Someone Asked “What Is Something You Changed Your Stance On After Learning More About It?”, Here Are 30 Of The Most Fascinating Answers
Have you ever been extremely passionate about a topic just to years later look back and be embarrassed that you ever felt that way? Maybe it was supporting a certain politician or animal rights group in college, but since then you’ve realized they don’t represent your beliefs as much as you once thought. The beauty of being human is that we can form opinions on anything, and those opinions aren’t static.
Last week, Reddit user Pineapple_WarpDrive reached out to fellow members of the Ask Reddit community to pose the question, “What is something you changed your stance on after learning more about it?” And a very interesting conversation was sparked. We’ve gathered some of the most eye-opening responses for you to read right here, and as you make your way through the list, we implore you to keep an open mind. Perhaps your opinions will be changed too!
Then if you’re looking for another Bored Panda piece that’ll get you thinking, we’ve got the perfect one for you to read next right here.
Understanding why people shake their baby.
Of course it is absolutely horrible and it seems like it should make sense that nobody should even think about doing it but I have an understanding of how it can happen now.
I had my own daughter 4 years ago and swore up and down that nobody but a monster would shake their child but let me tell you that sleep deprivation is hell and it is terrifying.
When my daughter was a newborn, she was crying very hard one particular night and nothing we did seemed to soothe her crying. My insanely sleep deprived brain started trying to take over and I could feel the urge to shake her.
Luckily, I had just enough cognitive function to recognize that I was in a very vulnerable and bad situation. I set my daughter back down in her crib and walked away for a little while so as to wake myself up some more.
That is the most scared I've ever been of what the human brain is capable of.
I’m sure you’ve heard someone say before that “people can’t change”. While this may have been uttered by a bitter, pessimistic individual, it’s actually a pretty common belief to hold. Whether it’s in reference to someone who cheated on their partner, someone struggling with addiction or a student who just won’t do their homework, feeling this way about another person isn’t likely to encourage them to change their habits.
But this list is a prime example that people can change. I think the issue is less about whether or not people can and more about whether or not they want to. People can certainly enact change within themselves, but we aren’t often successful in trying to alter anyone else. Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, addresses this in a piece on his website saying, “For a person to truly change, they must feel that the change is theirs, that they chose it, they control it. Otherwise, it loses all its effect.”
Assisted Suicide. I was against it, but after seeing my uncle suffer with extreme Rheumatoid Arthritis for a few years before eventually dying from it, I’m all for it now. If we put down our pets when they’re suffering, why can’t we do the same to our humans with their written consent?
In the case of wanting someone else in our lives to change, we often have to sit back and fight the impulse to impose our own opinions. It can be painful, but as Mark notes, “The best attempts at helping someone often backfire. You can’t make someone be confident or respect themselves or take responsibility—because the means you use to do this destroys confidence, respect, and responsibility.”
So what does he recommend to gently guide loved ones towards better choices while maintaining our relationships? First, he notes that leading by example can be an effective tactic. If you think your partner is drinking too much and it’s beginning to negatively impact their life or health, you can set an example by inviting them to stay in with you more often or opting for nonalcoholic drinks in their company. It might not cause them to reconsider their own choices, but it does present them with an option they might have previously not even considered.
Universal healthcare. When I actually learned more about healthcare systems in other countries and then compared it to my own (I live in America) it really showed me just how far behind we are. For years I staunchly thought it was a horrible idea, but now I’m pissed everyday cause the US doesn’t have it.
Abortion. Grew up Christian (not anymore). I started shifting more left but didn’t know if I could call myself pro-choice. So I researched it. 70%+ of abortions are done by women who live below the poverty line. 60% of those (45% of all) are done by women who also already have a child.
So its a mother who already struggles to feed her child making an impossible choice. Maybe instead of telling her what to do, we can figure out how to provide her basic needs and healthcare and educate her so she can get out of poverty.
Next, Mark recommends providing them with better questions, rather than answers. Avoid explicitly sharing your own opinions, and ask the other person questions that allow them to reflect on their actions. Mark provides the example of rather than telling someone they need to request a raise, you could ask them, “Do you believe you’re fairly paid?” They won’t feel judged, and it’s empowering for them to come to their own conclusions. Whether they agree with you or not, they’re at least considering the topic you raised.
Lastly, Mark notes how important it is to provide help unconditionally. Whether you think you know what’s best for them or not, resist the urge to tell them exactly what to do. Make yourself available, so they can take you up on the offer if they want to. Lots of people don’t want to hear advice, but they may relate to a personal story you share of a similar situation. And you’re not forcing them to do anything, especially change; you’re just opening up their mind.
Homosexuality. I “knew” that the Bible said it was wrong (fewer times than it said divorce was wrong). In college I actually met a lesbian for the first time. I had known them for months before I found it out though, so my brain was confused.
“But they’re normal! But they’re gay! So does that change anything? How does that affect me? Wait . . . That doesn’t affect me? So then what is the issue?”
I’ve never gone back to that stance.
Vaccines. My mom has always been an anti vaxxer, so I grew up with all the propaganda. Once i moved out and had to get all my vaccines for my job, I *did my own research* and learned the truth.
When it comes to what we change our minds on, it can be anything and everything. Maybe when you were growing up you hated brussels sprouts because of the way your parents prepared them, but after trying them roasted in the oven and drizzled with a bit of balsamic glaze, they became one of your favorite vegetables. Politics are certainly a common topic that people’s opinions ebb and flow on. Perhaps as a teenager you felt one way because that’s what your parents told you was right. Then when you went to college you joined some activist groups, and your political ideology did a 180. According to the Pew Research Center, even social media can play a role in affecting our political beliefs. In 2018, 14% of Americans say something they saw on social media caused them to alter their opinion on a political or social issue.
Jehovahs witnesses. I grew up as one and when I finally started doing research outside of their publications I couldn’t believe what I saw, and I left.
EDIT: I was disfellowshipped because I didn’t have the balls to disassociate myself. There were a lot of horrible things that happened to me in the religion in 2017-2019, so I felt my only way out was suicide. I failed my attempt in January of 2020, and was disfellowshipped in August of 2020, about four months after I got out of rehab. I lost my home, my job, my family, and my friends. Pretty much my entire life foundation. But I’ve built a support system from scratch and now I have friends who love me for me, and not just based on religion.
It’s sad but not many people get to start a brand new life in their 20’s so I’m grateful in many ways as well as grieving those I lost.
ANOTHER EDIT: Thank you for all of the love and the awards! It’s so heart warming to see so many people going through the same experiences. We are never alone and I’m sorry so many of you have been effected by this too.
FINAL EDIT: If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, I really don’t need you commenting on this to tell me I’m wrong and you’re not in a cult. What I’ve been through speaks for itself. So please let me be.
Climate Change. Looking at the evidence it's clearly a hoax.
Just kidding, I was a firm denier until I had to do an assignment proving or disproving it in highschool. Realised I couldn't find any decent source to back up my claim. Basically changed my mind on the spot
Helium balloons; helium is a finite resource of immense scientific value and we use it for party decorations
Certain groups were more impressionable, however. Men between the ages of 18-29, for example, were the most likely to be affected by what they read online, with 29% of them reporting that a social media post changed their views on an issue. The people who note that social media affects their beliefs also credit those sites for inspiring them to become more socially active. 67% of them said that social media is important to them for “finding others who share views about important topics” and 63% of them say social media is important for “getting involved with political or social issues”. 56% of them also noted that social media is important to them personally for “giving them a venue to express their political opinions”.
Horse racing. I come from an area that takes great pride in it. I've recently learned more about it and feel that it is animal abuse. They are shot up with steroids and other drugs and die more often than you would even think.
More specifically, working hard in a corporate environment. I like to work hard for things that I own and maintain, my home, my family, my body, my hobbies. But I've worked for almost 20 years for big tech companies. I've started at entry level jobs and worked up to middle management. Support jobs. Sales jobs. I've made 6 figures.
What I've noticed is that they want to pay you less and keep training and experience as a reward. That is to say, you are not working for a paycheck. You are working towards the next thing. But they convince everyone to work hard in an entry level position, working unpaid overtime and you might be rewarded with a higher job. Statistically, you will not be promoted. There are 30 people on your team who all have that same goal and you can't all be supervisor or manager.
Now, I just work for my paycheck. If you would like me to work harder, you can pay me more. I'm not going to go above and beyond for 2 years just to get passed over again.
I didn't think orthopedic shoes were for me, but I stand corrected.
By 2020, 23% of Americans on social media said that “they have changed their views about a political or social issue because of something they saw on social media in the past year”. That alone (the jump from 14% to 23% over the course of 2 years) is a perfect indication of how people’s opinions change over time. People between the ages of 18-29 were still the most impressionable in 2020, with 34% of them reporting that their views had shifted from social media. The topics that people were most likely to change their minds about were the Black Lives Matter Movement, police brutality/need for police reform, political parties/ideologies/politicians, and race relations in general. One 64 year old woman stated, “Reading articles on the BLM movement has opened my eyes to the degree of systemic racism in this country and the world.” While another respondent, a 50 year old man said, “I used to support BLM, but now I see them as violent domestic terrorists not interested in addressing the real problems within the Black community. BLM is about a communist revolution not about helping the Black community…”
My ex-wife’s sister married one.
Before they met, my opinion of Mormons was “oh they’re basically just Christian’s with a couple wacky beliefs. They have multiple wives! How kooky yet ultimately harmless.”
The more of his family & community I met and interacted with, the more clear it became that Mormonism is a cult that preys on weak people like my ex-SIL. She converted within three months. His temple wouldn’t allow her own mother or father inside during the wedding. They had to sit outside in the sun, alone, then pay for a separate “ring ceremony” they were allowed to attend.
Learning more about a different culture or religion usually makes me more accepting, but maaaan f**k Mormons.
Feminism. I thought it excluded the inequalities men face. I learned that if the problem women face is fixed it takes care of the ones men do as a bonus.
Homelessness. I used to have no patience or or empathy thinking that if they really wanted to change their circumstances they could find the resources. My mind changed when I began working with special education children and realized most of these people probably have specific learning disabilities that our school system/their families failed to identify or help them with. I also realize how privileged I grew up (my dad was a store manager and my mom a teacher so nothing too special but still we had everything we needed and good relationships with each other) and how much worse some people grew up with and how easily people can get trapped in bad circumstances.
While we’re certainly all capable of changing our minds, it can be challenging to get there. We tend to be stubborn, so Dr. Maria Cohut of Medical News Today took a look at why exactly that is. She references a study that investigated “what, exactly, happens in the brain that makes people so unlikely to change their minds”, and notes that facts are often not enough to alter people’s opinions. “For instance,” the researchers of the study wrote, “over the last decade climate scientists have expressed greater confidence that climate change is man-made. Yet, the percentage of the population that believes this notion to be true has dropped over the same period of time.”
All lives matter VS Black Lives Matter. I’m not racist, and I thought saying that “all lives matter” was better than BLM because it included everyone, meaning that everyone is important. Thankful I have a wife who is smarter than me and helped me to realized that BLM is important because of the attention that it shows/brings to the group of people who are being treated unfairly. That’s the nice thing about being open minded is you can change and not feel bad about it.
Cats! I never grew up around cats, thought they were mean. Now I date a girl who has a cat and I have a cat of my own. I love them so much.
That case where McDonald's had to pay a bunch of money to a woman who spilled hot coffee on herself.
According to the researchers, confirmation bias is a strong force. This was tested through an experiment where participants were randomly paired off with partners and shown images of real estate listings. The participants were then asked to evaluate what they would expect the asking price of each property to be, either more or less than an amount set by investors. Each participant then decided how much they would be willing to invest. Next they were asked to take functional MRI scans facing their partners, with a glass screen dividing them. Each participant could see on the glass screen images of the properties, the asking price estimates and how much they said they would be willing to invest. Then, the participants were shown their partners’ responses.
Turns out girls don't have cooties. It's actually pretty great to spend time with one. You don't even have to pick on them to get their attention... Who knew!
Being sober, took a eightish year landslide to one of the darkest places I've been in my life and not once in those eight years you could of talked me into putting down the bottle of whiskey that was glued to my hand. Been sober coming up on five years now and I couldn't think of being anything other than sober. I won't sit here and say it's not easy, it is honestly one of the hardest things I have to deal with on a consistent basis. But the rewards are priceless.
Getting therapy. My upbringing is within an asian household so when it comes to dealing with emotions, we tend to shove that into jar and move on.
I used to think that receiving therapy is for the mentally ill, weak etc. I don't have "problems" therefore I don't need therapy. But after recent events in 2021 with certain people I tried therapy and after a few sessions it just revealed some baggage I wasn't even aware of.
Honestly I wish I started earlier when I was in my 20s. I would be more emotionally prepared, and would probably have had healthier relationships with women if I had dealt with the trauma growing up and from my first relationship that devastated me.
The researchers found that, when their partners agreed with their evaluation of the property value, participants would be more willing to invest more into those houses, especially if their partners had said they would invest larger amounts. Yet when the partnered participants disagreed about the property value, their opinions would fail to influence each other’s final decision as to how much they would be willing to invest in that house. The conclusion researchers came to, after studying the brain activity revealed by the MRI scans, is that our “brains fail to encode opposing views”. We ignore beliefs that contradict our own and cling to ideas that strengthen ours.
Pineapple on pizza is absolutely delicious as f**k. and the only reason I ever thought it was bad was beause I was bandwagonning on the hate just like everyone else is. It's hard to appreciate a piece of food if you literally go into it with the intent of hating it.
Legalization of marijuana. Used to be incredibly anti drug and pro keeping it illegal. Now I fully support decriminalization at the very least (still extremely anti drug personally, but came to my senses regarding real life)
Mother Teresa, my family spoke highly of her when I was a kid, she received a number of honours from Indian government, won the Nobel Peace Prize and the church made her a saint, I thought she was a good person until a friend told me the truth about her and showed me some articles.
Although opinions can be difficult to alter in brief moments, according to Christopher Soto at NPR, our personalities naturally change throughout our entire lives. Soto first explained that our personalities are organized into the “Big Five” trait dimensions: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, negative emotionality, and open-mindedness. According to various studies, most of us can become more agreeable, conscientious and emotionally resilient as we get older. Soto notes that these shifts typically happen over decades and are hard to pinpoint to specific causes, but they can be beneficial to our lives. Further developing these specific traits can even lead to happier, longer lasting marriages, according to a study in Sage Journals. This slow personality evolution can also explain how our beliefs can shift over time as well.
Roundabouts. Based on all the complaints, I assumed they were confusing and unnecessary. When my city put in a bunch, I realized that I no longer had to wait 3 minutes at all of the punishment lights. Love roundabouts now.
...Of course that didn't stop the older population of the city from trying to have them removed. One guy even ran for city council on the platform that he would immediately put the stop lights back in. Change is hard, I guess.
Nuclear Power. I used to be anti-nuke, based solely on the potential worst-outcome of a catastrophic failure. While in college I saw a presentation on the various short-term and long-term negativities of all the different power generation methods and nuclear is actually one of the safest, even including the 3 major incidents of Chernobyl, 3-Mile Island, and Fukushima. Additionally, coal-burning power is so unfathomably bad for everyone involved in every stage from mining the coal to living anywhere close to the plant that it is just orders of magnitude worse than anything else. Nuclear has the best balance of reliability, base-load, safety, and ROI of any method known for generating power.
People going on morning runs. I kept reading stuff about how it helps with anxiety and depression. I didn't really understand because one, who tf has the energy to get up before the sun rises to RUN??? and two, what if ppl look at me weird etc etc... One day after a major afternoon breakdown which lead to deep sleep i woke up at 4am. Felt sick of looking at my room, changed into leggings and a hoodie, left the house without anyone knowing (i left a note) and started walking. Eventually, i started running. I felt my brain shut up for those few hours i spent running, i reached the next city and stopped to sit down at this random park. It just,, it felt so nice. I ran all the way over to the next city with nothing but my phone, earphones, and a bottle of water. The only way for me to get back home is to run back or call my dad to pick me up. I ran back. When I got home i felt so much better. Started going out to run once a week since then, found a usual spot for people who run, met nice people. Happiest I've ever been. Those sane and healthy f*****s were right.
While humans have a tendency to be stubborn and hold fast to our opinions, it’s refreshing to read this list of examples that we are capable of being open-minded. Especially because we live in a world that is so unpredictable and constantly changing, we should be allowed to do the same as well. Be sure to upvote the responses that gave you reason to pause and think, then let us know in the comments something you’ve changed your mind about!
College education. I always thought it would benefit everyone to get one. These days, the benefits don’t _always_ outweigh the debts and many people in trades make very good money.
Empathy. I used to always want to give people the benefit of the doubt if it meant they were learning or working on themselves, because I know I’d want the same. Turns out some people will take your kindness and run with it, and you need to cut yourself off from people that do or you’re going to find yourself mentally or emotionally drained. Can’t pour from an empty cup and all that.
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