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9 Of The Most Emotional And Thought Provoking TED Talks Of All Time

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TED Talks are meant to challenge your thinking. Their slogan is ‘ideas worth spreading’ so naturally their talks are going to be rooted in topics and ideas that challenge your point of view, make you see something differently, that pull you in a different direction than you thought you were going to go.

This collection of thought provoking TED Talks will inspire you to look differently at your world and question what you may believe.

For others, they will find their heartstrings being pulled, will find themselves captivated by the speakers, and maybe even (like me) have tears streaming down their face while watching.

This is a truly remarkable list of TED Talks, including some you may have never heard.

Save this list, bookmark it, pin it, or binge watch all the TED Talks now. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

** Many of these talks can be triggering for certain people. Please be mindful of this before listening to them.**

1 – How Do You Define Yourself? – Lizzie Velasquez

“What’s wrong with me?” The question, as parents, we hope our children never ask us.

Lizzie was faced with difficult challenges in her life, an extremely rare genetic disorder that affects her ability to gain weight, thus affecting her appearance, but she doesn’t let that define her.

This talk made me sit back and wonder what I let define me, or how I choose to define myself.

Prepare for the tears as she talks about being labelled as ‘the worlds ugliest woman’.

2 – In Our Baby’s Illness, A Life Lesson – Roberto D’Angelo & Francesca Fedeli

When it comes to parenting challenges, dealing with a serious illness would have to be one of the most difficult.

I related so much to the part where they say they felt like failures as parents, I felt the same way when my son was in NICU – like, what was it that I missed? What was it that I did wrong?

I love so much how they adapted and pushed forward through their challenges. All the feels.

3 – Parenting Through Postpartum Depression – Camille Mehta

Covering a topic that affects far more women than we realise (and men too!). This is such an important topic that we need to talk about a whole lot more.

As someone who has had postnatal anxiety, this one hits home, but also reminds me that I’m not alone.

This really is an amazing TED Talk to watch – one I challenge everyone to watch.

4 – My Philosophy For A Happy Life – Sam Berns

I absolutely love that Sam talks about how he focuses on what he can do, rather than what he is limited in doing.

Such a beautiful talk about adapting your surroundings to help you achieve your goals, surrounding yourself with the right people (who see you for who you are), and by always moving forward.

In life, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative, but with his 3 philosophies, you can bring happiness back into your life. Such a profound and wise talk from someone so young.

5 – The Price Of Shame – Monica Lewinsky

We all make mistakes in our lives, (especially when we are younger) but what is the price of your mistakes? How far will your actions reach?

It’s sad that we have to live in a world where our mistakes can be dragged to all corners of the world and internet and things can quickly go viral.

Cyberbullying is never okay. Ever.

I could go on for hours about this topic, we all know someone who has experienced cyberbullying to some extent – and if you think you don’t, ask your friends. I assure you, you know someone who has felt the sharp sting of cyberbullying.

An incredibly compelling talk, an absolute ‘must watch’ (and I have to admit, it even made me cry).

6 – Why Thinking You’re Ugly Is Bad For You – Meghan Ramsey

This one will rock you, like to the core. As women, we obsess about our appearance.

Even the most confident of us worry at some point about how we look and what others think about how we look.

This is one talk I watch regularly and am captivated every single time. And it’s one I will be making my children watch for sure.

It makes me wonder, what am I benchmarking myself against without even realising. It certainly makes me rethink the way I look at myself as well as the way I speak to myself.

“6 out of 10 girls are now choosing to not do something because they don’t think they look good enough.”

7 – I Was Almost A School Shooter – Aaron Stark

I attempted to write notes during this TED Talk but was so captivated I had to watch it a few times because I kept just focusing on what was being said. and I cried every time.

The part that struck me the most was when Aaron was talking about his friend who didn’t push help onto him but rather simply said: “would you like a meal, let’s watch a movie.”

This talk challenges you to change the way you think about people who are in a dark place, and the difference your reaction can have on them.

“When someone treats you like a person when you don’t even feel human it can change your world.”

8 – My Son Was A Columbine Shooter. This Is My Story – Sue Klebold

‘What kind of a mother were you?’ Sue is the mother of the Columbine School Shooter – Dylan Klebold, who, along with another student, took the lives of 12 students and a teacher before taking his own life.

She has spent years trying to understand what happened in the years before his death, the challenges of mental health, and how mental illness can lead to violence.

9 – What The Columbine Shooting Taught Me About Pain And Addiction – Austin Eubanks

Austin was an injured survivor of the Columbine School Shooting. After witnessing his best friend be murdered in front of him, he was prescribed opioids for pain relief from his physical pain, but used it to manage his emotional pain – leading to a spiral into addiction.

Austin’s life became a pursuit of educating people about the addiction ‘pandemic’ and advocating for addiction to be addressed before it reaches a crisis point. Sadly Austin died from acute heroin toxicity less than two years after this talk.

I couldn’t help but think about the flow on effects from an event like a school shooting such as Columbine, that on the day took the lives of 15 people (12 students, one teacher, two shooters) and wonder what the actual death toll is for that event now.

If you want to see more TED Talks playlists I have personally curated, check out The Ultimate TED Talks Playlist Collection.

TED Talks are designed to challenge your way of thinking, and some do this far better than others. These are some fo the most emotional and thought provoking TED Talks of all time, ones that will make you sit back and see the world from a different angle, and maybe even make you tear up.
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