What realization made your life much better?

People's words and opinions of you aren't REAL, in that they don't have any meaningful effect on the world around them...unless you let them. What does someone's opinion of you do to you REALLY? Would you have felt anything about it if you'd never spoken, or if you spoke a different language? The words we use and the feelings we have obtain their meaning when we give it to them. When we tie our self esteem to these things, there is only a life of desperate misery in wait. You cannot please everyone. SOMEONE is going to dislike you so if you let the opinions of others matter to you, you are ALWAYS going to be hurt by them.

Conversely, if NO ONE'S opinion or words matter to you, and you just do what makes you happy without caring what someone will think or what they'll say, you'll live a happier, better life.

Realized this in high school after a lifetime of dealing with bullying and harassment. I'm autistic, was one of the weird kids (I attracted Naruto runners like a fucking magnet), wore my love of anime, video games (Sonic the Hedgehog being a special interest of mine) on my sleeve. I remember getting knocked over a lot. People would try to knock chairs I was sitting in over or steal shit from me to make me chase them. They'd ask vague, leading questions where the answer had an insulting meaning they'd agreed upon before hand. Just a constant barrage of little things meant to humiliate me. I remember being told by my family that the best way to make it stop was to stop being so open about liking the stuff I liked. Stop talking about anime and Sonic and the things I liked so they'd maybe see me as less weird and stop bothering so much (they meant well, but it wouldn't have worked and I didn't want to anyway). Had this epiphany during a long break from school I'd taken for a move, when I finally had time without the pressures of school to really think, saw an image in my head of water flowing over rocks in a stream, realized that if I spoke, say, japanese, didn't understand a word of what anyone said and went to my school the insults and feelings shared about me by my peers would have the same effect on me as if I didn't care. They're meaningless. Sounds created to communicate an idea that have NO power on their own.

My way worked better than my family's way.

/r/AskReddit Thread