ST. LOUIS — "It's called 'Healing Out Loud: How to Embrace God's Love When You Don't Like yourself.' And so, kind of a deep thing there, but I kinda have a sense that most of us know what that feels like to have this gnawing inside like, 'I don't really like myself,'" said Sandi Brown.
It may come as a surprise that Sandi Brown, founder, president, and radio host of JOY FM, also struggles with this feeling.
She said, "The disconnect was obvious to me but I didn't know why. I could see what other people did in my life. A great job, a great family, success in some measurable ways, accomplishment, contentment professionally but still this gnawing voice that would say, 'If people knew you then they wouldn't really like you.'"
Sandi took a big step to go see a counselor and began a yearlong healing journey to figure out where these feelings came from.
She said, "When I went into counseling, I admitted things to myself and counselor that no one in my life knew, my husband included. It wasn't that I was hiding anything from anybody. It was all about pain avoidance… I remember having the first conversation with my husband, married 34 years, and saying, ‘You don't know this, but to know me fully, you need to know this.’ It was scary, risky, and one of the best conversations I've ever had."
Sandi writes about her difficult childhood and how she didn’t know that it was still affecting her today. Now shares her message with others to bring her healing, and she hopes it is also freeing to readers.
“It's so clear now, but one of the reasons I wasn't feeling wanted or loved was because our dad left our family when I was 5. And he wanted to take my brother with him and didn't want to take me. A message attached in that moment carried with me. I didn't know the connecting of the dots until much later, but I didn't feel wanted by anybody. And when my mom remarried my stepdad, there was some abuse there,” she said.
Sandi wrote the book with her former counselor Dr. Michelle Caulk.
“When we started talking to publishers, there is not another thing like this where you have a client and a former counselor who have written a book together. By the way, we did it all as it should be. Counseled for a year, formed a friendship, and then we decided to write a book together so no boundaries were crossed,” she said.
The book gives perspective from Sandi's side of the couch, as well as the counselor's side of the couch: two voices on one healing journey.
“You're not broken. There are reasons you're feeling the way that you are. Why not take a brave step of discovery to find better? It feels great,” she said.