Welcome back to another episode of the YouSchool podcast where we talk through every single week, the different critical questions that everybody needs to answer for themselves, in their own words in order to build, not just a happy life, successful life, responsible life, fulfilling life, but a meaningful one. And this week, we're going to talk about something that's on the definitely on the deeper end of the spectrum. The question is this, what do you appreciate about yourself. And what we're getting at is inner acceptance, which is really tricky. During the adolescent years, I've said this before, if you've listened to me, you there's a gigantic shift around 1011 12 years old. For everybody, every kid goes through this, where all of a sudden, what becomes really important is what their peers think about them. And the yearning is for acceptance. The yearning is for affirmation and validation. And there are these big questions underneath the teenage years questions like Do you like me? Am I okay? Do I have what it takes? Am I good enough? Do I have any value? Those are all extremely live questions, manifesting itself through you probably see it, or remember it as self consciousness. I feel self conscious about what I look like, I'm worried that the hat I wear the clothes I wear, the way I come across isn't good enough, isn't acceptable, is going to be rejected. And the greatest threat would be the answer to the question that you're that you're so desperately terrified about, that I'm not good enough, that I don't have what it takes. And so you do whatever you do whatever you can to fit in, to be liked to be approved to be validated. And unfortunately, what that turns into, is a bunch of unhelpful things in life that many people might even say most carry into adulthood. I know I did. As a young adult, I can remember the end of college, early, mid 20s, having a real sense of something's wrong with me on the inside. And I, I don't think I would have gone so far to say I hated myself. But there was a real strong sense of I'm not good enough, I need to be better, I need to be different. I want to do whatever I can to be the person that I wish I was and that other people think I am the image that I'm portraying the image that I'm projecting out to the world. It's not true. And it was a real I mean, a real call it an existential spiritual, prolonged crisis in my life, that man I'm sure you can relate to, I think everybody can relate to a sense of shame that it's not, you know, shame different than guilt, guilt, I feel bad about what I've done shame, I feel bad about who I am, who I'm not. It leads to self rejection, self hatred, and quite often internalizing the rejection that you're feeling and experiencing from other people, heightened so by the metrics that we use the measurements that people use, especially young people to figure out if they're accepted or rejected or not. You know, that's number of friends. It's number of followers, it's number of likes on social media. It's then translates often into adulthood as number of degrees, you have salary, toys, do have ABS, I mean, so the these are all the lb come mirrors back to us. Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes, and what it can lead to? And I think for most people, this is true. This idea of abandoning yourself, I'm trying to not be the real me trying to be someone else in authenticity, at the very least, in posturing made up that word, projecting yourself pretending to be someone that you're not playing a character, whoever you look up to, whether it's a person or a group of people. And you can imagine, if you were more fill in the blank, then I'll feel better on the inside, then they'll like me, then they'll accept me then I'll have value. That's the imposter stuff. It can also lead to of course, self harm, from at the very least,
kind of a emotional spiritual level, harming yourself saying things about yourself to yourself that are harmful. But obviously it can manifest itself in physical violence. And having friends who are therapists, counselors works in work in schools, having talked to the Rady Children's Hospital, head psychiatrist, that self harm in a in a tangible, timeout cutting, eating disorders, suicide attempts, it's it is becoming a bigger and bigger deal. And finally, what does it lead to, I think it pursues. It means pursuing validation and empty solutions. And I'll say it this way, I read a quote from the book I wrote, when you're trying to find inner peace, and acceptance, with external metrics, such as the number of followers, you have, your athletic ability, your grades, your test scores, your number of likes on Instagram posts, if you if you try to find inner peace, inner acceptance to those external things, you're going to feel insecure, you're going to feel in danger, and you're going to feel constantly lacking, you won't be able to think clearly. And you'll easily neglect your own values and virtues. And you will allow a destructive story about who's on top to become your controlling narrative. And what we're talking about today, is this big concepts that is foundational to living life well, learning to accept yourself as you are. How do you do that? What does that mean? Fortunately, there's some really smart people who have gone before us and talked and the theme, the central movement, to learning to accept yourself as you are, is to step in and choose vulnerability. I'm sure you've heard of Brene Brown, if you haven't, heard her podcasts, watched her extremely famous TED talks, read her books. She's a she's a researcher, she calls herself a shame researcher. And through Now, decades of research on shame, she talks very clearly, through evidence, research that the antidote to the solution to self rejection to shame is vulnerability. And here, she says in a quote, if we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame cannot survive.
They cannot survive. That's the antidote. That's the movement. So how do you grow in inner acceptance, you find someone that you can trust to become an honest, accurate mirror. Because when we live in shame, or self rejection, for allowing these external measurements to dictate our own value, we're not seeing clearly we're, it's we're seeing through distorted lenses. So we need to see somebody that's probably wiser, likely older, more mature, and has probably been on this journey and done this work themselves, to process this stuff with to talk out loud, about the narrative tape that's inside of us. So to say, I feel ugly, I feel stupid, I don't feel like I'm good enough. I'm making up a story that when I post a reel on Instagram, and it doesn't get very many views, or follow or likes or whatever, I make up a story. That's because I don't have value I'm not attractive, or people don't like me, or I'll never have what it takes to say that out loud to somebody who can then be an accurate mirror and help you see moving from a distorted view of reality to a realistic view. And through that, to receive affirmation. And by the way, if you're listening to this, and you're thinking, Okay, this, this isn't necessarily my issue, but there are people in my life I care about, then you flip this, you say, Okay, how do I become an honest, accurate mirror? How do I give affirmation to others? How do I even present the idea that satisfaction true inner peace cannot and will not come from the externals. It can only come from within us, you can share that idea. You can pose that as a question. You can consider that as a concept and wonder what that would take what that would look like. Also, what helps you grown in acceptance is having experiences of success, or giving someone the opportunity to to be successful. It literally creates confidence and validation, you have what it takes you have something valuable. For a kid that might be chores, literally chores, adding value to the family. It could be having a job, it could be do something significant in terms of a project at school. And it could also be things that aren't necessarily measured academically or work. It could be while you're really good at resolving conflict. You're exceptional at coming up with innovative ideas. You really solve that problem, and I couldn't it's Giving that sort of affirmation to somebody, and helping them see as a mirror, you do have value. And finally, the practice the practice of gratitude, being grateful for obviously, the good things, but also choosing to express gratitude for the struggles, for the limitations for the weaknesses, for the, for the experiences of failure, rejection, because those are instructive and informative, as well, just as much as anything else. When you get to when you start experiencing symptoms of inner acceptance, it moves your life into a place of freedom, and authenticity, inner peace, feeling more confident. And then then, there are also outward expressions, not just this inner state of I feel better about myself, but also it leads people to feeling and expressing more empathy towards others. Because I know that's what it's been like, in my life, as I've moved through that. I realize everybody struggles, it's it's kind of the classic going to a high school reunion 10 or 20 years later, and realizing everybody felt insecure. I thought it was just me. When you move through rejection and rejection, self hatred, and you get to a place of inner acceptance, all of a sudden, you realize everybody's struggling, just like me. And you get to see people's expressions of trying to find validation. And you can look at, I could look at it with compassion, ah, you think that if you were funny, you'll people like you, or you think that if you can be more successful in your career, cash I've been there might been my version of that was just slightly different. If you think being rude or, or really strong and your beliefs and stances that's going to lead you to this sense of inner peace. It's, it's hard to it's can be hard to watch, but I have empathy and compassion. And ultimately, people I know, that truly accept themselves just have a I call it a generosity of spirit. They're just warm, open, loving people.
So how do you find it? I know that many people would say, and I've experienced this myself a spiritual journey, having a framework and a language and a community of people that associate themselves with a spiritual or religious idea can take you there could also be a really effective therapists, it could be a mentor, someone who's been down this path before. It could be a loving community, it could be something that you work on yourself through, I've can't tell you, I'm looking at my books right now. I'd say 25 books that I've read about this topic for my own sake, from my own journey from my own pursuit of figuring out who I am, and learning to accept myself as I am. So that that's it. That's the that's the conversation today, I cannot imagine somebody living well. Living out a great purpose, serving others before themselves, having close healthy relationships. Having a really big legacy and impact I can't imagine any of that happening really without this. Learning to appreciate yourself learning to accept yourself. And so that's, that's our hope. For every young person. That's our hope for you. If you're a parent or educator, that not only would you be on that path yourself, but that you'd be a part of helping young people especially grow in that. So receive that as a blessing. You are accepted. You are okay, who you are and all the the flaws and the faults as well as the strengths and talents. You are accepted. You are good enough. You are just as you are okay. We'll be back next week with another episode and interview to dig into this topic.
We're taking the mystery out of building meaningful life with you step by step. In school, you're taught everything under the sun. Algebra, it's art history, to aerodynamics, but you're not taught how to understand yourself. Or given the tools to make sense of all the questions life throws your way. Without it, most people will take the path of least resistance, hoping it all just works out someday. That's why the use goal is here. for over 10 years, we've been specializing in designing transformative curriculum and learning environments to guide people through life's transitions to find, define and unleash great stories with their lives. You only get one life. You only get one story. Make sure it's the right one.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai