It takes a lot of courage to look at yourself and admit you were wrong about something. Everyone likes to pretend they’re on a different level, but the truth is you’re not so different from the people you disagree with. Meditate on that.
But before you do, here are 25 people admitting strong opinions they no longer have, and what it took to change those views. Enjoy! And make sure to check out the sources at the bottom for even more.
1. Jade-coloured glasses.
I used to think that being cynical/negative was realistic and somehow smarter than being positive. I’ve since realized that a “be prepared for the worst but expect the best” is far better. We can’t control the outcome of anything in life. Being negative makes you miserable rather than protected from bad things happening.
2. Can’t have a conversation with a parrot.
I used to be a conspiracy theorist. Believed that 9/11 was committed by the US government and that we never landed on the moon.
Once I started looking outside of the echo chamber I was in and started looking at alternate explanations, theories and listening to different viewpoints I soon realized how ridiculous those notions were.
3. A big, mysterious universe.
I used to be a strict, hardline atheist. I was the kind of bastard that would bring the subject up for no reason, just to argue. I don’t know what the hell my problem was. Now I feel like, the universe is big, I don’t know what all might be out there, I don’t really care. I live as if there is no afterlife, because that makes sense to me. But if you don’t, and you believe in one, that’s perfectly fine, and maybe you’re right. Who knows?
4. Portrait of the artist as a young man.
I used to believe anyone can be a successful artist if they just put the time and effort into it. There is no such thing as talent, only hard work.
What changed my mind: Art school. There were quite a few people that tried hard, but just weren’t able to achieve professional level art.
5. You’re not your emotions. You’re the awareness behind them.
For the longest time, I thought my emotions were in a sense the most “real” part of me. I was always a very emotional person and I didn’t make a real effort to control it as I thought it was a good thing, that I was just being honest with myself. Over time though, I started to become very depressed and the negative emotions just keep adding on and on. I thought “this is just how I am I guess”. (Story continues…)
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Unfortunately it started hurting other relationships I had, and everything changed when my girlfriend broke up with me. After a lot of reading I found that emotions are not who we are at all. They’re just reactions and there’s nothing that requires us to act on them or feed them. I’m learning to let it go through me instead of hanging on like I used to.
6. Don’t forget Big Willie Style.
I used to think that hip hop was bland, repetitive, and all about clubbing and shit. Then one of my friends pointed me towards people like Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Nas and Run The Jewels, who all have great songs and clever lyrics, and I realized that Hip Hop is pretty great.
7. Learn the whole story.
I used to believe that the lady who burned herself with McDonald’s coffee deserved every bit of her pain. Then I learned the truth of the lawsuit by reading up on it, and did a complete 180.
8. A**holes will find a way.
I used to think that the catholic church was responsible for all of the hateful people in it. I gave people the chance to challenge my opinion and someone explained it very nicely to me. Basically, the hateful people use the church as an excuse, if you remove the church they will gladly find another excuse.
9. Sometimes, it takes a first hand experience.
I used to be 100% against abortion. Like scary anti-abortion. Then in college I got raped which resulted in pregnancy. It was a really shitty month of questioning everything I was raised to believe, and then I drove myself to planned parenthood and made a choice that cost me almost all my friends, the respect of my family, and for a time, my self respect. (Story continues…)
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I am now firmly 100% pro-choice. I’m at peace with what I chose to do and I believe that everyone should be allowed to make the decision I did. My family still isn’t OK with it and I have different friends now, but everything turned out for the best.
10. High times.
I used to tell myself that I would never stop smoking weed, and that I’d be happy if my kids grew up to be pot smokers… Now I have a kid, don’t smoke, and realize what an idiot I was when all I did was smoke all day. I could probably be in a much better position if I hadn’t smoked all through college.
But I mean, I still think pot’s okay… Just in moderation.
11. Finding out the hard way.
I used to be against homosexuality/Prop 8. Now I’m a lesbian. Sigh.
12. Breaking the cycle.
As a teen I was very straight edge. No drinking or recreational drugs, I treated them like poison. I did this because my father was an alcoholic and I would have done anything to never end up like him. (Story continues…)
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Now I’m not a huge fan of alcohol, but I don’t mind drinking with friends and I smoked pot every day for a few years, but even that urge is fading.
Really I just grew up and chilled out. To each their own, and all things in moderation.
13. Not quite that simple after all.
“All taxation is theft, man! I made my money without any help from public institutions or the infrastructure they support, I should be able to keep every last dime of it!”
Naturally that was when I was 18, living at home rent free, and working at Pizza Hut as a delivery driver who relied upon public roads for pretty much every cent I made.
14. You mean the earth isn’t really turning 200 this week?
Used to be a young earth creationist and biblical literalist. It’s amazing what college, National Geographic magazine, and PBS can do to a person.
15. All those PSA’s didn’t do much…
The whole D.A.R.E anti-drugs. Yes crack and heroin is bad, but they over dramatized what happens when you do smaller drugs. Weed isn’t even a gateway drug, alcohol is more of a gateway drug. When I saw weed for the first time I thought it was tobacco (This was after all the D.A.R.E training too). Letting the government teach you your morales and philosophy is a thing that sheep do. Don’t be a sheep.
16. Where would we be without the kindness of strangers?
I used to think people on welfare and state assistance just weren’t trying hard enough. I grew up spoiled and entitled and it seemed like any kind of charity was a stigma.
Then, my husband became chronically ill, and the economy took a shit. My family has been close to homelessness more than once, and have relied on state insurance and assistance off and on throughout the past few years. (Story continues…)
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There are definitely people out there who abuse the system, but some just get stuck in a horrible cycle of poverty.
I also work in a school that has a high number low income and refugee families. It has really opened my eyes to the struggles that some people face.
17. Don’t soak yourself in other people’s poison.
I once was a hardcore social justice advocate and a pretty annoying feminist. I know people probably won’t agree with me but if you go on Tumblr and soak in the shit people say on it you start to have that mindset too, and that’s what happened to me.
Now I no longer think that way, I think I stopped because people eventually talked some sense into me and I’m thankful for that. I am still a feminist but I’m not like the ones you see on Tumblr.
18. He’s still there for you, as best he can be.
I could go through life and could seek meaningful advice from my Dad who has always been there for me.
Now he has been reduced to a feeble condition, I am starting to understand I’m out there on my own, and even what he’s sure of is suspect given his mental and physical facilities have been rapidly deteriorating in his late seventies. I feel horrible that I have noticed this long before he did – or at least admitted as much.
19. Clear your mind.
This was before I received an ADHD diagnosis. When my doctor referred me to an ADHD specialist, first of all I refused to believe him and was kind of slighted that he even suggested that I could possibly have ADHD.
I had a very strong opinion that if I get a diagnosis that I would refuse to take prescribed amphetamines because they are “bad” and “addictive” and that they would ruin my life.
Then I actually tried the prescription and it was like magic.
20. Everyone has a different light.
I used to hate atheists. I couldn’t believe that anyone would deny the kindness and love of God and I honestly thought they were people with no morality. Then I learned to understand that morality doesn’t have to based on religion. It can simply be an instinct or an idea based on humanity and human interaction. Besides, joke’s on me because I’m one of them now.. oh well.
21. Going through the whole spectrum.
I used to be fairly open with my views on immigration policy. Then I worked for a while down near Corpus Christie doing immigration work. I’d say one out if every hundred people that came through our office was going to somebody who actually wanted to work and try to make a living here. So many people simply wanted to exist enough to get welfare. Many were young men who we would later defend against exportation as a result of their criminal activity. I began to despise the work of defending these men and wished they would be deported. (Story continues…)
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Now, I’m dating a foreign girl and we are in the legal immigration process. She has advanced degrees and skills, so that makes things a little easier. But it does make me resent people who just bypass the system. We can’t bypass the system because I imagine my participation in immigration fraud could get me disbarred.
22. The internet is a big place.
I thought Reddit was mostly a place for people who had a lot of hate.
Basically my main impressions of Reddit were all filtered through the lens of this guy who was always singing Reddit’s praises and in the same breath talking about how women were all irrational and ruining everything.
In addition, I had a very bad impression from reading news articles last summer about community members being VERY upset the removal of some subreddits, the titles of which made me want to vomit when I read them.
I basically don’t like places where harassment is a given, I prefer to enjoy my internet time, yeah?
BUT, then in October of last year I began working in an office that had fairly strict internet restrictions, and some of the sites I liked to visit were blocked. But reddit wasn’t, and so I cautiously started frequenting some gaming subreddits on my breaks and lunches. Then I got to reading other subs, like askreddit, and it was apparent that the guy who had shaped my view of Reddit was only a small part, not the main dish.
23. Take it at your own pace.
I proclaimed that I was asexual until about age 20. I just felt no need to do the deed. Then I started taking birth control to regulate my hormones and my sex drive skyrocketed.
My therapist liked to throw around the term ‘hyper sexual’ when discussing my behaviours.
24. You don’t know how important some things are until you need them.
I used to think that the single-payer healthcare system in my country was bullshit. Why should I pay for someone’s else medical treatment? I never get sick, and it just costs me money all the time. Then I saw people I knew in the US get sick and go to the hospital and have to pay fortunes for treatment. I realized how much better the single-payer system was on a purely human aspect. Now I’m more than glad to contribute and to get quasi-free treatment whenever I’m sick.
25. Itchy ring finger.
I believed that marriage was forever, no matter what. I did not believe in divorce. Thought it was “for better for worse” and there was nothing you couldn’t get through.
A few years ago after a 15 year marriage, my uber-rich asshole husband locked me out of our house and would not allow me to get in to even get my clothes. He gave away most of my clothes to his sisters later. I didn’t work. He closed out all my credit cards and took my name off of our joint bank accounts. I had done nothing. He had been having an affair with someone he wanted to marry, and knew I would never give him a divorce unless he destroyed me, so he did…or he tried. I stayed with a neighbor friend that night, and her husband tried to talk to him, to no avail. The next morning, they came and towed my car away because it was in his name.
Luckily, I have a close family and they came and got me and I lived with them until the divorce was finalized. I was 19 when we were married, and he had me sign a prenup I did not understand, but I was young and in love so I signed it. I was left with nothing until we could go to court. Luckily, I got a wonderful judge who berated him and gave me a modest alimony for three years and one of our nicer rental properties, plus enough money to buy a car and replace all the designer clothes he had given away to his sisters.
I got a job, put all the money in the bank except what I used to buy furniture and a nice bicycle. Never have bought a car because I live in a place that has good public transportation. I sold the rental property eventually and left the state.
He married his mistress, she miniipulated him and then took him for a shitton of money. Karma is good. He finally apologized to me and tried to give me money. I told him, “No thanks. Your money turned you into a monster, and I don’t need it.”