My enormous thanks to Josie Murdoch at Penguin for sending me a copy of Love For Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim in return for an honest review.
Although Love For Imperfect Things isn’t out until tomorrow, 24th January 2019, I couldn’t wait any longer to share my thoughts!
Love For Imperfect Things is available for purchase through the links here.
Love For Imperfect Things
“Hearing the words ‘be good to yourself first, then to others’ was like being struck by lightning.”
Many of us respond to the pressures of life by turning inwards and ignoring problems, sometimes resulting in anxiety or depression. Others react by working harder at work, at school or at home, hoping that this will make ourselves and the people we love happier.
But what if being yourself is enough? Just as we are advised on airplanes to take our own oxygen first before helping others, we must first be at peace with ourselves before we can be at peace with the world around us.
In this beautiful follow-up to his international bestseller The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim turns his trademark wisdom and kindness to self-care, arguing that only by accepting yourself – and the flaws which make you who you are – can you have compassionate and fulfilling relationships with your partner, family and friends.
“Even products labelled ‘limited edition’ are made on a production line with hundreds that are exactly the same. But there is only one you in the world.”
My Review of Love For Imperfect Things
2019 seems to be the year of the self-help book, and I’ve read a few so far this year, but Love For Imperfect Things is one of the best. I loved it.
I want to begin my review by saying something about the lovely quality of the way the hard-backed book is produced. The robust cover means that this is a book that will withstand years of use as readers dip in and out. What really enhances Love For Imperfect Things though, are the wonderful illustrations by Lisk Feng. They have a naive quality that enhances Haemin Sunim’s writing that has been so skilfully translated by Deborah Smith. In fact, the very first image in the book, of a seascape, made me feel instantly more relaxed and calm.
What works so effectively and affectingly in Love For Imperfect Things is the structure of the chapters. Haemin Sunim is unafraid to lay bare his own imperfections so that both he and the reader can learn, advance and find peace and acceptance. Each chapter opens with a personal account of events that have happened to Haemin Sunim and his responses to them, followed by brilliant advice presented in an almost poetic form. I loved both these approaches. The note to the author’s graduate school friend brought tears to my eyes and his chapter on Listening Is An Act of Love brought me up short. I simply don’t do enough active listening to those around me.
I genuinely felt taller and lighter after reading Love For Imperfect Things. So much of it resonated with me. In fact, I think, having read it right the way through once, I need to go back and reread Haemin Sunim’s words again and again as I believe I have much more to learn about myself and others. I never think I’m good enough in whatever I do, but Love For Imperfect Things has shown me I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to be me and accept myself as I am.
After I’ve read books I tend to pass them on, but Love For Imperfect Things is a keeper. I don’t want to part with it because it spoke to me heart and soul. Love For Imperfect Things is wise, accessible, humble and uplifting and I would urge others to read it too.
About Haemin Sunim
Haemin Sunim is one of the most influential Zen Buddhist teachers and writers in South Korea, where his books have sold more than three million copies and are popular as guides not only to mediation but also to overcoming the challenges of everyday life.
Born in South Korea, he went to the United States to study film, only to find himself pulled into the spiritual life. Educated at UC Berkeley, Harvard, and Princeton, he received formal monastic training in Korea and taught Buddhism at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
He has more than a million followers on Twitter and Facebook and lives in Seoul when not traveling to share his teachings.