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Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of Quiet: "The world could surely use a little more love, a little more compassion, and a little more wisdom. In Love for Imperfect Things, Haemin Sunim shows us how to cultivate all three, and to find beauty in the most imperfect of things--including your very own self."
A #1 internationally bestselling book of spiritual wisdom about learning to love ourselves, with all our imperfections, by the Buddhist author of The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down
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 inward and ignoring problems, sometimes resulting in anxiety or depression. Others react by working harder at the office, 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, Zen Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim turns his trademark wisdom to the art of self-care, arguing that only by accepting yourself--and the flaws that make you who you are--can you have compassionate and fulfilling relationships with your partner, your family, and your friends. With more than thirty-five full-color illustrations, Love for Imperfect Things will appeal to both your eyes and your heart, and help you learn to love yourself, your life, and everyone in it.
When you care for yourself first, the world begins to find you worthy of care.
About the Author
Haemin Sunim is one of the most influential Zen Buddhist teachers and writers in the world. Born in South Korea, he came 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. He has more than a million followers on Twitter and Facebook and is one of Spirituality & Health's Top 10 Spiritual Leaders of the Next 20 Years and one of Greatist's 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. His books have sold more than four million copies and are popular as guides not only to meditation but also to overcoming the challenges of everyday life. When not traveling to share his teachings, Haemin Sunim lives in Seoul, where he founded the School of Broken Hearts, a nonprofit that offers group counseling and meditation for people experiencing challenges in life.
Deborah Smith (translator) is the translator of Han Kang's The Vegetarian, which won the Man Booker International Prize in 2016.
Lisk Feng (illustrations) is an award-winning illustrator whose work has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Monocle, and Travel + Leisure.
“The struggle for self-compassion can be difficult for even the most enlightened among us. . . . As Haemin Sunim explains throughout his book, self-compassion does not mean being selfish. It’s only when we take care of ourselves, he explains, that we can care for others.” —The New York Times
“A real treasure. It teaches us that compassion is at the heart of healing . . . starting with ourselves. I highly recommend this book.” —Christiane Northrup, MD, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
“A treasure! I don’t have to be perfect? What incredible news. This book hit me like a ton of bricks and made many anxieties melt away.” —Neil Pasricha, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation
“You can be the most amazing human being in the world and everyone sees rays of light, love, and genius when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that external admiration doesn’t matter one bit. Haemin Sunim teaches you ways to love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you. It makes a world of difference.” —Marc and Angel Chernoff, New York Times bestselling authors of Getting Back to Happy
“Haemin Sunim is the real deal. The simplicity and beauty of his teachings go straight to the heart. Keep this book close by—it will awaken wisdom and deepen your love of life.” —Tara Brach, bestselling author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“A wonderful book to accompany The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down. Zen teacher Haemin Sunim describes with great clarity the suffocating effect of perfectionism—how damaging it is to think your worth as a person is solely dependent on how you perform. Then, page by page, he shows you how to reclaim your freedom and your life.” —Mark Williams, co-author of Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World
“Heartwarming, calming and . . . filled with wisdom and powerful truths.” —Héctor García, co-author of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
“The Buddha, somewhat rebelliously, declared that, instead of a god or guru, the starting point of our path to awakening is our very own imperfections. I’m so happy to see Haemin Sunim giving fresh voice to practices that help us befriend ourselves, so that we can become our own best caregivers.” —Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, author of Emotional Rescue and Rebel Buddha
“Beyond all barriers of culture and religions, Love for Imperfect Things speaks to every human heart, because Haemin Sunim speaks from the innermost heart—the heart of compassion.” —Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB, author of Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer
“An invaluable gift for all of us . . . Haemin Sunim has hit it out of the park again by offering sound pragmatic advice in an insightful, accessible manner. . . . This book needs to be at every bedside so that we can all go to sleep with a smile.” —Allan Lokos, founder and guiding teacher, Community Meditation Center, NYC; author of Through the Flames, Patience, and Pocket Peace
“Beautifully wise insights into how we’re all perfectly imperfect. A masterclass in letting go. As soothing to my whirring ‘must do better!’ mind as slipping into a hot bath when I’m cold.” —Catherine Gray, author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober
“Haemin Sunim writes beautifully and simply so these vital life lessons resonate easily and deeply.” —Miranda Hart, author of Is It Just Me?
“Relatable and valuable . . . Zen Buddhist teacher Sunim looks tantalizingly at essential yet everyday aspects of the human experience in this lively book of reflections. . . . In addition to stories from Sunim’s own life, the book contains thought-provoking aphorisms. . . . A breezy book with generally helpful reminders, wise advice, and pithy sayings to soothe the challenges of hectic life.” —Publishers Weekly
“Wisdom to apply to everyday life . . . Quick, easy lessons for developing and increasing our practice of empathy toward ourselves and others.” —Library Journal
“Sunim . . . writes with an inviting and gentle voice that is akin to a warm embrace. . . . Although many self-help books preach triumphal purpose-seeking, Sunim astonishes by saying, ‘I don’t think life has something grand in store for me.’ . . . The book is worth repeated readings on a commuter train, at bedtime, or as part of a morning routine.” —Booklist
“A treasure . . . A beautiful guide to being kinder, more polite and along the way even unlocking higher thoughts . . . This is one [book] that you want to linger over, hold onto, keep on the nightstand. It can, and should, be opened regularly.” —NJ Advance Media
“[A] gentle, kindhearted guide to inner peace.” —BookPage
“In these snark-saturated times, it’s cheering that a voice as quietly friendly as Haemin’s can make you a mega-celebrity. . . . Haemin is especially eloquent on life’s smaller dissatisfactions, and how they can sometimes be trickier to deal with than the bigger, more dramatic ones.” —The Guardian
“Brimming with brilliant spiritual advice, maxims, and wisdom. Laden with life lessons about how to embrace the imperfect—because our flaws are what make us unique—this book is ideal for those who are too tough on themselves.” —Bustle
“Bite-size Buddhism—mindfulness for the modern age.” —The Observer