I seriously believe I understand people better because I have spent so much time reading. I have walked in the shoes of hundreds of characters. How can one possibility come away from that experience without a broader understanding of people? I often find myself trying to see things from other people’s perspective.
I had a conversation with two people last week that made me realize how much reading has helped me. One person is a recent college graduate, let’s call her Catherine. The other person is a middle aged single mom, let’s call her Molly.
Catherine was talking about how excited and nervous she is about her new job. She talked about how one intern experience made her rethink her major and even going to college, but she stuck to it in the end.
Molly, who went back to school 6 years ago, was struck by the emotions Catherine described. Molly had felt the same way while going back to school. Molly was surprised that even though there is a significant age difference they would feel the same way.
I spoke up saying that of course they would feel the same way. In both instances they were/are making a major life decision! As a college student myself, I have panicked and rethought my schooling more than once.
I was surprised that I, the youngest of the trio, would understand this better than someone twice my age! Upon later reflection, I realized that I read. I have read countless stories about characters making life changing decisions, often way more drastic than a career choice/change. (Seriously, doesn’t that describe every YA novel ever?) These characters second guess themselves. I automatically associated that emotion was something that comes with major life decisions regardless of age.
Of course, one could realize this without reading but I think books encourage this understanding. I believe that my experience has been shaped through books. Not one or three books, but countless hours spent subconsciously trying to understand different characters’ emotions.
Have you ever felt that you understand
something better because you read?
Was it emotion or something else?