I sometimes wonder how much of what I’ve learned in life comes from experiences with people or through reading books. I know there is no way to tell the difference, yet as I look around my library of self-help or self-growth books, I am who I am today partly because of the thousands of words within those books. Those words have seeped into my inner being and helped me form many of my beliefs about life.
Books were more comfortable to read than people. Books ‘nurtured’ me in ways my outer life couldn’t offer. I became dependent on books to guide me through the maze of life. If I didn’t understand a relationship or a boss, needed to learn how to mother my children, or needed a good cry, I would turn to books to offer me guidance and comfort.
I remember one summer when I was almost 15, and again in another transition, I sat and read book after book of romance novels. That was in the early 60s, where I already had a ‘fantasy’ version of romance. Spending the whole summer reading romance novels further cemented my unrealistic view of adult interaction. They were so easy to read, enjoyable, sexy and helped me through another change in my life.
Books have always been my solace and escape when the external events in my life were confusing. Many people use books as an escape from life’s experiences as well as a way to connect with others. ‘Book clubs’ are a great venue to read and connect with others.
There is another benefit to reading…others may potentially view you as being intelligent. I guess it depends on the book or e-book you are reading.
I was getting physical therapy the other day, and while the ice pack was on my knee, I was busy reading another internet marketing e-book. I looked up and smiled at the person across me, and she smiled back. She asked “was I grading papers,” then another person said, “I looked so studious,” and another interjected, “reading is great to do.“ Now in that brief moment in ‘ice pack land,’ these people had formed an opinion of me. They also reinforced what I thought already…books help me in life.
When I buy a new book, I open its fresh new pages with anticipation. The publishers know how to market to me. Just promise that this book offers some magic answer to my emotional or financial well-being and I am a consumer. When the kids were young I didn’t have lots of money or time; I always had time to go to the library or buy a book.
Books weren’t always easy…oh no, they demanded that I be someone different, get out of my comfort zone and grow. My self-growth books reminded me of when I wasn’t doing what I should be doing. I had to give up my soft addictions, become more assertive, as well as let go of my fears. Since I’ve always had an inner desire to learn and be a better person, I would capture some pearls of wisdom that helped me become a stronger person.
I’ve learned to be a social person and enjoy my time with others. My family and friendships, through their presence and love, have added depth to my life. I know that books couldn’t do that. Books helped me until I was strong enough emotionally to reach out and allow the many beautiful people into my life.
I won’t lie…I haven’t read all the books on my bookshelves, though most of them. I haven’t read all of them through and through, though I do have favorites that I reread many times. It’s comforting to me to know they are there. Outside of the family photos, I could probably give away most of what I own….by not my books.
What about you? How have books influenced you? Have you delved into every book you could find or was reading a challenge? You may have formed an opinion about yourself because of books. Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Women’s Group Topic
Books are great topic ideas. You can have one book that you meet each week to discuss or one group meeting around books that had the most impact on you in your life.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
(By Pat Brill)
I Can Do It! How To Use Affirmations To Change Your Life by Louise Hay
I’m into health these days! I repeat daily my affirmation that “I am healthy and strong.” That is what Louise Hay is all about…helping us use our inner thoughts to help us nurture and heal ourselves. This book also includes a CD that you can listen to in the car on the way to work.
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