[Hye-rim's Pick] The right book at the right time

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[Hye-rim's Pick] The right book at the right time

Cover of "You do not always have to be the good person" by Kim You-eun.  [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Cover of "You do not always have to be the good person" by Kim You-eun. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

 
Reading the right book at the right time is like drinking the right cup of coffee. 
 
I remember the day when one specific message stood out of the numerous messages I received on social media. 
 
There it was, a book recommendation with a message saying, “I think you’ll like it as much as I did.” The title, "You do not always have to be the good person" spoke to me as I was struggling with relationships and skeptical about human relations. This essay written by Kim You-eun is based on overall relationships and self-esteem.  
 
 
I must confess I was in a dark state; confused and exhausted from people who portrayed themselves as friends but were nowhere to be seen when I needed them, or those who were only available when I was actively working. 
 
Nonetheless, I tried to understand them and rationalize their actions. Sometimes, I even blamed myself for thinking I was being small-minded.
 
However, I realized that I let people in easily without having boundaries. 
 
That backfired and sadly, some of them took my kindness for granted. Realizing this was painful and devastating. So, I needed time and space to readjust my relationships. It was at that time when I was introduced to the book. I must admit it had been such a long time since I had butterflies in my stomach waiting for a book to arrive.  
 
Reading the book felt as if I was communicating with the author one-on-one. All I did was read, nod, and think, but I felt as if I was being understood and gradually found myself at ease. 
 
Kim says, “The happy memories you had can’t be the reason to mend a broken relationship [...] You may have pieces of good memories with someone, but you cannot change someone who has already moved on. So, do not waste your energy on something that has already gone. You do not have to feel sorry or pitiful; you just need to learn to let go, not for anyone else, but for yourself.”
 
My favorite quote from the book is, “I gave up trying to be the good person. Do not sacrifice yourself for someone who does not show respect. Do not say it is all right when it is not. I decided to be good to myself.”  
 
As I was reaching the last page, I felt lighthearted. I needed someone to tell me it was all right to take care of myself first, that it is okay, not to be okay. The book also helped me contemplate on how to use time wisely. 
 
As Kim says, we should stop wasting our energy on what makes us sad, but instead, spend time with our loving friends and family. Kim learned to enjoy the little things that make her happy. For example, walking along the Han river with a beloved family member, taking drawing classes with her partner, writing to her readers or simply chatting with a good friend.    
 
Reading the book was like listening to a ballad song on a rainy day. I must say that I have had the best communication recently with someone whom I have never met before. How ironic it is to connect with someone without saying a word. 
 
BY WOO HYE-RIM   [kjdculture@joongang.co.kr]
 
Former Wonder Girls member  
Senior of EICC at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Major: English for international conferences and communication (EICC)
 

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