I am large, I contain multitudes


I have a contemplative self and an impulsive self. A short-term self and a long term self, some distant past selves and distant future selves. At present I am in conflict with myself about the imaginary selves and the so-called real self.

Which of the self is actually me? Who am I?

No, it is not dissociative identity disorder, though at times one may think it is. Mind is a devious creäture who makes us believe who we are and is aided by the powerful emotions – anger, guilt, sadness, desire, pain, longing etc. Within our brain are different selves who pop up in and out of existence, each one with different desires, and each one wanting control and planning, scheming, plotting to get hold over others.  Walt Whitman said it aptly, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”

I think I have a strong coping system to deal with all my selves.  The idea is to maintain a balanced interplay between all the selves, a balance between long-term contemplation and short-term impulse.

As the time span increases I feel we have more multiple selves. I feel that I shift from one self from another smoothly; there is no clash, no conflict, no overpowering of one over other. Sometimes these selves that we create protect us, help us cope up with daily life situations, help us emerge from some deep hurt or realize some desire. They also help in making us strong. I see it as therapy.  I feel that different selves are brought to the fore by different situations and it is a continuous process.

A friend once remarked that I come across as a shy, introvert, scared, insecure person and that does not fit the image I have as a blogger / writer in virtual world. People who read me and know me from there expect me to be that gregarious, extrovert, bold and outgoing. Both these selves are me. One what I wanted to be and maybe was from within and other which people saw in me as a person who interacted with them. These interactions also differed from situation to situation and people to people.

I noticed over the time that I was able to merge the various selves to create a new stronger self, shedding the weaker aspects. From the moment we are born, we wear a mask and a robe of who the people around want us to be and the layers increase with time and under all this the true self in subtly forcefully buried.

I felt that under this entire role-playing I developed some overpowering selves which took control over those which initially existed. As the awareness increased the conflict also did. Maybe, to combat that, I created more imaginary selves, one of them being my virtual self. Most of them are various “me” in complete harmony and control over the situation they are in.

I realized that this creating imaginary selves  helped me to become what I am today and by that I mean to uphold what I believe in. Enjoying fiction requires a shift in selfhood and I think participation in what is unreal is the best way to spend the leisure time. To take on different identities makes takes much of sadness and hurt from the real-time experiences. It helps heal. I find creating alternate identities or selves, interesting and harmless.  My imaginary friends and selves have a lot of fun and adventures. I am fully aware of these imaginary situations and selves and often joke about it as I love my schizophrenia J  . I guess they have made me more socially adept than before. More confident and secure and most importantly helped in “being myself” and not a shadow of what others expect me to be.

Most of us from time to time hold conversations with people who are not actually there. Conjuring up people or physical props is common and with me creating selves to match these props or people comes easy. As I said before maybe I have a strong coping system. Internet is interesting place for creating the alternate self and many people indulge in it due to its relatively safe environment. I know people who have created different avatars to explore or release different aspect of them.

It would be remarkable if all the selves coexisted and worked as team inside our mind but they clash and create compulsions and addictions. If one can keep them under control then they can prove beneficial too. In my case to an extent they did help me get out of a messy life and change my path.

Self binding helps to contain oneself from dominating the other self. Both the short-term impulsive self and the long-term contemplating self are essential for growth, the conflict continues and sometimes one wins, sometimes the other.

I define my self as what I stand for and believe in, sometimes visible and at others camouflaged.

I remember a short verse from Rumi which says it all:

 “Anyone who knows me, should learn to know me again;

For I am like the Moon,

you will see me with new face every day.”

― Rumi

This post is in response to week  #54  (5-27-12 to 6-2-12): Self  BGE 2

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8 thoughts on “I am large, I contain multitudes

  1. A paradigm shift in consciousness. Was held captive from the title of this blog post. Yes we are kind of schizoid arent we, containing multitudes within ourselves. Interesting thought

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  2. I have myself observed this..about having different faces or somewhat as many a personalities within me that occur to me with different people or situations..not a disorder, jus like how we present ourselves to others. was a true post ..and I loved the ending lines

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  3. I absolutely agree that all of us are mulch-faceted. We display different parts of ourselves depending on where we are, who we are with, and even how comfortable we are with ourselves and our surroundings. Perfectly normal, I think. After all, what is acceptable and appropriate in one situation may not be somewhere else. For example, it’s perfectly fine to be silly with friends, but probably not on a job interview, okay to tell a bawdy joke to peers, but maybe not to your grandmother. :O)

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  4. Its the multitudes that make us interesting dont you think? If we were to simply be the same day in and day out, we’d bore ourselves silly . I think we created these different selves of us as a defense mechanism against boredom. Or may be, its just that we change every moment so.. its imperative that our perception of ourselves change too. Ah what the hell! more the merrier I say!

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  5. Till date I dont think I have known the real me… when ever there are any places where I have to write a description about me… I kinda always am urged to write… still discovering… not yet sure how to describe ! 🙂

    I concur with a lot in this space and that Rumi thought is priceless truth !

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