Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of The Buddha

Adolescents face the difficult task in defining themselves and discovering who they are as they make their way into adulthood. Although Tara Brach’s book, Radical Acceptance, is not technically a piece of YA literature it does have a place in the adolescent classroom. The picture chosen to represent Brach’s self-help book is a woman with her arms open to the world. This picture represents the openness and mindfulness taught in Radical Acceptance. There are many ways to deal with struggle and adversity, both of which many teens face as they grow up. However, this book explains one method where a person opens themselves to their experiences, thus allowing themselves to experience their lives free from self-deprecation of self loathing. So many teenagers face issues of insecurity that come from the various changes they experience physically and mentally. Using Radical Acceptance to pause and evaluate where feelings are coming from in order to be mindful is one way that adolescents may learn to deal with their problems. This picture exemplifies Radical Acceptance because, although all things are not wonderful to experience, they can be seen that way if they are taken as part of the human experience or part of life.

Picture Citation:

Creative Commons from Flickr “Freedom 2”

CC BY 2.0




This is a picture of an actual diamond in the rough. After reading Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, I decided that this picture perfectly represented the theme of the book. Stargirl is a 10th grade girl who has been home schooled her entire life. She enter Mica High School, her peers make fun of her because she is different and she is ostracized by mostly everyone. Her boyfriend Leo tries to stand by her and accept her differences, however, eventually even he wants her to conform and fit in so he does not have to deal with people objecting to her differences. In the end of the story, Stargirl realizes that she can’t change who she is and she should have to be anyone other than herself. I chose a picture of a diamond in the rough because I felt it took the idea of individuality and pushed it a little further. I don’t think that the point of the novel was only to remind readers to be themselves and embrace their differences but to recognize that these differences are what make people individually beautiful and unique. I though of Stargirl like a diamond in the rough because although she was different, her kindness and warmth outshined all of the other students at Mica. Sometimes being different means rising above the norm and sometimes the norm isn’t always right. I think that Stargirl was the diamond in the rough that is high school.

Picture Citation: CC BY-SA 2.0

American Born Chinese

Being different is never easy. It isn’t fun to stand out of in a crowd and have people treat you a certain way because of your appearance, background, the way you speak or dress, how old you are, or basically anything that set you apart. In American Born Chinese, the main character, Jin, struggles to accept his chinese heritage. He constantly tries to become Americanized and at one point he even transforms into another person because he is so untrue to who he really is. Similarly, the Monkey King tries to conform and conceal his monkey heritage by wearing shoes. The picture of a funny face symbolizes the message in the book because it is a reminder to “embrace one’s weirdness”. That is not to say in anyway that Jin or the Monkey King are weird in a negative sense, it simply means that they had to learn to embrace their differences because it is only once this is done that a person (or monkey) can be his or her best self.

Photo Citation: CC BY 2.0