Whether it’s “A tiger can’t change its stripes” or “A leopard can’t change its spots,” you’ve undoubtedly heard these sayings. These proverbs allude to the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of altering one’s essential nature.
Yet, despite how challenging it may be, some people do manage to make a shift. Perhaps they are looking back because of remorse or any other emotion or event that has prompted reflection. If you’re looking for clues about what could motivate individuals to change, check out these women on Reddit who discuss what led them to stop being mean to others.
Diagnosing Her Ailment Changed Her
Apparently, one user’s mean nature was a result of an undiagnosed OCD issue. Thankfully, she got the help she needed, and it was much easier for her to be kind to people. She noted that she became a non-mean woman when she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, OCD, and anxiety and started taking her correct dose of medicine daily.
A Taste of Her Own Poison
Another user finally made a positive shift once she realized being cruel brought her no benefits. She now realizes her meanness sprang from deep insecurity issues. The turning point came when the bullying, encouraged by her best friend at the time, was directed toward her. After they stopped being friends, she stopped being a mean girl.
What You Want for Yourself, Do to Others
Even though she wasn’t a full-blown mean girl, she admits she was not the best around sixth to seventh grade. She stopped when she realized how terrible it made people feel and how it made her feel bad about herself too. Developing empathy became fun for her. Another said that she stopped when she realized other people’s feelings are just as important and valid as hers.
Her Best Friend Rubbed Off on Her
As she was raised by critical and self-centered adults, this Redditor has adopted their behavior. However, she had unlearned meanness from a best friend in middle school whom she looked up to because she was attractive and popular. Getting close to this best friend made her realize why this popular girl was loved by many. Her best friend’s generous nature and willingness to see things from other people’s perspectives inspired her to change for the better.
After She Got Confronted
Aae3321 explains that her transformation occurred when someone from her middle and high school confronted her after they graduated and reminded her how she bullied and was cruel to them. She truly didn’t realize she was mean then, but when she laid it out, she totally got it. She’s now very quick to apologize when she thinks she came off wrong or if she gets any indication she hurt someone’s feelings. She admits she’s still working on forgiving herself and is glad she got that feedback.
“Once it was decided I wasn’t cool enough for my girlfriends anymore, and I had no friends,” a user spoke up. She admits that being alone all of the time was humbling. But the good part is that she made new friends who were nice and made her realize being nice is cool.
Similarly, another confessed that what made her stop was friends withdrawing from her as well. “It took a good year or so of being unusually quiet in social situations to drop the habit of saying whatever mean thing popped into my head,” she says, “and took years for other people to notice that I’d become nicer, but it was worth it.”
A couple of users agree that counseling helped them retrace their ways and made them feel happier. One of them said counseling and a loving husband helped immensely with the past trauma that led her down that path of being a ‘mean girl.’ “It’s like an injured bear,” she says. “if you try to help it out of the bear trap, you’ll get clobbered/mauled. It’s taken a lot of healing & therapy to stop being a mean girl.”
Her Victims Kindness
Fun Matter 4954 recognized that many of the people to whom she had been mean to had wanted to be her friend and, in retrospect, may have even needed one. She gives the instance of how she recently ran across a girl she had always been cruel to and they had asked her for a hug, to which she obliged. She realized that she should not pass judgment on others because of the effect she could have on their lives.
When a Bully Victim Died
After the bullied girl died, Deadlolypop decided to change. She had no idea how much words could hurt until she read the diary of the late bullied girl. It stung her that the dead girl was not angry at anyone but despised herself because she was ugly. That was a painful lesson that taught her to choose her words carefully so that they don’t sever people’s souls even before they die.