Walt Whitman by photographer George C. Cox, New York, 1887
You are uniquely yourself, yet you are many selves. You are both singular and diverse, a continually unfolding being. As my teacher Dr Douglas Brooks frequently points out, the self who you are with your parent is not the same as the self you are with your lover, your child, or your best friend. This does not make you inauthentic in any way. It simply means that you are multi-faceted. At the core of your identity is this play between your singularity and your diversity.
Embracing diversity in the world around you makes you richer, deeper. When you dive into a new job, enjoy new friends, explore a new interest, or travel, you expand the universe of you. You are different and will be perceived differently. You may view yourself in this alternate context and be confronted with a new image of yourself. External diversity precipitates self-awareness and encourages self-knowledge.
The more aware you are of your own particularities, strengths and challenges, the better equipped you are to understand and appreciate other people. But interestingly, the more you see within yourself, the more endless the process of seeing becomes. You become internally diverse. You begin to recognize that for every drop of self-knowledge you have, there is a river of unknowns. So now you have a choice: you can stop looking, stagnating into set habits and patterns, or you can leap into the cascading limitless waterfall that is you. Appreciating the nuances of difference within yourself offers you a glimpse of your limitlessness.
Walt Whitman said it best: Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.