Breathe



It’s been a month since Kim Jonghyun left us. How is the afterlife? My heart is breaking apart all over again watching Lee Hi’s performance on the 32nd Golden Disk Awards. It was a special tribute stage for the late Jonghyun as she performed “Breathe (한숨)”, a song written by Jonghyun for her. My heart is tearing apart knowing that he wrote lyrics and melody that consoled and soothed other people’s weary heart, but is failing to console and soothe his own. However, who knows? Perhaps all of his struggles and hardships are lifted now that he’s up there. It must be is. Indeed, this cruel advance capitalism system in our society in this digital era has put some people on the edge. People are forced to fulfill some standards set by the society. And when they fail, they are judged by the society. It feels like there is no room for breathing. Hence, people forget to breathe most of the time. The society has driven people to live in a fast-paced life, without a room for tolerance, sympathy, empathy, and even love. It’s tiring. And it’s suffocating.

“Even though your sigh may seem weak and cheerless to others, I know, that your day was so difficult, that it was hard for you to let out even a small sigh. Now don’t think about anything else, breathe in deeply and let it out just like that.” –Lee Hi, Breathe (한숨)

“Breathe (한숨)”, performed by Lee Hi, was released on March 9th 2016 as the title track for the singer’s second studio album, “Seoulite”. The album marked her comeback to the Korean music scene after a three-year hiatus following the release of her debut studio album in 2013. “Seoulite” was released first in a half album format, with the first half being released on March 9th 2016 and the full album released digitally in April 20th 2016, and physically a week later. An official accompany music video for “Breathe (한숨)” was premiered on Mnet on March 8th 2016. The song is a ballad track written by the late SHINee’s member, Kim Jonghyun, with the music composed and arranged by Jonghyun along with WeFreaky. Lyrically, it’s a song to bring comfort to those going through a hard or dark time. It reminds us on how to live as a ‘human’. It reminds us that we’re not a machine created by the society. We are human. And we need to breathe.


"Seoulite" first half album cover | source: en.wikipedia.org

We live our day to day, working and pushing ourselves to the limits. We have some target and we press ourselves to meet our target. However, amidst all of the business that takes away our body and mind, do we even remember to breathe? Without we even notice, our body and mind got exhausted. At times, we can’t even figure out why. We just feel sad and lonely and empty. And we blame ourselves too much for making one mistake. We blame ourselves too much for being tired and weak; not strong enough, not capable enough to handle the pressure, not good enough to face the problem. We need to stop; just stop for a while. We need to breathe in, deeply. “Take a deep breath, until both sides of your chest get numb, until they start to hurt a little. Let out your breath even more, until you feel like there’s nothing left inside of you. It’s alright if you run out of breath, no one will blame you. It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, because anyone else does it too, I tell you it’s alright, although they are only some comforting words.”
We shouldn’t punish ourselves so hard just because we cannot meet the expectation that the society puts toward us. We’ve tried. And we should appreciate ourselves for trying. No matter what the result is, we should respect ourselves for getting through this far. It’s alright if we fail. We can always try again. Take a deep breath, inhale, exhale, and let it all out. Don’t be too hard on ourselves. Hence we can have empathy towards others too. How are we to understand other people’s deep sigh when we’re not in their shoes? How are we to judge them? We all have hard day. We all have difficult tasks in life. We all have burden and weary heart. Even if others think our sigh takes out energy and strength, we already know that we had a day that’s hard enough to let out even a small sigh. It’s okay to be not okay. “Even though your sigh may seem weak and cheerless to others, I know, that your day was so difficult, that it was hard for you to let out even a small sigh. Now don’t think about anything else, breathe in deeply and let it out just like that.”
The society nowadays, with all of its demand from the advance capitalism system and the fast-paced digital era, has turned people into a mechanical human being. We should try to resist it. Unless we resist it, the humanity will be gone forever. It’s alright to be not okay. It’s okay to be tired and to take a rest. Don’t forget to breathe. Hence we will have empathy towards other people who seem not okay and tired. Hence we won’t judge people for their incapability of anything. Hence we will have tolerance for others. Hence the humanity will live on. “When someone is sighing, a breath as heavy as that, how can I see through that? Your sigh, even though I won’t be able to understand its depth, it’s alright, I will embrace you. You’ve worked really hard.” We will never what someone else has been going through, as well as they will never know ours. Sometimes, all we need is just a simple smile, or a warm big hug, in order to give strength towards one another. And we can say, thank you so much for your hard work, you really did a good job.


Lee Hi performed "Breathe" during the 32nd Golden Disk Awards on January 11th 2018 in a special tribute stage for the late Kim Jonghyun. She cried in the middle of the performance. | source: JTBC

Even though words are just words, a simple word of consolation can make someone’s day. Even though we do not know what they’ve been through, how hard it is for them, and how difficult they feel, we can at least give sincere words of consolation instead of judging them. This life is already harsh and cruel for everyone with their own struggle and hardship. We can at least not adding fuel to the fire by saying harsh and cruel words. We are human. Hence we are supposed to live humanely instead of mechanically. When we are tired, just stop for a while and take a deep breath. When we make mistake, just take a deep breath, say sorry, and make it up for our mistake. When we fail, just take a deep breath, take some rest for a while, and try again. When we feel lonely, just go home and ask for a hug from our significant person. Don’t be too hard on ourselves. Don’t punish ourselves too much. The world is already hard and difficult, so don’t make it harder by skipping some breath. Take a deep breath, and live; just live. And just live.

“When someone is sighing, a breath as heavy as that, how can I see through that? Your sigh, even though I won’t be able to understand its depth, it’s alright, I will embrace you.” –Lee Hi, Breathe (한숨)




숨을 크게 쉬어봐요 당신의 가슴 양쪽이저리게 조금은 아파올 때까지
(Sumeul keuge swieobwayo dangsinui gaseum yangjjogi jeorige jogeumeun apaol ttaekkaji)
((Take a deep breath, until both sides of your chest get numb, until they start to hurt a little))
숨을 뱉어봐요 당신의 안에 남은 없다고 느껴질 때까지
(Sumeul deo baeteobwayo dangsinui ane nameun ge eobdago neukkyeojil ttaekkaji)
((Let out your breath even more, until you feel like there’s nothing left inside of you))
숨이 벅차올라도 괜찮아요 아무도 그댈 탓하진 않아
(Sumi beogchaollado gwaenchanhayo amudo geudael tathajin anha)
((It’s alright if you run out of breath, no one will blame you))
가끔은 실수해도 돼 누구든 그랬으니까 괜찮다는 말 말뿐인 위로지만
(Gakkeumeun silsuhaedo dwae nugudeun geuraesseunikka gwaenchanhdaneun mal malppunin wirojiman)
((It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, because anyone else does it too, I tell you it’s alright, although they are only some comforting words))

누군가의 한숨 그 무거운 숨을 내가 어떻게 헤아릴 수가 있을까요
(Nugungaui hansum geu mugeoun sumeul naega eotteohge hearil suga isseulkkayo)
((When someone is sighing, a breath as heavy as that, how can I see through that?))
당신의 한숨 그 깊일 이해할 없겠지만 괜찮아요 내가 안아줄게요
(Dangsinui hansum geu gipil ihaehal sun eobgetjiman gwaenchanhayo naega anajulgeyo)
((Your sigh, even though I won’t be able to understand its depth, it’s alright, I will embrace you))

숨이 벅차올라도 괜찮아요 아무도 그댈 탓하진 않아
(Sumi beogchaollado gwaenchanhayo amudo geudael tathajin anha)
((It’s alright if you run out of breath, no one will blame you))
가끔은 실수해도 돼 누구든 그랬으니까 괜찮다는 말 말뿐인 위로지만
(Gakkeumeun silsuhaedo dwae nugudeun geuraesseunikka gwaenchanhdaneun mal malppunin wirojiman)
((It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, because anyone else does it too, I tell you it’s alright, although they are only some comforting words))

누군가의 한숨 그 무거운 숨을 내가 어떻게 헤아릴 수가 있을까요
(Nugungaui hansum geu mugeoun sumeul naega eotteohge hearil suga isseulkkayo)
((When someone is sighing, a breath as heavy as that, how can I see through that?))
당신의 한숨 그 깊일 이해할 없겠지만 괜찮아요 내가 안아줄게요
(Dangsinui hansum geu gipil ihaehal sun eobgetjiman gwaenchanhayo naega anajulgeyo)
((Your sigh, even though I won’t be able to understand its depth, it’s alright, I will embrace you))

남들 눈엔 빠지는 한숨으로 보일진 몰라도
(Namdeul nunen him ppajineun hansumeuro boiljin mollado)
((Even though your sigh may seem weak and cheerless to others))
나는 알고 있죠 작은 한숨 내뱉기도 어려운 하루를 보냈단
(Naneun algo itjyo jageun hansum naebaetgido eoryeoun harureul bonaetdan geol)
((I know, that your day was so difficult, that it was hard for you to let out even a small sigh))
이제 다른 생각은 마요 깊이 숨을 쉬어봐요 그대로 내뱉어요
(Ije dareun saenggageun mayo gipi sumeul swieobwayo geudaero naebaeteoyo)
((Now don’t think about anything else, breathe in deeply and let it out just like that))

누군가의 한숨 그 무거운 숨을 내가 어떻게 헤아릴 수가 있을까요
(Nugungaui hansum geu mugeoun sumeul naega eotteohge hearil suga isseulkkayo)
((When someone is sighing, a breath as heavy as that, how can I see through that?))
당신의 한숨 그 깊일 이해할 없겠지만 괜찮아요 내가 안아줄게요
(Dangsinui hansum geu gipil ihaehal sun eobgetjiman gwaenchanhayo naega anajulgeyo)
((Your sigh, even though I won’t be able to understand its depth, it’s alright, I will embrace you))
정말 수고했어요
(Jeongmal sugohaesseoyo)
((You’ve worked really hard))

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