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[Hye-rim's Pick] Getting the basics right and giving your mind a needed rest: A self-help book offers lessons for everyone

Mar 02,2020
On the book’s cover, the title can be translated as “Psychological Letter to Daughter.” [SCREEN CAPTURE]
Essays that talk about one’s psychological status fill the shelves of bookstores these days, reflecting how tired we all are. Recently while browsing a bookstore’s wares, I saw a book with the title “Psychological Letter to Daughter.”

Lim (Woo Hye-rim) Former Wonder Girls member, Senior of EICC at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Major: English for international conferences and communication (EICC)
The cover, with a somewhat fancy, somewhat warm image, took my attention, but soon I was falling more for the themes in each chapter. I headed home as excited as when I go to get a therapeutic session that I will get some level of consolation after reading the book.

It tells stories in five different themes: the world and self ego; work and human network; love; emotions; and life.

The writer, a mom and psychological expert who treated about 200,000 patients over the course of 40 years, shared detailed stories from her one-on-one therapy sessions in the book.

I always find something incomplete in myself and think about ways to have a better life. To the person who always works to be better, the themes of each chapter really spoke to me, as those are all the things I have thought about before. Living a life is never a one-person job, since everyone is part of a community.

Then I came to think I can be someone who always keeps a safe distance from others and avoids being a pushover to others. To those questions I have, the author assures me it is okay to be a bad daughter and it is okay to be selfish.

The author continues and says what really selfish people do is that they only follow their own desires without taking the trouble to think about others. So it is okay not to be a yes-man, and it is necessary to know when to say no. She added that saying “no” out loud to others is a way to let others know what you can accept and agree with and what you cannot be okay with.

To myself, who always focuses more on others’ benefit than my own, what she said in the book sounded a bit harsh and cold. At the same time, I felt liberated that I don’t need to be the “nice” person all the time.

Oftentimes I feel the urge to erase what’s in my brain and in my heart - just as I could with one click delete everything in my computer’s trash bin. Yet it is not as easy as it sounds. When I can clear away one idea that worries me, another one pops up and takes all my attention. Everyone goes around the same stress over and over again. The author tells readers again that one should not get any stress from the things that they can’t change. She says it is better to accept the part that cannot be fixed or changed. And it is more practical to focus more on the variables that can be changed. Instead of just sitting by looking at the load of work helplessly, it is better to take the attitude with which you are willing to tackle the bottom of the troubles that you can handle.

With all the very practical advice from the author, there is one thing I sympathized the most.

I chose to study at a university so that I could build up my language skills from the very basic level. I wanted to become someone who has lots of content ready inside, instead of someone whose facade is the only thing that’s fancy. I wanted to be someone who is ready with knowledge, because I felt like then I can be more confident in myself.

The author pointed out how important it is to get the basics right. She said that there is always time spent mastering the basics behind every successful story. The term “readiness” is used to refer to the process in which one masters their basic skills.

She recommends always seeing the bigger picture. It is said that what you see when you’re young is only the trees and rocks, not the overall shape of the mountain. You have to hang in there. “Hang in there” is the phrase I hated the most when I was a trainee to become a singer. It felt like I was in a tunnel which never ends, no matter how much I endure and how much I wait. However, I saw the end of that tunnel before. I really pushed through, thinking that new day will come and I did make my dream of becoming a singer come true. I got more mature through the agonizing times.

I want to give this book to people who need some warm words to console their damaged soul. The mind does not have any form, so people often don’t see how important it is and just follow ways to make any visible accomplishment in life. Just like we take vitamins to keep ourselves healthier in case we catch a cold, we need to let our minds take time and rest before they get too tired.

BY WOO HYE-RIM [estyle@joongang.co.kr]


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