This Book Encourages Teens To Embrace Their Flaws

After being bullied—and then becoming a bully herself—Emily-Anne Rigal realized that self-acceptance is the key to treating others with respect.

Courtesy of Emily-Anne Rigal

It's officially October, and what better way to kick off Anti-Bullying Month than with a great read? FLAWD: How to Stop Hating on Yourself, Others, and the Things That Make You Who You Area book by Emily-Anne Rigal with illustrations and co-writing by Jeanne Demers—is all about encouraging teens to face and embrace their flaws. The book is a must-read for every adolescent, but it can even teach adults a thing or two about self-acceptance.

Emily-Anne Rigal, 21, is the founder of an online community called WeStopHate. The organization began as a YouTube channel and grew to include other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. “WeStopHate is all about raising self esteem in teens as a way to combat bullying,” Rigal says. “If you feel good about yourself, you're not going to hate on yourself, and you're not going to hate on others. People who are hurt tend to hurt other people.” And she knows this firsthand.

Growing up, Rigal was bullied so viciously that she had to transfer schools. Then at her new middle school, she switched roles and she became a bully. It was essentially a defense mechanism, but she didn't feel great about it. She'd often find herself frustrated on the bus ride home, wondering why she behaved so meanly. It wasn't until she began to accept herself that she, in turn, treated others with that same level of respect.

 

“We’re not all rainbows and butterflies. We have dark corners and things that are harder to acknowledge. So sometimes you can’t embrace [those flaws], but you can still face them. And that’s still a really big step in accepting yourself.”

 

With the help of her co-author Demers, Rigal watched more than 100 WeStopHate videos from teens and pulled the best pieces of advice to include in her book. Because so many teens talked about flaws holding them back, they decided to make it the primary focus for the paperback—which is filled with illustrations, as well as advice and real teen quotes. Rigal says,

We live in a culture and a society that makes us believe that a lot of the time we’re not good enough. If only we had X or Y or Z, we’d be happier and better. The key message in the book is that just as we are—flawed and powerful—we are good enough. We are plenty good enough to make a positive difference in the world.

Such an important message! If young people can embrace their own flaws, they'll be less likely to take out their insecurity and unhappiness on other people.

If you know any teens who are interested in learning more about WeStopHate, visit westophate.org and its YouTube channel!

For more anti-bullying inspiration, check out the story of Trisha, who created software to stop cyberbullying at the source. Then join this month's #ChoicesChallenge and embark on a mission to spread kindness!