Saturday, 14 September 2013

How We Project Our Feelings Onto Others

By: Tony Fahkry

Have you ever become so upset with someone like your partner or a parent and then later sat down and wondered if you were justified in your anger? We often project our feelings onto others without our conscious awareness. Did something they say make you feel particularly angry or frustrated? You might be surprised to find out that many times when you react negatively toward another person, you might not really be angry with them at all. In fact, you might actually be completely upset with yourself and you don't even realise it!

This little phenomenon is called projection and it occurs when one person unconsciously transfers his or her own feelings onto another person. You project your feelings onto them instead of owning them yourself.

For example, if a woman happens to have an insecurity about her looks and she sees her boyfriend innocently talking to a pretty coworker, she may begin yelling at him about how rude he is being, when in reality she is simply insecure and is taking her issues out on him. If she was secure, she would be able to rationalise that her boyfriend is simply being cordial to his coworker.

I happen to know a woman who projected her feelings all the time and did not realise that her projections were ruining her life. She got mad when her partner had so many friends because she did not have any friends, so she took her anger out on her partner. She got defensive when her partner talked about just about anything, because she had no confidence. She finally began to realise that the issues she complained about her partner were really her own issues. When she gained insight into how she tended to project, she started looking inside to contend with her own shadow.

I once heard of projection explained in terms of energy. Envision that your chest is full of different electrical outlets and each outlet is a different characteristic about you. The nice qualities that you like are all covered with cover plates so there is no chance of electricity running through them. On the other hand, the qualities about yourself that you do not like do not have cover plates. They are well able to have electricity run through them! So what happens when someone displays that characteristic in front of us, they plug into our uncovered outlet and let the energy flow!

For example, if you harbour unresolved anger, you will attract other angry people into your life.. You might run into an angry coworker and then go home and tell everyone how awful that person is, but you suppress your own anger. You might not even realise that you are harbouring such anger. You might say to your partner, "You are so angry all the time! I can't take it! Why can't you just be happy?" In reality though, you might be the one harbouring all that anger and feeling miserable.

We all have a shadow lurking deep down inside us. It is that shadow that keeps us from owning up to our own mess. But sooner or later we are given the opportunity to face our shadow and let all the junk that we have carried unconsciously for so many years go. Oftentimes it is during a season of hardship or reflection that we begin to see negative emotions rise to the surface. We think, "Wow, am I really that angry? Selfish? Bitter? Prideful? Mean?"

One thing I appreciate about relationships of any kind is that they oftentimes mirror each person's inner world. When I look at you, I see me. When you look at me, you see you. This is one reason so many couple's fight. They point fingers strongly at one another pointing out character defects, but so many times they are really pointing out things in themselves that are driving them crazy! They mirror each other.

It's time to pull your plugs out of other people's outlets and plug them into your own outlets. Take some time to really think about what you complain about. Do you constantly judge others? If so, it's time to judge yourself. Do you complain about your partner's selfishness, laziness, thoughtlessness, or personality? If so, take some time to evaluate those negative qualities in yourself. Face your shadow and own up to your stuff. As you do, you will be more apt to be happier and more loving. You will be stressed less and more accepting of others. If someone accuses you of something, instead of flipping out, you will be able to calmly and politely address the situation and let it go.

You will feel free and freedom certainly feels amazing!

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