I Got Curious What Was The Pivotal Moment That Changed The Way People Think, And The Bored Panda Community Delivered

I Got Curious What Was The Pivotal Moment That Changed The Way People Think, And The Bored Panda Community Delivered

As children, we grow up in a rather small circle. The older we get, the more people from different parts of the world we meet. That is when our instilled values can be challenged. Most of the time, we don't change a thing, but sometimes we get faced with contradictions that shake up our view forever.

When the sudden moment of realization hits, you can never see the way you did before. So, dear fellow Pandas, I ask you, what was that moment for you?


A black person I worked with was called the N-word by an angry customer. She turned to me and said, “there is nothing I can call you that will ever make you understand how much that hurts”. That completely changed my thinking.


Once when I was about 10, a fox wandered into our backyard in broad daylight and we noticed it moving around in a peculiar way on a dirt patch in the corner of the yard which we always used to bury our pets (we had many pets over the years). As we slowly got closer to it, we realized the fox was twitching severely, as if having a seizure that wouldn't stop. It didn't react to our presence even as we got closer. We called animal control to take care of it, and they arrived and explained that it had some kind of brain infection that slowly takes over its functions until it becomes completely incapacitated but still functioning as we see it today. They quickly helped it to the final door and it was buried in that very spot.

The fact that it was neurological forced me to consider the state of mind it had been in that day - How long were its motor skills and basic functions slipping away? Did it know what was happening when it walked through broad daylight? Did it know it would pass away soon? Was it fully aware that we were standing over it? How much did it suffer?... How much did it suffer *mentally*?

Until then I had loved animals but still considered them like autonomous bots. This was the first time that I was brought to terms with them as cognizant equals and understood that they have internal mental capabilities and struggles just the same as humans. It brought me to recognize a whole new genre of suffering, and I became significantly more caring because of it.


When I realized that my life would be so much better for me, emotionally, when I let someone in my life go. Permanently.


I used to cashier and was often way more honest than I should have been for working in customer service. Someone asked me how my day was going and I said “I’m considering abandoning ship.” It was during the worst time in my life and I was thinking of packing my bags and moving back across the country to where I grew up.

The customer responded: Don’t abandon the ship. Sail a different sea.

Completely changed how I look at situations and life as a whole.

I wish I could thank him.

I’m now a first-year high school English teacher which has been my dream since I was 11. I’m 33.


The realization that being angry is a choice.


When my best friend came out and I realized I wasn’t straight either and I was opened up to a whole new world of LGBTQ+ people.


When I found out the church I attended was a bunch of hypocrites and liars. Left that church and religion altogether when I realized all was based on lies and misinformation.


I was doing an internship for my Ph.D. in psychology at a large, public hospital. I told my supervisor about a patient and he asked me what I did about the situation. I told him I didn’t do anything, that I waited to ask him. He said, “If you don’t do anything, who will?” That statement taught me to take on my professional role and step up to help. It guided me through a long career.


When God's booming voice from above told me to quit drinking & using drugs...OR ELSE!

Well, it was actually a judge, but he thought he was a god. ?


I had never been aware of the level of racism that is out there (living in the Southern US.) Had finished getting a man ready for surgery and he asked who was "putting him to sleep." I told him his name and then he started to repeatedly ask me "What is he?" I'd answer doctor, anesthesiologist, again that he's a doctor until he got to the part he was really getting at. "Is he an N-word or what? Because you never know what he's going to do to me while I'm asleep."

I felt like I was going to explode inside. "NO HE'S NOT, he's an African American and an excellent physician. While you are asleep he's going to take exceptionally good care of you." Then, I could not resist this. Go ahead mister, try and report me. I dare you. I turned to him as I was going through the curtain and said, " I guess the pre-op interview nurse forgot to tell you our sheets are cream-colored. Next time remember to bring your own white sheet." The look on his face was so worth it. Another time I had been in a room while the MD was also there.

When he left the man said, "He sure is a good doctor for a black man." Exploding inside. "The fact that he is African American is completely irrelevant. He's one of the best cardiologists in the country and you are more than fortunate to have him." Again, the look was so worth it."

Another encounter with a racist patient was so infuriating to all of us... well, just don't p**s off the nurses about something like that.


When a dear friend passed away suddenly, and when clearing out their desk, I found their mantra on a piece of paper on top of their workload in the drawer…

1. Don’t worry about things, as most things never happen.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff, it too will probably not happen
3. Give more.
4. Expect less.
(and the one I always smile at, as they said it often)
5. To get something you never had before, you gotta do something you have never done before.


When I was maybe 9 or 10 I was jealous of the "rich" families in our small town, and I asked my mom why we didn't have a nice new big house and a nice car.

She told me they probably aren't really rich, they just have a lot of debt, and it has always stuck with me. Now as an adult I don't feel jealous, I feel sorry for them because they feel the need to display their "wealth".


When my son was about 5 I was doing some housework. He came to me and wanted me to play with him. I told him I was sorry, but I was busy. He said, "But you're always busy."

I put the housework aside and went and played with him. The housework could wait.


When I realized that my son would be better with no father than with a toxic, manipulative, alcoholic father. It’s only happened in the last two weeks that I have finally found the strength to cut him out of our lives, but I already feel so much calmer. I always thought I would know the signs of mistreatment, and that because I was not being hit that things weren’t that bad, that it was just “normal” couple stuff that everyone went through. But it’s not.

Being constantly belittled, stolen from, guilted into giving money & taking out loans, gaslit, having any self-confidence destroyed, manipulated, etc. takes its toll. They develop a hold over you. And I felt like I couldn’t cope without him in my life because no one else would want me. But then I had the realization that I cannot have my son grow up and see the relationship between his parents and think that it is an acceptable way to treat a woman (or anyone for that matter).

We’re finally free. I’m going to get therapy. I have amazingly supportive family & friends, that are just glad that I have finally seen the light. My son will grow up surrounded by love, happiness & good people.


In my early 20s, I became frustrated with the constant harassment and general bulls**t of working a dead-end office job and decided to go back to school and earn a degree. I was in a slightly male-dominated program (science) but felt respected by my peers.

Fast-forward six years to graduation and I was at a celebration with students from my program. I overheard a large group of drunk male students talking about a female classmate, referring to her with a disgusting, objectifying "nickname." They saw the look on my face and one of them said "relax, we've got names for all of you." I was less shocked than I was disappointed in myself, for being stupid enough to think that "educated" men would be more respectful.

I've worked in research for 25 years and have had a lot of great male colleagues, but sadly there is just as much sexist bulls**t as in any other job.


When I was about 9 I went to spend Christmas with my grandmother in Zambia. She had an orphanage and every year would put on a Nativity play and hold a Christmas party for all the children in the village. This particular year she had it on my birthday (21st Dec).

I'd made friends with a girl about my age and even though we didn't speak each other's language we were instant friends, as only children can be. During the day my new friend gave me part of an eraser - needless to say, I was confused.

I asked my grandmother why she would give me part of my eraser and her response was 'that little girl has nothing, but she still wanted to give you something for your birthday'.

To this day I remind myself that often people are giving all they can, even if it doesn't seem like much to us.


I used to be an awful person (Well, more than I am now), and I was generally being an a**hole because I got stressed out (which was a poor excuse), and I accidentally made my grandfather cry.

I’m a shi**y person, but it opened my eye to how awful I truly was. I make sure to at least apologize and stop myself now.


That I have full control of my own happiness. No matter what anyone says, it is their opinion and I have my own as well. What I do that will make me happy, I chose that... whatever the consequences are, I take full responsibility for it.

Happiest I have ever been in the past 2 decades. I wish I knew this when I was younger! I chose my choices!


I never truly understood what real helplessness was until my infant daughter had an illness that she might never recover from. Thankfully everything is fine but I often think of that and it centers me on any life problems I might encounter to provide perspective.


When I learned that my doctors didn’t expect me to survive cancer. They told me I’d never see my 40th birthday.

I’m 45 now, but facing my own mortality completely changed me.


In my final year of high school, I (F) hung out with a girl. We did everything together but I mostly enjoyed the sleepovers. We lost touch after graduation. A few years later we are both back home visiting family and run into each other. She tells me she is recently engaged and brought her fiancé to meet her dad. A young woman approaches us and I get introduced - to her fiancée.

I am clearly surprised and asked her how long she had known. She said since she was 13. Does your dad know? Yep, since I first knew. Why did you not tell me? You know why. Indeed, I did. It was not something that was ever spoken - just a given. It was not right - period!

It was then that I realized any prejudices, racism, or anything else in that regard that I may have, was not of my own. I swore, that day, to rid myself of all the toxic garbage that my parents and family had passed onto me and, especially, to never pass it on to my future children.

Skip ahead 20 years and I am watching Lethal Weapon with my 15-year-old son. Mom, I can't remember that one actor's name. Which one? The guy with the mustache. I tell him, Danny Glover. And then I had a silent cry.


You know, life's not fair. Although I miss the mark on some days. Some days I get it right. After hearing Bobby Mcferrin's song "Don't worry be happy ", I realized it's all a state of mind and it changed the way I think about what it takes for me to be happy.


The moment in my life that changed the way I think was being told I had stage 3c ovarian cancer. It actually changed a lot more than my way of thinking.


Leaving all toxic people behind. 28 rn but have never been this happy before.


It’s been 15 months since I gave up alcohol, and my life is recognizable again. Best decision I’ve ever made.


When I started a new job as a counselor for inmates in one of our city's detention centers. I always thought people in jail failed society, but I realized I had it backward - society has failed these people.

I have since dedicated my practice to doing what our prisons fail to do - rehabilitating people, starting with basic skills, and mental health issues.


I often go to church and pray (I’m Catholic) and ask God questions about life.

Once I asked Him, "If you are God, and you are almighty, and you let us deliberately struggle in life, and with all those problems we got, doesn’t it make you mean?" And I heard a voice, like coming directly from my heart, "Like a parent watches his kid learning how to walk, and even if it fails and tries again over and over," and "The real purpose is to never give up the process, and watching all of you doing so fills Me with immense love" (I don’t know how to express it accurately in English… it was very intense).

First of all, that kind of an answer would have never come out from my then actual state of mind (I was in a bad divorce from a narcissistic manipulative person) so that was definitely not me; and secondly, it totally opened my eyes: from that point on I just try very, very hard at everything without being obsessed with the outcome. It made me become a lot more positive and generous person, and professionally I even got multiple promotions since. Just wanted to share.


I worked in a highly competitive sporting industry when I was a young adult. I enjoyed some association with the England squad and ended up being on 'standby' for an International junior tournament. Flash forward to me turning professional and being as green as they come, trusting everybody, thinking everyone would be my friend. Like a daft labrador, wagging my tail at people.

The situation was that we had the first team (that you would see on the TV) and the reserves (that people came to watch in the stadium). There were three of us battling for those two positions. Healthy competition, I thought. May the best man win.

Oh, how wrong I was. Everyone was friendly to your face but was just in it for themselves. I thought they were my friends but things got back to me that they had been saying behind my back. I was so disappointed in them that I was inconsolable. How can someone be so two-faced? The worst was yet to come.

As I caught up on my experience, I was a threat to the position of the other two guys. Exactly around that time, I was called into the manager's office where I was accused of having a gambling problem - I did not. A couple of weeks later the manager asks me whether I thought I would pass a drug test. Of course, I would. Then it was a drinking problem - nope. Somebody was spreading rumors.

Eventually, I realized that you can't trust anybody and it's not paranoia if they really are all out to get you.


The USMC and Iraq, I don’t recommend either.


When I realized that nothing really matters, like to the universe. This thought actually helped my depression and anxiety because it lifts some of the weight off my chest, that even if I mess something up, the universe will carry on just fine, it's not the end of the world if I do/say something wrong.


When Russians, sorry Russian soldiers in unofficial disguise, invaded Ukraine's Crimea. Peaceful post-WW2 era and my youth ended right then even though I'm not Ukrainian myself...


When I found out my favorite dinosaur the Brontosaurus ("B" from now on) wasn't real. I still believed in Santa so this was my first big "lie". The guy who found/named it had cludged it together from several dinosaurs and made a fake skull to say he found the biggest one. Scientists realized the mistake several years later and fixed it but the guy who funded the "B" scientist was a publisher so he continued the lie. I wasn't heart broken when the guy at the museum told me. Instead it hooked me on science because he showed me why. Science is about finding better answers and its ok to correct things that are wrong. For the first time, dinosaurs became real because they weren't perfect. I became a scientist whose chased marmots up mountains and worked in organ banks because of that "lie". Happy ending - they found a "B" skull in 2015 that matched most of the other bones from the original "B" and 3 species are back. So a mistaken mistake was corrected. I love science.


A few years earlier , I used to HATE K-pop and My friends who liked it. I am born in a Homophobic Family and always saw the world from their eyes. But as Now I grew up a bit , I realized How racist I am becoming !! I hated them because they have tiny eyes , and because K-pop guys wore makeup !! I was so embarrassed when I learned about Homophobic people , Because I was one and didn't knew !! Even tho I was just 11 , Im Still embarrassed that how stupid I was. If we should not judge a book by its cover , Why judge music by its language ? Why judge people by how they look ? WHY JUDGE PEOPLE ??


When I was about 11, I was talking with my best friend and I don't remember what I said, but it wasn't about Africa, but she misunderstood something and yelled, "I am not African!" and ran home crying. This is in the US and she was black and I was white. She rarely got mad and rarely yelled. She was a quiet, sweet person who would typically get hurt rather than mad.

I didn't understand all that stuff. (I thought I was black for 6 months when I was 7, because she was "black" and we were the same in my view.)

I realized when she went home crying that she had some ongoing, never-ending pain in her life that I didn't have in mine (and which nobody should have, let alone a little girl). I don't remember how I figured out exactly what this was all about not being African (probably my Mom explained).

She was two grades below me, so if people were saying mean, racist things to her in school, I didn't know. The kids in the neighborhood were fine as far as I know, but my other friend's mom was clearly prejudiced, possibly racist.

That is the day I lost my innocence and realized how incredibly unfair the world can be. And the saddest thing about that is that she had learned it years before :-(


The time I started to read the Bible on my own - not relying on what others had told me about the Bible.....


"Be prepared to fail" - like things don't always work out perfectly. Some things just fail and that's normal. My perfectionist a** just took a new perspective.


Got promoted to a leadership role. Shortly afterwards, of my closest coworkers get in a beef. I try to sort it out myself because one or both of them could have been fired over the incident. I deal with it before anyone else finds out, but neither one appreciates my help.

First one (same position as me) reports me for using the word "s**t" in our conversation (trust me - every second word out of his mouth was worse). I get hauled into the manager's office and a letter placed in my employee file for being "unprofessional". Not much I can do about it.

Second one (my subordinate) invites me to her place for a bbq where she gets stoned and tells me something disturbing about how she stalked an ex-coworker (that I was still friends with). Next day - coincidentally- the ex-coworker asks if I think she was crazy to think she was being stalked. I said no. It gets back to the stalker that I had the conversation with the ex-employee and said she wasn't crazy ... and I get hauled into the manager's office and suspended for two days for "breaching confidentiality" of my subordinate...... For talking to someone not employed by our company...... about something that had nothing to do with our business....... in the private residence of the subordinate..... who was high at the time.

This has changed the fundamental nature of who I am as a leader. It's everyone for themselves out there. There is no such thing as a work-friend.


I first became suspicious around age two, when I hat to respect my older sister's feelings, but she didn't have to recognize mine. I worked for better gender equality for decades, but decided that it was impossible, and we should seek parity instead when Canada refused to include males in the study on missing and took out indigenous people, even though they are the clear majority of cases.


I was in a cruel relationship for years. I didn't mind being the victim as much as it bothered me that he would mistreat our daughter. I'm normally a non-confrontational person and often had recurring nightmares of the mistreatment. I was being stalked, harrassed as i had come to expect from this recurring nightmare, and i kept waiting for someone to save me. These nightmares kept going even after i left the relationship. Then, one night, it occurred to me that nobody was coming to save me. I was on my own. I could either get used to being someone's domestic plaything, or i could stand up and save myself. So i did.
Five years later, i'm married to an amazing man, and the mistreatment is just a bad memory from long ago. My husband's friends regard me as a terrifying force of nature. All because i decided to be my own damn hero.


When I asked my mother how I could improve my drawing. She should have said she was busy just then, but instead, she said it was fine. I never asked her another question.


Was looking at an ad for a very very cheap but horrible and run-down appartment. And was later wondering, who buys such horrible appartments. And realised, it could bring much better return on investment as the nice appartments I was looking at previously. So the at the next opportunity, I was the only one bidding, got it and turned it into a gem. Two gems, actually, one is already sold and the other one is waiting for the final touches.


When I was 8, I had just learned my LGBTQ’s. I was a misinformed child with no knowledge such a community existed. I immediately realized i was part of it (i first thought i was a lesbian, but I now identify as pan openly). I apologize to anyone in my community I insulted when I was 8


When my Aunt used my Mother to her benefit and didn't even looked back when we were in need or bothered to pay my mom back. Never fully trust people even if they're your family or friend


Accidently put an end to a frog. No more ending lives.


Just before my sophomore year in high school, my newly acquired friend came out to me. I had been told by others that he was gay, but since it was still his story to tell, I ignored them. The time I spent with him over the next couple of years before he left for college opened my eyes to a lot of things - intellectually, socially, culturally - and he never put limits on what he thought I could accomplish or expected me to be someone I was not. He changed the lens of how I looked at life and myself, which prevented me from just living the narrow-minded, sheltered existence that I was raised to follow. Now 40 years later we are reconnecting from hundreds of miles apart, and he is helping me to reclaim a view of myself that I thought I had lost. And it all started with an awkward conversation in my room long ago.


I (58M) allowed my fanatically religious mother to bully and harass me about religion for my entire life. She drilled Jesus into me every day as a child. I was sent to Christian schools and we attended church every time the doors were open. We went to revivals and camp meetings at every opportunity. When I became an adult I move out, but she continued the campaign of trying to convert me to her fanatical brand of hate-based Christianity. I grew up among racists, misogynist, and homophobes. They preach interracial couples are a sin, women are subservient to men, and gays are going straight to hell. The latter has been particularly painful for me because I'm gay. I knew the moment puberty hit. The preachers preached that gays were the lowest form of life to slither across this earth and they deserved to burn in hell. There were no role models on TV. I had no one to turn to. My parents gave my siblings cars when they turned 16. I bought my own car so I would have something to live in if they found out I was gay. My teen years were terrifying.

During adulthood, I have withstood my mother's religious mistreatments to keep the family peace and to avoid offending her (given how she has treated me, I know that sounds crazy). But she is my mother and no one wants to hurt their mother. I turned the other cheek when she came after me, until...

I married my husband in 2013. In 2018, I finally mustered the courage to tell my mother we were married. She offered no kind words, no congratulations, no support, and didn't ask a single question. She just lowered her head and said, "I know." That was the end of the conversation.

During my next visit to her house (I was 55 at the time), her Christian anger erupted. She physically restrained me in a chair, got in my face, and said over and over and over that I'm going to hell. Despite the devastation, that moment was cathartic for me.

That one minute interaction with my mother changed my life forever. I stood up, walked out of her house and life, and I haven't looked back. I blocked her on my phone so she can't call me. I am free of this woman finally. My only regret is that I didn't do it 30 years ago. Oh how much more peaceful my life would have been.

By the way, I have seen psychotherapists for my entire adult life trying to recover from her. It has helped.


I was just a kid when I realized my parents were getting a divorce. Took me a wile to get over it, but I was still homesick( both of my parents moved)


The day I walked into the rooms of recovery


So many. When I fought with someone I knew from another racial group and they pointed out to me, in anger, that I was coming across as racist. Huge reality slap. When my first girlfriend left me and I realised I had made a mistake and that I was a disrespectful POS. When my first child was born and I realised that I'd never love anyone more than that. When my dad passed away and I realised how powerless I was against the universe and that a person can be gone when their body is still alive. When I got divorced and realised what I wanted most was freedom. Life is tough.


I'm in my mid fifties. I've seen and done a whole bunch of sh*t (military, global travel, journalism, etc), but the only event that changed the way I see EVERYTHING was reading my wife's first draft of her debut novel about a couple of years ago. It's a thriller, but it's based on facts. She showed me her research notes, and the statistics literally left me speechless. The theme of the book concerns the biggest threat to the survival of our species and our planet, and it's not global warning - it's overpopulation. The human race is expanding exponentially. I cannot overstate how worried I am for us all. The book is called 10:59 by N R Baker and it's available online. Check out reviews - hundreds of other people seem to agree with my thoughts about it. Truly a novel that could change your world view.


When I hit 50 and realized I had no idea what was going on socially or globally anymore. Life went into hyper-speed after I graduated from college but I wasn't paying attention to the changes going on unless they directly concerned me. Once I hit 50 I found myself standing around with a "who farted" look on my face way too often. I realized I needed to start listening to people younger than me and try to understand life from their point of view and not mine. I also realized I needed to move out of my middle age comfort zone and take a good look at what was going on in the world and how I would respond. Not easy and I'm still working on it.


When I realized that people can change and it's ok to let them go.


When will the world end. When will you pass away. These sort of questions keep me up at night. The answer is I don’t know, but don’t treat your life as if something or someone is going to kill you every second in your life. What I’ll say is treat your day like it’s your last meaning have fun, you’ll never know when you’ll be able to do it again.


Eight years ago, I was sitting in a Bible class at my church (I was 54 then), and the (creationist) teacher said "90% of the scientific evidence proves the earth is young" (6,000-10,000 years old), not 4.6 billion years old. I thought to myself, "If that's true, why does nearly every scientist I ever heard of say it's old? Surely they're not all dupes of Satan!" So I started researching, and quickly discovered that creationist "evidence" of a young earth was bullc**p, and mainstream science overwhelmingly supports an old earth (and universe). Plus, plenty of Christians accept mainstream science. So that day was the beginning of the end of my blindly accepting whatever my church told me, and the start of trying to use my brain as well as my Bible.

A fellow church member (an actual astrophysicist) later told me the universe was only 6,000 years old because that's what the Bible says (according to him). When I mentioned evidence for the Big Bang, light taking billions of years to travel throught space, etc., he just said maybe God created the universe to LOOK old. When I asked him why would God do that, he basically said it's a mystery.

Nice guy, but I can't accept a nonsense "explanation" like that.


The birth of my son, when I held him in my arms…literally 3milliseconds changed it all: purpose, meaning, priorities…


I have been working as Accountant in small companies. When I met with some accountant of large companies then I came to know that I am a better accountant as I have full control of all accounting aspects from start to end. That accountant can't do any thing other then assigned to them by their seniors. That's Then I added "Account Manager" confidently in my resume.


When I got diagnosed with autism.


The day that I got in a really scary car accident. I was hit on the driver's side of my vehicle while trying to make a U- turn. I ended up in a ditch with glass everywhere and the only visible injury I had was being cut with broken glass. The fire department had to cut the door off of the vehicle in order for me to get out. A lot of people showed up to help in the situation and they were very concerned. This made realize that there are still some good people in the world. The accident also helped me realize how precious life truly is.


I was basically told to be afraid of gay people my entire life. My dad decided to take a job down in the Florida keys. Gay capital or Florida. After high-school I basically came to the conclusion I love everyone as long as their not f*****g a**hats to me. Problem solved. Well not for my dad. This still cracks me up to this day.....fast forward 6 years. Dad comes down after leaving Florida to come see me. I still live in key west and work at a "gay bar" as a shot girl. I allowed people to take body shots off my belly button. Yeah...eww... but it's liquor so there's that.
Anywhom.... took my dad to the bar. He is mortified. Constantly making homofobic comments but to only me. I told him to shut the f**k up. This is my family.
He finally sits down watches one of the drag queens and falls in love with it all.
Because of me I have single handly changed my family to the point my conservative grandma loves the f**k out of the gay community and supports them from harm at her church. Who has a rainbow flag flying from their temple or worship. Thank you lord. ?
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