I’ve noticed that even though the word “projection” is thrown around freely along with some of Freud’s other classic defense mechanisms, such as “denial,” it seems to still be widely misunderstood.
Understanding projection has been central to my own healing and also in my work with others. If we all understood this slick form of avoidance the world would be much more straightforward and drama free:) Here’s a description of projection that I wrote to try to shed some light on the shadows that tend to make us feel crazy:
The psyche is such that anything out of our awareness is projected outward. Periodically, something comes along that resonates with the contents of our buried self and we become flooded with that feeling. Not being aware that these qualities are actually within us, we attribute them entirely to the person who activated them. Sometimes it is our dark side that gets activated and other times it is our light. Either way, any time we have a strong negative reaction toward someone, or desperately want to be like them, we are experiencing a buried piece of ourselves. Once we commit to health and well-being, each of these projections becomes an opportunity for integration.
So the next time you are overcome with envy or think that another person is despicable, check in with yourself and see if there might be any shred of their behavior that you have put out of your awareness. Here’s a secret to know if you’re projecting: If you feel highly charged about the person or situation, it means your simple observation has become an opportunity for integration.
If you make integrating your projections a part of your daily life, you will not only free yourself to experience more inner peace, but others will no longer have the power to push your buttons, because these highly explosive energetic land mines will no longer exist!
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