As humans we tend to project our stuff, both the good and the bad, on to another individual and assume that it is within them, often denying that it is within us. However the truth is, you can only…
- see yourself for what you are, other individuals are a mere reflection of their true self.
- hear yourself, what you hear from others is an interpretation of what you perceive they really mean.
- talk to yourself, when speaking to others they only react or respond to what they perceive to be true.
- criticize yourself, criticizing others is based on assumptions formulated from observation and does not necessarily reflects the person “true” nature.
- praise yourself, cause you only see a reflection of their worth that you tend to interpret in you own terms.
Based on the rule of reflection you are incapable to treat another person as a unique individual and tend to treat others only as some kind of a reflection of yourself.
Thus, if you praise people, they reflects what you like, if get angry with them they reflects what you dislike. Every time you utter or say the words “you are” or “he is” or “she is“, you are projecting something of yourself on to someone else (Keep in mind… when pointing a finger at somebody else, rest assure that three fingers are pointing back at you).
When you say “You are weird“, “You are wonderful“, “You are stupid” or “You are ignorant“. You are projecting some characteristic of yourself onto the other person. You may “see” your own weirdness, stupidity, wonderfulness or ignorance in the other person.
Far-fetched, NO, because we often make remarks about the other person’s feeling without really knowing him/her. When we assume that someone else feel as we do, that is projection. “You must feel awful about that” or “You must feel delighted” or “You must really looking forward to the challenge” are all projections, based on reflections and an assumption based on a perception that we think that we “see” clearly. However, you are placing (projecting) feeling onto the other person, that s/he MAY or MAY NOT experience at the moment.
Often we tend to project our feelings/fears to others. For example… You may say to someone “You are a mouse. You don’t have the guts to stand up for yourself.” Most likely it is perfectly true that s/he does not have the guts. Nevertheless, you would not perceive this, unless some part of you were afraid to stand up for yourself. “You have no sense of humour” merely means that the other person does not see things in the same way as you do. They may have a fabulous but different sense of humour. When you bury your hostility and express it as passive anger, you will project hostility on those around you …and will imagine people are aggressive, whether they are or not.
You will selectively imagine angry or threatening attitudes where none are intended or expressed. Those who project their hatred think everyone is out to get them. People who are paranoid about the morality of others is projecting their own underlying immorality. Persons who stopped smoking, is quite often a fanatic in campaigning against smoking, …yet, another kind of projection. The manager who suspects all his employees are cheating him, is projecting his own inner cheat. As a consequence of this s/he may attract cheats (rule of attraction). A person who constantly accuses his/her loyal colleagues of disloyalty, is projecting his/her own lack of loyalty.
It is more comfortable for us to imagine (projecting) that someone else has the qualities we wish to deny are within each of us. This held particularly true for negative qualities, but quite often positive qualities is treated in the same manner. Many of us do not believe in our own magnificence, we also project feelings/attitudes such as brilliance, powerfulness, trustworthiness, …etc. to others via praise or admiration. Every time you think (same as with negative qualities) good about another person, remember that there is something of that quality within you. Otherwise you would not have seen it within them.
The rule of projection can become particularly damaging to relationships, cooperation, sharing and teamwork, when it is applied during assessments of others. When you assess another person, being unaware of or ignore the powerful influence of projections, it could easily happen that you are actually assessing yourself by assigning values to qualities of the other person. This often results in stereo typing and generalization that is harmful to human relations, cooperation and will definitely destroy the self-worth of that individual.
“All blacks are lazy“, “Young people are irresponsible“, “Women are emotional“, “Managers are fat cats“, “Employees are untrustworthy and needs to be checked“, …etc. Often translates into some kind of projection such as “I am lazy“, “I would like to be more responsible“, “I am emotional, but do not dare to show it“, “I would like to be rich or control other people“, “I feel untrustworthy or a lack of commitment“, …etc. Just take responsibility for any part that belongs to you and do not attempt to change a reflection of the other person (Rule of reflection).
As a rule – more than the exception – projecting feelings/attitudes on to someone else, prevents us from taking responsibility for ourselves. We quite often do not even realize that what we are saying is actually within ourselves (Rule of anticipation). Thus, projection is a powerful, sometimes an unconscious form of denial (Rule of resistance).
Projections can frequently result in a game of singles tennis. When two people are shouting at each other, each accusing the other of being in the wrong, both are to some extent projecting their own anger, fears and uncertainties. The expression “a pot calling the kettle black” and “why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” aptly describe the rule of projection. Neither sees ourselves as black (wrong), instead we each see how black (wrong) the other is.
When we stop projecting and instead take responsibility for our own feelings, we may react by “I feel uncomfortable when you ask these questions“, instead of “It is none of your business” or “I feel hurt when you accuse me of being irresponsible“, instead of “You are more irresponsible than I am” or “I do not understand what this is all about, please repeat it again” instead of “You are a lousy communicator and are unable to explain things“. No human, not even highly experienced and objective professionals, is exempted from the rule of projections, every body see situations through coloured lenses. Your life is what you experience (sensing and perceiving) and each and every person experience life differently. So watch your projections and work on yourself. Understanding the influence and dynamics of the rule of projection, offers enormous opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
YOU DO NOT KNOW, NOR DO YOU UNDERSTAND, HOW ANYONE FEELS OR IS LIKE. EVERYTHING YOU SEE OR OBSERVE IS A PROJECTION OF AN ASPECT WITHIN YOURSELF.