EP 62: Finding Hope Through Embracing Your Identity: Ali Burkhard

Defining who we are versus how our family, friends, and others define us is a common experience; and striking a balance between the two is an especially prevalent struggle for adolescents and young adults. Identity development is the process of aligning how we feel inside with what we project to the outside world and, when there are internal and external influences that interfere with that process, many might find that their mental health is impacted. In today’s episode, you’ll hear from Sherry’s 18-year-old daughter, Ali Burkhard, as she shares her own journey of claiming her identity and how the process has impacted her mental health. We also touch on why counseling has been such a valuable resource for Ali, the importance of setting boundaries in parent-child relationships, and how Ali’s faith has influenced her journey and helped her find hope, plus so much more! Make sure to stay tuned until the end of the episode to hear Ali’s song, ‘Embraced’, which she wrote about her journey of embracing her identity. We hope you’ll join us!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Insight into Ali’s personality as an introvert, an internal processor, and a deep thinker.
  • The social stigma and expectations that can accompany certain stereotypes.
  • Influencing factors that made the process of identity development difficult for Ali.
  • Why we shouldn’t make assumptions if we want to build valuable relationships with people.
  • Ali reflects on the internal conflict that can come with trying to live up to others’ expectations.
  • Understanding perfectionism as a coping mechanism.
  • How counseling has been a valuable resource for Ali.
  • A look at the importance of finding the right counselor for you.
  • The problem with comparison when it comes to mental health issues.
  • How Ali learned to voice her feelings and become more connected with her emotions.
  • Dispelling the stigma that is associated with seeking support for your mental health.
  • The importance of establishing respectful boundaries in parent-child relationships.
  • Recognizing that you can’t change other people; you can only work on yourself.
  • While it’s easy to feel like the victim in certain situations, Ali highlights the fact that it only leaves you feeling disempowered.
  • Advice for parents: you can’t fix what your child is going through, but you can support them.
  • A reminder that there is always room to work on yourself.
  • Ali shares some insight into the song she wrote about her journey of embracing her identity.
  • Understanding that you’re not broken if you’re struggling and God doesnt look on you with shame if you’re depressed.
  • Closing with Ali’s story of hope: seeing the response that others have had to her song.


“Even though I was more introverted, that didn’t mean that I had to be less confident but, because I felt like [my introversion] was such a negative quality, I wasn’t confident in myself.” — Ali Burkhard [0:05:57]

“The reality is, boundaries make a huge difference because [it’s] you honoring your needs and, when you honor your needs, you’re able to honor each other’s needs. Respecting that with each other will really help grow your relationship versus harm it.” — Ali Burkhard [0:23:42]

“One of the most important things a parent needs to recognize is that they cannot fix their child’s situation for them. If their child is struggling with depression, they cannot take their depression away from them. That is not something they can do and it’s not their responsibility.” — Ali Burkhard [0:29:56]

“God doesn’t look on you with shame when you’re going through something difficult. He doesn’t look at you and feel ashamed that you’re depressed.” — Ali Burkhard [0:35:55]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

‘Embraced’ by Ali Grace on Apple Music

Mosaics of Mercy


You can listen here on our website or through the links below. However, we highly recommend subscribing so you can automatically receive each new episode. To do so, click one of the subscribe options below.



Get the latest blogs, events, and more directly in your inbox.