Ending the Projection of Our Shadow Upon Others
COMMENT: I found this source as one of the most informative books on learning about how we deal with our negative emotions and how to overcome our destructive deep internal feelings. Debbie Ford helps the reader to understand their "shadow" and guides them in overcoming its destructive tendency. By understanding how our negative projections draw similar energies to us we become empowered to clear those behaviour patterns that keep us from walking in our light.
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The Dark Side of the Light Chasers
Projection is a fascinating phenomenon they failed to teach most of us about in school. It is an involuntary transfer of our own unconscious behavior onto others, so it appears to us that these qualities actually exist in the other people. When we have anxiety about our emotions or unacceptable parts of our personalities, we attribute these qualities -as a defense mechanism- to external objects and other people. When we have little tolerance for others, for example, we are likely to attribute the sense of our own inferiority to them. Of course, there's always a "hook" that invites our projection. Some imperfect quality in other people activates some aspect of ourselves that wants our attention. So whatever we don't own about ourselves we project onto other people.
We see only that which we are. I like to think of it in terms of energy. Imagine having a hundred different electrical outlets on your chest. Each outlet represents a different quality. The qualities we acknowledge and embrace have cover plates over them. They are safe: no electricity runs through them. But the qualities that are not okay with us, which we have not yet owned, do have a charge. So when others come along who act out one of these qualities they plug right into us. For example, if we deny or are uncomfortable with our anger, we will attract angry people into our lives. We will suppress our own angry feelings and judge people whom we see as angry. Since we lie to ourselves about our own internal feelings, the only way we can find them is to see them in others. Other people mirror back our hidden emotions and feelings, which allows us to recognize and reclaim them.
We instinctively draw back from our own negative projections. It's easier to examine what we are attracted to than what repels us. If I am offended by your arrogance it is because I'm not embracing my own arrogance. This is either arrogance that I am now demonstrating in my life and not seeing, or arrogance that I deny I am capable of demonstrating in the future. If I am offended by arrogance I need to look closely at all areas of my life and ask myself these questions: When have I been arrogant in the past? Am I being arrogant now? Could I be arrogant in the future? It would certainly be arrogant of me to answer no to these questions without really looking at myself, or without asking others if they have ever experienced my being arrogant. The act of judging someone else is arrogant, so obviously all of us have the capacity to be arrogant. If I embrace my own arrogance, I won't be upset by someone else's. I might notice it, but it won't affect me. My arrogance outlet will have a cover plate on it. It is only when you're lying to yourself or hating some aspect of yourself that you'll get an emotional charge from someone else's behavior.
We project our own perceived shortcomings onto others. We say to others what we should be saying to ourselves. When we judge others we are judging ourselves. If you constantly beat yourself up with negative thoughts, you will either beat up on the people around you - verbally, emotionally, or physically - or you will beat up on yourself by destroying some area of your own life. What you do and what you say is no accident. There are no accidents in the life that you create. In this holographic world, everyone is you and you are always talking to yourself.
As long as we deny the existence of certain traits in ourselves, we continue to perpetuate the myth that others have something we don't possess. When we admire someone, it is an opportunity to find yet another aspect of ourselves. We have to take back our positive projections as well as our negative projections. We have to remove the plugs we've attached to others, turn them around, and plug them back into ourselves. Until we are able to retrieve our projections it is impossible for us to see our full potential and experience the totality of who we really are.
There is an old saying, "It takes one to know one." We see in others what we like and don't like in ourselves. If we embrace these parts of ourselves we will be able to see others as they are, not as we see them through our cloud of projection. There is another saying that the three greatest mysteries of the world are air to birds, water to fish, and man unto himself. We are able to see everything in front of us in the outside world. All we have to do is open our eyes and look around. We cannot see ourselves. We need a mirror to see ourselves. You are my mirror and I am yours.
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