willing to submit job applications even when I didn’t think I was qualified, and more willing to take on large obstacles in life even if I didn’t initially think I could accomplish them.
#7. “I stuck to that mentality.”
After my 6 year relationship ended, I felt lost. I felt like the future I had planned out (children, home, etc.) were all lost. I was devastated.
Then my cousin told me, “Sounds like you’re more upset about losing your future than you are of losing him. You can’t expect someone to take care of you. Only you can take care of you.”
I stuck to that mentality for years after that.
#6. “I felt like I didn’t have a right to complain…”
“Every job has stuff in it you hate. The question is really if the stuff you love about the job outweighs the parts you don’t like.”
At the time I was feeling guilty because I was in a patch where I was having a rough time with my job, which is a competitive “dream job” so I felt like I didn’t have a right to complain and felt guilty for not liking that part of it. But she reminded me it’s ok to not like things and remember why I wanted the job in the first place.
#5. “…watch out for the social habits they have.”
My old biology teacher told me “Don’t judge a book by its cover, but be careful about the library it’s in.”
Basically a good judge of character is the people the other person hangs out with. Still get to know them, hence the “don’t judge a book by its cover” bit, but at the same time watch out for the social habits they have. If they hang around sh**ty people and do shi**y things maybe they aren’t the best fit for you.
#4. “…people need to be able to control who they discuss their problems with…”
“Some doors are closed for a reason.”
Completely changed my life. I used to always be up into everyone’s business, inviting them to share, “do you want to talk about it?” even pressuring when they didn’t feel like it. After all, I believed, if you talk about it, you’ll feel better. Truth is, people need to be able to control who they discuss their problems with and choose their own time for if/when they discuss it with others, and the last thing they need is some a**hole encouraging them to “open up.” Get off their backs!
If they’re not sharing their problems with you, assume there’s a damn good reason and let it go.
If they need you, they will find you.
#3. “I was so weighed down with friends and family…”
After my wife left me I had an older coworker tell me something like this:
“Nothing I can say to you is going to make things easier or help you get through this, but just know that I am here to listen if you decide you would like to talk.”
I was so weighed down with friends and family who loved me giving me unsolicited advice when all I needed was someone who respected me enough to just listen. I always take this approach with people who are going through hard times. If you truly care about them just listen, eventually they will ask you for advice.
#2. “At first I thought what a pessimistic view this was…”
When my dog passed, my grandma told me “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”.
At first I thought what a pessimistic view this was, but over time I began to recognize the mental fortitude and optimism it contained.
#1. The wisdom of Bob Ross
Bob Ross, when I was still a child.
I was at my grandmother’s house, and she had PBS on 24/7. So here I am, 5-7 years old or so, watching this winter painting. Kinda bored. Wish there were some cartoons on.
Then he adds a single tree to his scene. It’s a winter scene, so it’s barren. And he makes a little comment, something like “and maybe it’s a dead tree. Lots of people don’t like adding dead things to their paintings, but death is natural. It’s okay.”
I may be vastly misquoting him. I haven’t seen this episode since (25+ years).
Point is, I hadn’t really been acquainted with death as a concept up to then. Bob Ross was the first one to really talk to me about death.
Now I consider myself a existentialist, and it doesn’t really depress me. Death is a thing. Nothing you do is going to matter in 100 years. But it’s okay. It’s really more about enjoying the life your have than mourning the fact that you’re not really anything in the grand scheme of things. And you don’t have to make up stories about what happens after to alleviate the fear of being gone. Just… It’s okay.
Truly beautiful, right?
Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share?
Let us know in the comments!