If our parents don’t bond with us as children, we grow up feeling ashamed of our existence. Shame becomes our default state and we probably don’t realize that’s not healthy or normal. As we grow, we just know something is not right. Shame is the deep seated belief that “I am a bad person.” Researcher Brene Brown’s definition of shame: “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”

My hidden shame caused me to live for fifty years believing if I could just be skinny and accomplish something that would make me famous, (really!) I would finally be worthy of love. What I didn’t understand was this: behind those twin desires was a wounded little girl just trying to make her dad happy. When I finally figured it out and discovered that I really was already worthy of love, and even more than that, I WAS loved, perfectly and unconditionally, I was able to let go of my shame and my need to “fix everything” in my chaotic home life by being what I thought my father wanted me to be.

When God’s unconditional love finally found its way from my head to my heart, the little girl (that’s me!) could sing, laugh, dance, and delight in her status as a loved child. She could just “be”.

Written by Tina Gasperson

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