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The following was written by Dr. Christy Kane for LDS Living. To read the full article, click here

A few days ago, a beautiful young person met with me in my office. As we talked, this youth shared with me deep feelings of sadness, feelings of not measuring up, frustrations that they were not perfect, and worries that they were disappointing their parents.

As we talked, I prayed silently to know what words to say to help this youth understand how Heavenly Father sees them, to help them know perfection is not required to be of worth or to be loved. As tears flowed freely, I quietly listened as this young person shared deep-seeded feelings of shame which added to the sadness they expressed. With listening ears and gentle words together, this youth and I were able to begin the process of trust and to share thoughts which allowed us to move away from shame and towards truth.

Towards the end of the session, with trust established, this youth felt comfortable enough to confide that they had been viewing pornography and using drugs. I felt immense gratitude that this youth was finally able to tell a trusted individual about such personal struggles. As we talked, the heaviness of this youths’ burden, which had been carried alone for so long, began to lighten and tears of healing flowed. I thanked the youth for trusting me enough to share such personal struggles.

After sharing, we then were able to talk about why it was so important not to carry such burdens alone—that it is Satan who wants us to be silent and keep things hidden. When things are hidden, shame increases. When youth talk about mistakes with those they trust, shame can be replaced with the blessings of remorse, the desire to change, the knowledge of forgiveness, and with feelings of self-worth and love which come through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

As this youth left my office that day, I thanked Heavenly Father for helping such critical steps to take place. Then I found myself wondering: why did it take so long for this youth to open up and share?

To read the full article, click here