The simple & timeless wisdom of The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim

As I wrote in my round-up of books to read when life is hard, I owe a lot to Haemin Sunim.

His first book, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Downhas helped me through so much over the last year.

When I was struggling through a breakup, I came across the Kindle sample and immediately ordered the little hardback edition.

I then gave it to a friend, and another friend, and reread it myself. Someone saw the book on my desk at work and quickly bought herself a copy (it’s a beautiful book and sells itself very easily).

It’s not just about how to slow down and be calm in a busy world. It’s about how to live your life intentionally and be the most balanced version of yourself. It’s about joy, relationships, loving ourselves, work, and finding purpose. It’s about the ups and downs of life. P.S. It’s also the perfect book to read during a breakup.

If you’re struggling with something right now, you’ll probably come across some Buddhist wisdom that matches exactly what you need in this book (let me know if you don’t!) That’s my kind of book.

Over in our Bibliotherapy Book Club on Facebook, Sandra and Željka recommended Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection, Haemin Sunim’s next book. It should be released in English at the end of this year or early next (you can preorder here). I love Susan Cain’s early review:

“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 guide to self-care and accepting ourselves with more lovely illustrations like The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down? Yes please.

Some favourite quotes from The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down:

When you’re hurt…

“Don’t struggle to heal your wounds. Just pour time into your heart and wait. When your wounds are ready, they will heal on their own.”


When you’re worried about what people think…

“Stop worrying about what others think and just do what your heart wishes. Do not crowd your mind with “what ifs”. Uncomplicate your life and own up to your desires. Only when you are happy can you help to make the world a happier place.”

“Instead of worrying what others think of you, devote yourself to your dreams.”

When things fall apart

“When trust is shattered, when hopes are dashed, when a loved one leaves you, before doing anything, just pause your life and rest a moment. Surround yourself with close friends and share food and drink. Watch a silly movie. Find a song that speaks to your heart. Go somewhere you’ve always said you wanted to go – the Grand Canyon, the Camino de Santiago, Machu Picchu. All by yourself. Just you and the road. After spending time alone, go to your own sacred space. Close your eyes and clear your mind. Invoke the heart of compassion and feel the embrace of acceptance. Downcast and heartbroken, I know you were once me and I was once you. So today, I pray for you.”

When you need more love…

“When love is drying up in your life, look for the beauty around you. That is where love can be found.”

When you’re forgetting about yourself…

“You are so eager to help your friends, but you treat yourself so poorly. Stroke your heart once in a while.”


Read this for: taking good care of yourself, relaxing, looking inwards, slowing down, and being kinder to yourself and others.

You can get a copy of The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down here.

It's good to meet you! I started Tolstoy Therapy back in 2012 to share my healing journey through anxiety and PTSD with books. I also climb mountains, go on solo adventures, and write over at

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