The Really Important Thing About Knowing Who You Are

Recently someone who knows me well told me this – “You know who you are, so you know who you’re not.”

It’s like a truth bomb hit me and my mind exploded a little bit.

It sounds so simple and duh, right? But it’s a truth that’s taken me a long time to realize for myself.

If we don’t know who we are, we strive and strive and strive to be who we think we should be, or who the world thinks we should be, or we let our external circumstances define us.

We don’t know who we are so we say yes too much. We lead a life that doesn’t allow us to live into our strengths.

We aim to please and we’ll do anything to make sure everyone else is satisfied and happy.

We morph into who everyone else needs and never recognize who we really are because it’s not about what we want or who we are, it’s about making sure everyone else has what they need.

Let me tell you…I am an expert chameleon. I can read people and situations so well that I can morph into whoever that person I am with at the moment needs me to be.

Need me to be positive, optimistic and cheery? Got it.

Need me to be mad and upset about something? Got it.

Need me to make your life easier and make it okay for you? Got it.

None of these things technically are bad…but they are when you’re so focused on morphing into who everyone else needs – you forget who you are.

That was my story for a very long time. And I’m still a recovering chameleon/people pleaser/whatever you want to call it.

I used to get so stressed out when people from my different circles would get together at things like my birthday and I never knew why. I always laughed it off and just thought it was because I wanted to make sure everyone had someone they knew and no one felt left out…which is partly true.

But then I was listening to a podcast (The Road Back to You) about type 2s on the Enneagram (The Enneagram is a personality typing system that explains how we’re wired and what motivates us) and it made sense. They said that type 2’s so deeply want to belong that we can morph to be whoever it takes in order to belong to the group we’re with. This makes it hard when groups overlap because we don’t know which group to belong to.

I didn’t like when my different circles overlapped because I didn’t know who I was supposed to be to them…if I was one way with these friends over here but then I felt like these people over here needed a different Abby…who am I supposed to be when they come together?

I would literally make myself sick with anxiety about it.

I don’t necessarily feel like I was totally inauthentic, but depending who I was with I was more opinionated or I made sure not to talk about certain things or I affirmed everything this person said or wouldn’t get too talkative with this person…I just shifted to be the best person for that particular friend.

And it was killing me. I didn’t know how to be my true self. I didn’t really know I could be my true self. I was terrified that if I was just myself and no one felt like they were getting anything from me I wouldn’t be worth knowing and I wouldn’t belong anymore.

I had to ask myself who am I really? I went through a rediscovery process of getting to know my true self.

I literally had to ask myself – do I even like this or did I just say I did because the people I was with liked it?

I spent time looking inward at my authentic self – recognizing who I truly am, acknowledging and accepting that I am exactly who God created me to be and that trying to be anything else was a waste of time.

Sometimes when I think about all of this I am filled with shame, I berate myself and think about how weak I was that I allowed who I was to be dictated by other people and how easily I lost touch with myself.

But then I remember to show myself grace. I remember that we’re always in process.

I felt like I was becoming who I am and unbecoming who I am not all at the same time.

I let go of the shoulds and shed my chameleon skin.

I realized that it takes courage to grow up to become who you really are like e.e. cummings says.

I let go of the stigma that seeking help isn’t okay and am proud of the hard work I’ve done through counseling.

I embraced tools like the Enneagram and practices like self-care to continue to cultivate my personal growth and self-awareness.

It’s not easy and it’s a continual process that I’m still engaged in, but it’s so worth it.

Because one of the bravest things we can do is be who we are, so we know who we’re not.

So today…

May you be reminded today to be who you are.

Because who you are is beautiful, strong, courageous and enough.

May you remember that you are who you are and that is enough.

You are enough because you were created to be loved and to love.

May you say no to the shoulds and to the temptation to cover up your truth.

May you take care of yourself and show yourself grace.

May you not back down from the rewarding journey of being your authentic, whole, true self.

May you rest in your God-breathed worth and know you are one who is dearly loved.

{I mentioned the Enneagram and the transformational power it has had on my life. The Enneagram is a dynamic personality typing system that helps us recognize self-defeating patterns so we can be our true selves. I’m an Enneagram Coach and if you’re interest in learning more I would love to journey alongside you toward wholeness and self-awareness. If you’re interested contact me here.}


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Abby Buter
Abby Buter lives in Nashville, TN, but she never hesitates to let people know of her Michigan roots. She is the founder of Abby Buter Coaching where she walks with people towards wholeness and helps them uncover who God has already created them to be. She loves to see people come alive and find the courage to be themselves. She writes over at and would love to see you there!