“Be good to yourself first, then to others.” Are you familiar with this quote? Or this is just a simple quote that you have read but did not care to ponder upon. Being good to yourself is not a sign of selfishness. Even in airplanes, we are advised to wear our oxygen masks first before helping others. This simply means that we must make peace with ourselves before we can make peace with the rest of the world.
Haemin Sunim is one of the most influential Zen Buddhist teachers and writers in the world. Haemin Sunim’s book, ‘Love for Imperfect Things’, teaches us how to accept ourselves for who we are. This book contains eight chapters which include self-care, family, empathy, relationships, courage, healing, enlightenment and acceptance. All these chapters will guide us all on how we can manage to have inner peace amidst a chaotic world. We may see the world in a different way if we have inner peace. Sometimes when we experience things that don’t go our way, no matter how hard we try, as the book reads, we should take a step back and get a broader perspective because when we take a broader view, the present slump can be seen as the top of a wave which sinks down to gather the energy it needs in order to rise again.
Haenim Sunim’s book contains loads of quotes and a back story that every reader can relate to. As we are read along, we can easily feel a certain connection with the stories because they’re based on real life experiences of the author. Sunim tells us that loving is the most affectionate way to treat yourself when nobody is willing to do things for you. We should understand that everyone has their own struggles and choices were given to them whether to hold on to it or eventually give up. Hence if you are struggling today, it is okay and as time goes by you will be able to adapt to them as long as your mind is in a peaceful place and is able to think positively – yes, even in times when you don’t understand reasons and intentions.
Personally, the book has given me a sense of calm and positivity. I live in a competitive and complicated world. But the book has taught me to embrace everything that’s going my way and exert my best effort to rise above all obstacles. As the title of the book suggests, we should love and appreciate our imperfection and our life’s imperfection. We should learn to appreciate our existence so we will have the drive to change and grow better.