Projection – Attributing our own unacceptable, shocking, or embarrassing thoughts, feelings, or impulses to someone else in order to relieve our feelings about them.
We are the movie projector of our own lives and the people around us are the screens for our projections. We often accuse others of the very thing we’ve done or thought. So, the more insight we have into ourselves, the less weight our projections bear on us. Try this exercise:
In our minds, point our finger at a partner, friend, sibling, or colleague and answer the following questions:
- What faults about this person bugs us the most?
- How does he or she demonstrate these short-comings?
- How does that make us feel?
- Do any of these faults resonate with us?
One of the most helpful ways to develop greater insight into ourselves is to become aware of how we think about others. Try out this exercise:
- What repetitive negative thoughts and feelings about others keep coming up in our lives?
- Have we heard the same things said about us before?
- Do you think any of the negative statements could have more to do with the person who said them than with us?
- If we haven’t heard these things from others, where did they come from?
Reading through what we’ve written, we should begin to see themes – what we project on others time and time again. The second step is to improve our compassion towards ourselves. When we live without insight and are out of touch with how we feel, it’s easier to take our resentment out on others. Developing compassion within ourselves allows us to keep resentment for others at bay. So, stay aware; listen to yourself; catch your negative self-talk and replace it with more upbeat, optimistic constructive and affirmative talk.
Cite: Kagan, M. and Einbund, N. Defenders of the Heart. (2008). Carlsbad, Ca. Hay House, Inc.