A lot of people say that they hate art. This is one of the strangest things that a person can say. For one thing, art is so broad that it’s near impossible for a person to hate all art. Sure, there’s visual art like painting, but there’s also photography, music, movies, graffiti, books, games, and thousands of other art forms out there in the world. The other issue with this is that if you say that you hate art and you close yourself off from it, then you’re closing yourself off from a whole world of valuable human experience that can not only enrich your life but actually make you a better person. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few ways that art can genuinely help you become a better, kinder, more well-rounded person.


It teaches you to see the world in new ways

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One of the really tragic things about human life is just how limited we are in the scope of our perspectives. You’re only ever going to be able to see the world around you from your own point of view. No matter how much of the world you see, you’re only ever really going to see in it one way. Art allows you to understand how other people see the world. Think about Starry Night by Van Gogh. It’s far from the most realistic painting in the world, but it helps you get a sense of the way that he saw the world. Maybe, after spending some time looking at it, you might find that the night sky starts to look at least a little bit more exciting because of being exposed to that new perspective.


It helps you learn empathy


Empathy is simultaneously one of the hardest and most important things in the world. Without empathy, there’s no way that people would ever be able to connect with each other in any kind of meaningful way, but being trapped in your own perspective means that seeing things from someone else’s point of view can be incredibly challenging. You’re never really going to know what it’s like to be someone of a different race or gender, but through art, people can communicate aspects of those things to each other. These movies about schizophrenia might not be able to fully articulate what it means to live with that disorder, but they at least give you a sense of what it’s like when your mind works in a certain way. Art is the closest that human beings will ever get to actually being able to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.


It brings people together

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Have you ever been to a concert and just felt that wonderful sense of community among the crowd? There are few things better than art to help people to come together in a shared sense of understanding. You might never meet those people again, and if you met in any other circumstances you might never have connected, but in that moment you’re all part of something together. Thousands of people have begun friendships or even fallen in love because they bonded over a specific album, book or movie.


It helps you get to know yourself


Introspection is one of those things that’s surprisingly difficult. This is because the human mind is a deeply complicated thing that doesn’t really lend itself to being translated into words a lot of the time. That’s why it’s such an amazing experience when you come into contact with a piece of art that reflects something about yourself onto you. The author Anais Nin once said, “We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.” If a piece of art moves you then that teaches you something about what is important. Perhaps music that makes you want to dance connects with you, or perhaps you connect to stories about fantastical heroes. In the end, it’s not important what you love and connect with. The important thing is the ways in which those things help to show you who you truly are.

Now, this doesn’t mean that everyone in the world has to love every kind of art or even most kinds! However, if you shut yourself off from any art form without ever even giving it a chance, then you’re going to be much more likely to end up living a life that feels empty and boring. Next time someone has a piece of art, music or literature that really matters to them, take the time to try and understand why. You might even find that it ends up meaning something to you as well.