We all carry a particular set of beliefs and perspectives based on our unique experiences. Your mind works like a movie projector. Other people are the ‘mirrors’ that reflect aspects of yourself and your experiences.
Learning to ‘catch’ your projections will help you know yourself better. It will also help you work through relationship struggles.
What is Projection?
Projection is a psychological way of relating where you ‘transfer’ your attributes onto others. This leads you to assume things of others when you’re the one projecting onto them.
Usually, projections happen unconsciously. For example…
It can be a judgement or expectation you carry for yourself that you transfer onto others.
You may judge someone for doing something you do as well but are ashamed of. OR, you judge someone for doing something you wish you could do, but you have rejected that part of yourself so much that you don’t allow yourself to express that way.
You can project figures from the past onto present-day people and situations. Part of your mind cannot distinguish the past from the present, so you may look to different people to fulfil familiar roles from your past.
A projection can also be placing your own emotional experience onto another. For example, you may be angry and reactive and assume others are feeling this way when that isn’t necessarily true.
How to Identify Projections
In a sense, you are constantly projecting. This is because you have only lived in your mind and body and have a limited perception of the world around you.
So when is it important to identify projections?
It’s most important to work through negative projections as they are blocks to truth & connection.
When you feel particularly ‘charged’ by someone, try to see through the illusion. If you notice jealousy, anger, harsh judgment, circulating thoughts, or comparison, look deeper.
How to See Through Your Projections
You might not always catch your projections in the moment. You can, however, get skilled at noticing when you are projecting and how to work through it.
When you catch yourself projecting onto someone, get curious.
You may see how this person represents an aspect of yourself that you reject or an aspect of yourself that has been repressed and wants to come out. You may notice they remind you of someone you had an intense relationship with in your past. The more you inquire within, the more clarity comes through.
You can find journal prompts to help you explore this below.
Growing and Healing Through Projections
Each time you catch a projection and see the underlying meaning, you have a chance to heal. You will realize where more self-acceptance is needed and see what parts of you want to be more expressed.
You can also dismantle the hidden expectations you place on others.
When you work through your projections, you become a safe, open space for people to be seen. People will be drawn to you because they can be their authentic selves in your presence and sense your acceptance.
Try this to understand your projections
Practice Curiosity Over Assumption
One of the most valuable abilities in growth work is curiosity and willingness. Instead of getting locked in with one frame of mind or assumption, ask yourself questions. Looking within and making changes in your life and relationships requires that you take ownership of your mind.
You may feel tempted to gossip when you’re projecting harshly onto someone. It feels more comfortable to blame others and make them wrong than it is to look at your inner relationship, but this prevents you from growth.
Instead of gossiping, try working with these journal prompts:
- Who might this person represent to me? Do they remind me of someone from my past? If yes, what is unresolved in that relationship?
- Do I act in any way like this person?
- Do I wish I could be more like this person and perhaps have shut those parts of myself down?
- Does it feel hard for me to own my emotional experience?
Alchemy is my signature program that helps you understand your projections, inner wounds, and belief systems that pose a block to connection.
This is the path towards creating depth, harmony and fulfilment in your life and relationships.
You won’t find another program like it.
You can read more about it here.