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:
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!!!
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:
Is who I don’t wanna be,
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places,
When I can’t remember what grace is.
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.
Now you know where I am, so where are you?