Reading is the best.
There's more to picking up a good book and getting lost in the story than it may seem. Over the years, reading has changed me as a person. I wasn't as big of a reader when I was younger compared to now - as a kid, I wasn't highly encouraged to read, so I never read much until I was in my teens. And in my teens, I tended to pick up the wrong kind of books, which made me lose interest in reading quite quickly. Now I'm able to pick out the right kind of book, and the difference this has made in my life is astonishing. Along with travelling, reading has changed who I am, and today I wanted to share why I think reading books has brought about my new attitude towards life, other people, and even myself.
MORE SYMPATHETIC TOWARDS OTHERS
As a reader, I feel like I can understand people's feeling and emotions better. If someone is in a situation or feeling particularly upset about something, I do think that I may be able to help, relate, or at least sympathise with them. Reading about a character going through good or bad times can help us get on a similar level when it happens in real life and understand what they're going through.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm definitely a good listener. (Well, I'm better than I was before!)
I feel, since I've been an avid reader, I've found more interest in others and I've been less of a talker. Paying attention to people's stories and actually wanting to help and understand everyone's problems seems to be something that reading tends to improve. I think it not only looks good from other people's perspective that you're interested in them but you gain trusting friends, knowledge (not in a gossipy type of way), and you can learn about dealing with things as well as interesting aspects of people's lives.
I'm not saying I'll end up winning any awards, but I've definitely learnt a hell of a lot while reading books. That includes knowledge about different cultures, people, situations, countries, and about writing itself.
So, next time we're at a pub quiz, we can throw out some random facts that nobody ever knows because we read it in a YA book. Hell yes!
CALMER AND LESS STRESSED
It's a known fact that books and reading calms people and reduces stress. It's not just good for us, but others around us. Nobody wants to hang around with a angry, stressed-out lemon. Also, we don't want anyone having any heart attacks so all the more reason to read. Unless the book stresses you out. Then I can't help you. We can't help the feels.
CONSTANTLY INSPIRED TO DO THINGS
Sometimes when I read a book, it inspires me to do things. Whether that's to bake a cake (inspired by To All The Boys I've Loved Before), book a holiday (inspired by Anna and the French Kiss) or to take up painting (inspired by A Court of Thorns and Roses), books can really have a way of getting us to step out of our comfort zone. And as we tend to stay in with our books and not spend money as much as rampant extroverts, we've saved enough to be able to do these things.
A BOOST OF SELF-CONFIDENCE
It's always nice to read a character that you can relate to and think 'That is so me. I'm not alone'. Discovering a character that has traits you don't particularly like about yourself is such a confidence boost. It helps to see that portrayed in a book. We all have flaws, and it's always good to have flawed characters, so when their flaws match our own - YAS.
GAINING ROLE MODELS
When I say this, I mean reading a character and thinking 'God, I wish I was like them' or admiring how confident, badass and smart they are. I feel like we sometimes internalize traits from characters we admire, and I do wonder if I'm 100 characters squished together. In tough times, it's nice to channel someone who can handle anything, and that can help in so many situations. "You can take this exam, Natalie. Be like Hermione."
MAKING NEW FRIENDS
Whether it's online or in real life, reading books can bring people together in many ways. Fangirling over the same story and pining for the same ships can form bonds between people and grow into lifelong friendships. And those are the best kinds of friendships - when the friend is equally as amazing as you are (because you're both readers!), and you have similar interests, so the conversations never ends. In conclusion - book friends are life!
HAVING MORE FAITH IN PEOPLE
Sometimes we think a person is such a complete potato that we fantasize about punching them in the face. But stop - one thing reading has taught me is that not everyone is as bad as they seem. Characters are redeemed - they learn and grow. Even the villains aren't always as bad as they initially seem. How many villains do we enjoy reading about, become fascinated with and watch as they change from Super Arsehole to Super Amazing? Hearing the full story and learning more about the real person gives a different outlook on people, and encourages second chances. So, when a person in my life is a massive d-bag, I have to think that everyone has their own battles, stories, personality traits and reasons to be how they are. Let them open up and have faith in people. Not everyone is as bad as they seem. (Although if they really are a true asshat, then move on and let them be an asshat.)
These are just a few of many perks of reading and the influence it has on my life personally. I don't know about you but it really has helped me, especially because I was a very shy, quiet child with no confidence, and books shaped me to be who I am today.
Are there any things that books helped you with in life? Let us know! We would love to hear them, so leave a comment down below and share your reading journey with us.
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HOW BEING A READER MADE ME A BETTER PERSON
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