14 Tips To Be Your Authentic Self – Remind Me Who I Am, Please Tell Me Who I Am

by Sherry Riter in Personality,PTSD

This above all:
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~ William Shakespeare ~


When I sit down to write my “personal” posts, the words flow from my fingers, appear on the screen and in less than an hour, a post is born. When the topic is something personal, I usually don’t even have to think much about it because it flows so easily.

Writing this post has been a struggle.

I started a Chuckle Of The Day post, but it didn’t make me laugh.

I started a post about a new housing idea, but it sounded boring.

I’ve spent three hours trying not to write a personal post, but I guess I just need to express myself and be done with it.

The authentic self is an uncomfortable topic for me…

It is very difficult for me to discuss…

My emotions are raw and pain filled if I even start thinking about the topic…

So here I go anyway…


What Is Your Authentic Self?

Are you like the fake diamond you get out of the bubblegum machine or are you like the Hope Diamond in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum? That is the difference between the fictitious self and the authentic self.

Are you a phony and a fake?

The authentic self is the real, genuine you. It is the you that is buried deep within your soul and in the very core of your being. The authentic self is a culmination of all things that are you – knowledge, talents, skills, attitude, perspective. It isn’t defined by your placement in a family unit or career. The authentic self is the essence of you that wants to be part of the expression in everything you do because IT IS YOU.

Let me say that again. The authentic self is the essence of you that wants to be part of the expression in everything you do because IT IS YOU.

The first goal is to get in touch with our Hope Diamond and leave the fake diamond in the bubblegum machine. Phony just isn’t going to give you the fullness of true happiness.


Things That Smother Your Authentic Self

Since every person is an absolute one-of-a-kind model, the reality should be that we all exist as happily as tweeting birds on a spring morning. We all know, however, that acceptance of our individuality doesn’t happen most of the time. People can be quite critical. On top of it all, the person who is the most critical of every aspect of our being is the same person that looks back at us in the mirror.

Why don’t we appreciate our value and worth? Being true to who we are and how we feel is extremely difficult because we live on a planet with billions of other people who are trying to do a lot of the same things we are doing and they have an opinion. Not only do they have an opinion, but they often insist on making their opinion our reality. That’s rough. While other people are trying to pigeon hole us in one place, we are trying to authenticize our self some place else.

There are so many inside and outside forces that smother the authentic self, but they can all be dealt with advantageously or banished with effort.

Key words…“with effort.”

Inside and outside forces that smother our authentic self include:

  • Fear – We are scared of being hurt, ridiculed and not accepted, so we conform and smother the authentic self. It seems easier to socially exist if we just “be” who everyone wants us to be.
  • Doubt – Many times when dreaming about success in one form or another, you have thought, “It is impossible!” and then you don’t even attempt to make it reality. You doubt your ability to succeed. Main thing to remember is that success always begins with you, so if you aren’t believing…
  • Conformity Is Easier – It is hard to be different and stick out in the crowd because of ridicule, judgement and rejection by others. Everyone wants to be accepted at least to some degree. It is much easier to go along with the crowd and be like everyone else. If you don’t rock the boat, it won’t tip over.
  • Manipulation – Other people are on a journey and may try to manipulate you in order to get ahead. That manipulation usually is a negative thing because they can’t step up one notch unless they step on you. All that stepping usually includes putting down the aspects of you that are authentic.
  • Misery Loves Company – Who wants to be unhappy alone? No? I didn’t think so and that’s precisely why people who are miserable try to drag you into their muck. People who keep you down in an unhappy place, also cause your authentic self to become suppressed.
  • Pride – Acceptance by those we care about is important to most of us. We take a certain amount of pride in being “Helpful Aunt Sue” or “Mr. Fix-It Uncle Ed.” To show aspects of our authentic self that might not be as readily accepted would be and often is difficult. When pride wins, it provides a whole lot of warm fuzzy emotions, but the authentic self is stifled.
  • Shame Or Guilt – Making mistakes is part of life. When those mistakes are thrown back in your face in an effort to keep you in a specific mold, shame and guilt are right there waiting to beat up your authentic self.

All of this burying and bashing of the authentic self is not necessarily done on purpose, however, that is irrelevant. Whether it is a conscious or unconscious choice, holding the authentic self captive in the dungeon is not acceptable. In order to have true fulfillment, one must not only know their authentic self, but live hand-in-hand with their authentic self.

Easy? Heck No!


14 Tips To Be Your Authentic Self

Dr. Seuss says:

“Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

That quote is a very profound message and is actually packed with great advice. Let me give you a few tips that will enable you to be as “youer” as you can get:

  • Trust your gut feeling and common sense.
  • Find your talents and explore them.
  • Appreciate the things about you that are different than most other people.
  • Make time to enhance yourself.
  • Value your own beliefs.
  • Relax. This isn’t a race. You are who you are and that’s all you have to be.
  • Don’t imitate others in order to cover your uniqueness. Be a bold you!
  • Have your space reflect you.
  • Forgive yourself fully.
  • Enjoy the little things that will help give you peace and balance.
  • Dream and believe it for yourself.
  • Know you are valued and needed by other people.
  • Respect yourself.
  • Make decisions based on your own mind and not what others want you to do.

Basically, you have permission to be “you” regardless of your strengths or weaknesses. Think about it…there isn’t anyone in the WHOLE WORLD that has EVER lived or WILL EVER live that is EXACTLY like you. No one. YOU are one hundred percent unique.

Does knowing about your authenticity make you feel special, valued and excited?

Judging by the state of the world, I doubt that rhetorical question even phased you.


Remind Me Who I Am, Please Tell Me Who I Am

Who am I?

Let’s explore for a moment exactly who I am.

To Alyssa, I am Mom.
To my mother, I am her oldest child, Sherry.
To my employer, I am probably just a number in the payroll system.
To the Department of Motor Vehicles, I am a potential revenue generator.
To Turtle, I am the source of everything.

Who is my authentic self?

Before the horrific trauma that caused my PTSD, I had a whole set of strengths, weaknesses and beliefs. My interpretation of myself and the world around me was smooth, compact and clear. I had hopes, dreams, goals, expectations, love, laughter and happiness.

Then the day came that PTSD walked into my life. It put a brown bag over my head and told me to keep functioning just the same as I did without the bag.

I have struggled.

Desperately struggling each day to regain a semblance of the self I used to enjoy has proven impossible. That person…the authentic Sherry who lived in the world without PTSD no longer exists. She died. It sounds harsh and cold, but the reality is that she died. No matter how much I want her to come back, it just isn’t going to happen. Can I just say, I didn’t want her to die!!!

Sherry Riter tombstone

I have grieved her death. I have been angry and frustrated, but mostly, I have felt the sadness of her loss. I miss her more than I’ve ever missed anyone in my whole life.

Not only did the experience with Alyssa change my core being, but the reactions of those around me altered my perception of the world.

I see everything differently.

I feel things differently.

I perceive all reality different than I did two years ago.

I have made finding me my number one goal. Searching for Sherry sounds like a movie on the LifeTime channel, but it has been terrifying. With every new discovery, doubt looms overhead and I wonder if I will be accepted for who I am now. Can I be as good or better than the old Sherry? Will the part of my authentic self that survived be able to thrive? Can all the hopes and dreams that have been dashed be replaced by new hopes and dreams that will come to fruition? Am I going to be “better than before” like the Bionic Man was touted to be or will I instead be a failure? These and a million other questions have been flying through my mind for a very long time.

I want the old Sherry back and now I fully realize, she is gone and can not return. Life changed me and I have to accept it, so I have started letting her go.

There’s a song by Jason Gray called, “Remind Me Who I Am” and part of the lyrics are:

In the mirror all I see,
Is who I don’t wanna be,
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places,
When I can’t remember what grace is.
When my heart is like a stone,
And I’m running far from home,
Remind me who I am.
When I can’t receive your love,
Afraid I’ll never be enough,
Remind me who I am.

I have spent many hours ruminating and begging God to PLEASE TELL ME WHO I AM and it has led me to today. Regardless of how everyone else feels and how they have suffered the loss of the old Sherry, I have missed her the most. I have not just missed her, I have mourned her loss. The authentic Sherry that remains is rather wonderful, but I’m not really that comfortable with her yet. I often feel like a stranger to myself. I have found that the new Sherry is a stronger more powerful woman in many ways and it is a bit unnerving.

It is like the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible when they were running around naked. They didn’t know they were naked until they had eaten of the fruit of the tree. After they had partaken of the fruit, they had knowledge and that information changed everything about their existence. So it is the same with me – I have new knowledge brought about by my PTSD that has changed everything about my existence.

I remember who I was and now I am getting comfortable with who I am…

Yeah, it is a bit scary.


“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt ~

 Now you know where I am, so where are you?
 The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bobbie Nowak April 23, 2012 at 9:37 am

Thank you yet again for sharing your thoughts and soul. By you taking the time and courage to share the deepest parts of you I am able to believe that I can forgive myself and let my heart heal. I never really took the time to grieve the loss of Bobbie before PTSD vanished her and the fear of what was left behind was a woman, mother, friend and daughter that dove into a cave. I am now facing my life as it is now. Out in the open walking in fear at times but still dreaming and living my new life
Thank you


2 The Redhead Riter April 23, 2012 at 9:40 am


It is not easy writing how I feel and it is doubly hard sharing it with the world. However, I do it to help me heal and help others understand what PTSD does to someone. There just isn’t enough awareness or understanding. If there was more understanding, my journey wouldn’t have been so hard.

You said, “I am now facing my life as it is now.” That is hard and I commend you for continuing. It is scary and I hope your new life offers you much happiness. I hope my new life offers me happiness. I’m sure trying!

Many {{{huggggssssss}}} for you Bobbie and I wish you a very happy day.


3 Skip_D April 23, 2012 at 10:23 am

I am in admiration of Sherry! I never knew the old You, except from what I’ve read in your posts, but the new You is a pretty remarkable woman – gentle yet strong, introspective yet outgoing, tentative yet resolute… someone I am very glad to know! On top of everything, your posts are honest portrayals of yourself as well as generous suggestions & examples to your readers of ways to embrace & express ourselves as you have done. Thank you, Sherry!


4 The Redhead Riter April 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

Skip, you are too sweet. I think you would have liked the old Sherry. I think she was phenomenal! I liked her!!! LOL

I’m glad I know you too and appreciate your insight, thoughtfulness and kind words. {{{hugsssss}}}


5 Sue April 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I want to post a reply, but I can’t because of what it just did to me.


6 The Redhead Riter April 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Hmmmm….Sue? Is that a good or bad thing?


7 andy April 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

To me you are a courageous, intelligent and sweet friend with the heart of a lioness.


8 The Redhead Riter April 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm

A lioness?! Wow! Really, Andy?! I need to definitely go look in my mirror and ponder myself again. I may not be giving myself enough credit!

On a funny note…When my hair is all wind blown and messed up, it does look like the mane of a lion. LOL I need to take Roaring Lessons so that I can appropriately fit the image. 😉

Thank you, Andy.


9 andy April 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Ha ha! Cool, let me know when you do so that we can arrange a shootout. 🙂


10 The Redhead Riter April 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm

A shootout!!! Do you want to “shoot” *bang-bang* or “shoot” *click-click” the wild lioness? LOL


11 Carol (artmusedog) April 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm

We are all on a path to become who we already are ~ read some Taoism ~ and think about what you were like as a child ~ there in lies many clarifications ~ hugs and namaste, ^_^


12 The Redhead Riter April 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Thank you, Carol. {{{hugssss}}}


13 Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) April 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Hi Red – Wow is all I can say. You are just so brave and your task of the the emergence of your (re)developed self sure looks like it is well under way. You are a work of art and all brush strokes have created the compassionate large heart & mind that are you. thank you.


14 The Redhead Riter April 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Thanks Kathy. I don’t feel all that brave. I just keep plodding along, one step at a time.


15 Ruth Hill May 6, 2012 at 1:24 am

You know, I think we all change over time. I am certainly not the person I was back in high school. I am not the trusting, naive little girl who married a man 10 years older than she was, remained married for nearly 10 years, divorced him, became a single mom, stood strong through being accused of being an affair, and it goes on.

I know that you have been through a lot. You have changed since I began following your blog, and usually, I don’t comment. I just read and go on. But I felt I needed to here.

The old you who has died and you have missed her–I am sure she was wonderful. There are parts of the old me that I miss from time to time. I miss the lady who had a full-time job and could provide for her family. I miss having my own home. I miss being able to eat whatever I want and not exercise. I miss the girl who prayed and read the Bible constantly. I miss the girl who had such wonderful dreams that were not dashed.

I think God’s plan is for us to change over time. I realize that the change you had was not a fun one. But is change ever fun? I don’t think so. You are a wonderful lady, and you have great talent. The fact that you can sit down and write a blog and keep going forward is fantastic. The fact that you have not completely closed up and have written this post with such raw emotion is good.

Don’t sell yourself short, my friend. You are one fantastic lady, and God has great things planned for the lady you have become! Blessings!


16 The Redhead Riter May 6, 2012 at 9:57 am

Thank you, Ruth. I appreciate your kind words of wisdom. Change isn’t ever fun for anyone and my own words keep echoing in my head…”Quitters never succeed.” I’m not going to quit, so I guess that means I will succeed! LOL Thanks again! {{{hugsss}}}


17 Skip DeGroot February 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Two days ago, I discovered your website. Can’t stop reading your blog. I listen to Roger Williams as I read, amazing, how music and words respond to one another. Your writing seems so alive and dinamic, almost as though you are in love. Thank you for letting me get to know you.


18 Sherry Riter February 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Skip! That is such a lovely compliment that I want to give you a big hug! I’m so glad you are enjoying my blog and thank you for telling me!



19 terri November 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I have no idea. I must be waiting for some divine message to to tell me!


20 Sherry Riter November 6, 2013 at 8:03 am



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