What is projection and why is it so important?
The definition of projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others: for example, a person who is habitually intolerant may consistently accuse other people of being intolerant.
It incorporates blame shifting. A person who is habitually rude will constantly accuse other people of being rude. A persistently angry person will accuse others of always being angry.
Projection tends to come to the fore in normal people more at times of personal or political crisis. It can be seen in all of us in varying degrees, depending on our nature and personality.
A bully may project his/her own feelings of vulnerability onto the target(s) of the bullying activity. Despite the fact that a bully’s typically denigrating behaviour is aimed at the bully’s target(s), the true source of such negativity is ultimately almost always found in the bully’s own sense of personal insecurity or vulnerability.
Such aggressive projections of displaced negative emotions can occur anywhere from micro-level of interpersonal relationships to macro-level of international politics.
All projections provoke counter-projection when the object is unconscious of the quality projected upon it by the subject. Thus, what is unconscious in the recipient will be projected back onto the projector, precipitating a form of mutual acting out.
It is important to understand projection as it will help you understand yourself and those around you. Once you understand, you see yourself and others doing it regularly.
Suppressed feelings can be projected onto other people or events. We project our feelings onto others and blame them, rather than take responsibility for our own feelings.
We can assign responsibilities onto other people and situations, thinking that they have caused our current situation. What is really happening is that others are bringing up our own suppressed feelings and emotions.
Once you become aware of this, you soon start to see yourself and others doing this. The feelings are in us already; the way we view the world, our life experiences, all colour the way we see things.
Our feelings and emotions have been waiting for an opportunity to be expressed; we get ourselves into situations, whereby this can happen. We are viewing our world in a distorted manner. We do not see reality as it really is.
If you have suppressed anger you will see others as making you angry, you blame them for your anger. You will also see anger in others, even when you are not feeling anger yourself.
We project our subconscious energies onto the outside world, creating our own experience.
It is like looking in a mirror. The reflection you see and feel is what you are actually feeling and believe.
The person you are projecting your feelings onto, will more than likely be projecting their own feelings onto you. Once you realise you are doing this and others are too, things become much clearer.
You can see others projecting their feelings and emotions onto you. If your feelings and emotions were cleared as they arose you would not be so adversely affected by others, you would be less judgmental.
Projection and understanding why we project can also help us learn about ourselves. Feelings must be experienced in order for them to clear. Projection is the minds way of clearing our stored feelings.
Stored Feelings and Emotions
We continue to store emotional energy, instead of releasing it. This happens because we deny our true feelings; we suppress them without even realising it.
We need to recognise our feelings as they arise and actually feel them and then we can let them go, instead of storing them away in our subconscious and hoping they will magically disappear. This only causes problems later.
This is why we only see what we want to see, always avoiding anything that could release our true feelings in a normal manner. It’s all part of denying our true feelings.
This does not mean that everyone should go around shouting and getting angry with everyone. Actually accepting your feelings and understanding them is the best way to let them go.
Negative and positive energy can both be repressed. By trying to protect ourselves from negative feelings, we can also cause our positive feelings to become blocked.
We have layers and layers of stored feelings, when feelings arise and they are actually felt, we can be releasing emotions and feelings from way back, so try not to get too caught up in the reason you are feeling them at the moment, it could be related to many separate events and circumstances from the past, that have built up over time, the most important thing to do is to release the feelings without too much analysis.
We can hate ourselves and project this hatred onto others. To ultimately love yourself you need to deal with all your feelings, however bad or good. It is the only way you can accept yourself as you are.
If you have hateful feelings about yourself, resisting, denying and trying to change them will only cause more suppression. Listening with your heart or actually feeling your emotions rather than suppressing them will lead you in the direction of self-love.
Our subconscious is trying to help us, it listens to our negative thoughts and they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Learning to love ourselves and release our feelings and emotions is not easy and takes a lot of hard work and soul searching.
When we accept our feelings, rather than suppress them, we will learn how to love ourselves fully and we will stop projecting our emotions onto other people.
You must accept your feelings, however painful they are.
Techniques can be used to help with this. ‘Emotional Clearing’ a book by John Ruskan, can greatly help anyone who needs this kind of help. It explains techniques and methods that can really help clear stored emotions and feelings and help you move on. This book was the main source of information when writing this article.
Clearing our stored feelings and emotions, will ultimately help us all to understand each other better and communicate more effectively.
This has to be better than projecting our own stored feelings onto each other, causing disharmony and confusion.
By Julie Alexander, HumansAreFree.com
About the author: I realized what was really going on in the world in 2013. Since then I have been trying to make sense of it all and help others along the way. I am still learning more each day. You can visit my Facebook here and my website here.