Words can have a profound impact.
The words you speak can truly change the lives of you and the people around you. So be careful what you say--but also, give yourself some credit.
Redditor lapetitetigresse asked Reddit:
Here were some of the answers.
My older brother told me once, after our dog died, that "No matter how sad death is the world will keep spinning. Tomorrow will come, nothing and no one will stop it". It was meant to be a tough love moment, and definitely meant to have an impact. Years later when I was in high school he died in a car accident, and his words were the only thing I could find comfort in. He couldn't have known a simple "teach my brother a lesson" type talk about our deceased pet would be what would drive me through the darkest moments of my life.
I have two sisters. One that I consider to be my human, my soul twin, the smartest woman I know. The other one, whom I love just as much, is... different. We just don't see eye to eye on a lot of things and we are very different people so we don't connect on a deeper level. This isn't a snag on her, I do love her, she just drives me bonkers a great deal of the time.
When my divorce was finalized I was crushed. Even with a year of separation that had been relatively calm I still felt war-torn. During the separation I had moved in with my more detached sister who had also gotten divorced the previous year; she wasn't someone I would confide in very often about my feelings on my marriage because she was still very raw from her own. On this day though I couldn't hold it in and I couldn't hide it. When I got home from work she sat with me in my room on my bed and just stayed quiet (not like her) until I blurted out everything I was feeling through sobs that racked my entire body. I honestly don't even know how she could understand anything I was saying but she just held my hand and continued to stay silent.
When I was all done I looked at her and I said, "what am I supposed to do now?"
She squeezed my hand and said, "you can't finish your book if you keep re-reading this chapter."
It is to this day one of the most meaningful things anyone has ever said to me.
I See You
In high school I was pretty quiet and of the few friends I had, they were great friends. Well my senior year I'm not in the same lunch period as any of my friends so most of the time I'm sitting alone, slowly watching the empty chairs at my table be dragged away to another table that needed them. Well one of my friends always studied during lunch on block day with a teacher, one of the only days that I had the same period as a friend. Sometimes he would skip his study session to sit by me and near the end of the year during one such instance, he said to me real seriously, "a lot of people at this school just don't see you, and I understand how you feel. But I want you to know that I see you." And that has stuck with me since and I can't get out of my head how nice that was of him, but also how it put everything in perspective to me.
"If two or more people (that you trust) are telling you something, it's probably true". -My Mom. This has served me well in realizing I was making bad choices at different times in my life. I might not listen to one person, but I surely think about it more if several are trying to tell me the same thing.
I was an -sshole teenager working at a movie theatre. We hired this guy, let's call him Kevin, older guy in comparison to a lot of the people there. I was talkin sh-t about this kid in the lobby for no particular reason and Kevin doesn't say anything the whole time. I finally finish my bitter trash talk and Kevin says "do you feel better now?"
My dad told me "If you don't ask for what you want, you'll never get it." and it's the simplest statement but they're words I live by to this day. It applies to everything from relationships, jobs, business, just day to day life, it's mind blowing.
A cop once told me, "Don't be a polite victim."
In other words, if you think a situation is hinky, don't worry about insulting someone; get out, get away, get loud . . . do whatever you need to do to disrupt a potential assault. If you feel you're in danger, don't let social niceties prevent you from being safe.
I was at a summer camp and we were doing different team building activities. Somehow I managed to take the lead for one and was directing the other campers of ideas we could use to defeat a certain challenge- other campers were suggesting different ideas some of which I thought were just stupid. One of the camp leaders pulled me aside and said "it looks like you're taking leadership on this task, maybe you should try and listen to everyone." That statement has stuck with me to this day. I systematically suggested trying everyone's ideas that day and we combined some them all into one that worked. Now whenever I'm in leadership positions I try to make sure to listen to everyone's ideas and make sure everyone is heard.
One of my favourites is "An entire ocean of water cannot sink a ship, unless it gets inside the ship." Never let the negativity surrounding you get into your head.
I am "successful" as in I have a job that sounds great and I make good money, but honestly I have been pretty miserable. I don't like my industry or the people, or the work. Every time I fly back home to visit, I am the "successful" guy visiting his old home town which is awkward in many ways.
If you ever wanted to know who your real friends are, move far away (in my case to another country). It's really illuminating who keeps in touch, who makes a point to see you when you're in town, and who doesn't.
Anyways, this guy that I barely knew always made a point to hang out and catch up when I was in town. He was genuinely interested in how I was and what was happening in my personal life. I barely knew the dude, but he always took interest in the important pieces. He wasn't doing so well himself - my hometown was having a bit of an economic downturn and he was laid off. He told me the story of how HR and security laid him off and wanted to walk him out, and he refused, said he wouldn't make a scene, but he wanted to say goodbye to his coworkers, hold his head high and leave with dignity. He was then unemployed for a long period but he had a smile on his face and said "No worries dude, I'll keep trying. I'll find something."
He was thankful for his friends, his family, his fiance, all of his good fortune, in a position where most people would feel shit sorry for themselves. And while I'm sitting there having a beer with him, I realized that although I probably made literally 10x what he made (before being laid off) and on paper I was probably really successful compared to him, I would have traded everything to be him at that moment. At that moment I was deeply envious of him and his life.
Ever since then I've tried to make it part of my life philosophy that when I am stressed out, I think "what would do?" and it inevitably leads me towards something that makes me happier. This hasn't kept me on the previous path of always pursuing career success, but it's made me happier and happier. Not only that, it's made me a nicer and more tolerant person.
I still honestly barely know the guy, but I think about him as a role model at least once a week. After writing this up, I promise I'll tell him the next time I see him.
I have problems with social anxiety and for a very long time it was really hard for me to do things like go shopping, talk to waiters or even ask other people for help. While I was growing up my Dad never understood why I avoided those things and had so much trouble with them. One day he and I got a little drunk at his house while playing pool and I was apparently far less tight lipped then usual and I told him everything, about how it made me feel, what caused it, how I hated that it controlled so much of my life and stopped me from doing so much that I wanted to do.
One day he offers to take me on the road with him as a passenger while he's doing his truck driving job. Its a 5 day trip from Ohio to Huston and back. As we're driving he tell's me "Son, I'm not going to be around forever, but I'll help you how I can. The easiest place to start is to walk into every place like you own it. If you can fake it, you can make it, that's all I do."
I never considered that my Dad, who had been a practical mountain in my eyes had even the slightest insecurities. When he told me that I was awe struck. Since then I've been getting a little better over time and when its really bad I just remind myself what he said.
Never call somebody out on their mistakes in front of a group of peers. That's some of the best leadership advice I've ever been given. People will have more respect for you if you reserve your constructive criticism to one on one conversation.
Growing up I was pretty annoying and obnoxious and couldn't for the life of me figure out why it was hard to make friends and I was constantly picked on.
When I was a freshman in HS and on the swim team I asked one of the seniors why everyone hated me. He responded with "It's not that people hate you. It's just, you don't let sh-t go." And he was so f-cking right. I didn't let sh-t go. I let every little thing bother me and I showed it. Of course people are gonna dig on you if they see they can get a rise out of you every time. So I started letting sh-t go. And wouldn't you know it, the harassment started to go away. In fact before I knew it I was starting to make friends and become social.
My 6th grade teacher said to me one day "Nothing ever happens until it happens to you." That is my life motto. That's why I have a first aid kit in my house, and both vehicles. That's why I've taken my first aid course. That's why I've got a 72 hour emergency kit. I'm not obsessive but I am prepared in case of an emergency and after a 100 year flood swept through my town, it was all worth it. I was prepared because as much as I never thought anything could happen to me, it did.
Growing up my friends and I had a game we used to play called "paranoia". Basically you all get in a big circle and going clockwise you whisper a question to the person next to you and their answer has to be the name of someone in the circle and they have to answer it out loud so everyone can hear. It's then that you flip a coin and if it lands on heads, you have to repeat the question out loud, but if it lands tails, no one will know what the original question was, thus creating a great sense of paranoia.
I'd always felt extremely insecure about myself because all my friends were extremely intelligent; all honors and AP courses, award winners, scholarship offers, wealthy, loving families. You get it, they're brilliant minds and come from kind homes, meanwhile I'm basic, boring, bland, and average in just about every way never had a good relationship with my family and never had a lot of money either. I never really felt like I fit in with that group at all.
Anyway, so one night we're playing paranoia, some time passes and as usual my name isn't being said at all. Finally I hear Louis, someone I had hardly associated myself with, say my name. He said it confidently, proudly, and with the utmost sincerity, it was just a simple "Oh, IFeelLikeAndy, for sure." So as you'd expect my ears are perked up and I'm just praying that the coin lands on heads so I can hear what the question was. But that's when the paranoia set in. What if it's a bad question? What if I don't want to know what the question was? But it's too late. It's flipped, and after what felt like a lifetime in suspension it lands on heads and Louis repeats the question out loud.
"Who here do you think will be the happiest and most successful?"
It sounds stupid but it was honestly something I really needed to hear at the time as I was dealing with a lot of insecurities and just general emotional fatigue. Since then though I've always used it as a motivator and told myself "Do it for Louis and do it for yourself."
To this day any amount of success I've gotten I've credited to that moment because it really did help give me confidence. I've won a few awards for my writing and it's opened so many great doors for me and my future and it's all thanks to Louis and that stupid game and I don't think he or anyone there has any idea how much it meant to me.
Once when I was a young boy maybe eleven or so, I was naughty in school. That weekend I had to stay at my dad's and he was being an all mighty jerk.
I had to go to work with him on the Saturday, and he had a French guy who was now that I'm old enough to understand a raging alcoholic.
So here I am being ordered round at work being shouted at and insulted to the point where I just wanted to cry.
I was hiding basically round a corner and my dad found me and decided that I needed a bit more public humiliation, so he gave it to me.
The Frenchman heard this and eventually waited for him to go off in a storm of thunder. He sidles up to me and says deadpan:
"You know, in this life some people are just stupid. Don't mind them."
And then he went off like nothing happened. To date it's the best piece of advice I have ever received and one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
Own It, Henny
My old boss grabbed me by my shoulders from behind while I was walking and he said to me "no relax like this, shoulders back, walk like you own the place" and I have done it ever since.
My friend, after five years of being friends, mentioned that my eyebrow goes up when I find something particularly funny. I can't control it, it just does. He said I get this 'proper quizzical look'.
I always knew this about myself because at times I'd have to actively lower it back into position. I just never realized anybody else noticed it too.
Now every time I laugh I'm thinking about my stupid fucking eyebrow lifting into orbit. It'd made enjoying laughter really hard.
Take You Time
I was very sad in high school. Home life sucked and everything. But I was insistent on being optimistic and bubbly and to make people laugh. It took a lot of energy. But I went in every day with that attitude. Most people didn't know I was sad because of this, and I think I made a lot of people have good days.
But one day was extra tough for me. Like crying between classes. But I was still jokey. Like visibly it was taking my all to keep making jokes. My gifted facilitator pulled me into her office, hugged me and said, "you don't have to always make jokes. You don't owe anyone anything. It is okay to take a day off and be sad"
And I still try to be jokey and optimistic. But I do take days off. And it helps a lot.
"Adults are just really big kids"
I had what I can only manage to describe as a mid-life crises at about age 15. I was super depressed about the fact that I was growing up and becoming an adult and just having a hard time saying goodbye to being a kid, and some stranger said that while watching a show about some adults being dorks and it just hit me. adults are just big kids, and having fun and being wholesome and imaginative and silly are things you can do your entire life.