Are You a Projector?
A projector machine takes something small and enlarges it massively. So too, like the projector we may take a character trait of another person, which may be small and insignificant, and blow it out of all proportion. We react in this way with blame, dislike or disgust.
Audio – Are You a Projector? (Music by Cafe Del Maar – Vol Trece II)
Projection, or ‘blame shifting’, is the human tendency to dump our rubbish onto others. We have a trait or tendency within ourselves that causes us pain and we throw the blame for that pain onto the other person.
For example if I blame my friend for not accompanying me or spending time with me and I wallow away in my own sorrow, it means I am not befriending myself, and I am expecting something from the other that they cannot deliver. The friend may have many reasons for not being available, but for the person who is doing the projecting, it feels certain that their friend has abandoned them!
Projection was conceptualized by Freud. He considered that in projection, “…thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings that cannot be accepted as one’s own are dealt with by being placed in the outside world and attributed to someone else.” (Wikipedia)
If you think about it, we cannot react to something in someone else unless we identify with it ourselves. Why would I react in a negative way to needy people? Only because I have a neediness in myself. Why don’t I like rudeness in other people? Again because I have the ability to be pretty rude myself at times! Why do I feel uncomfortable around poor people? Only because I fear poverty for my own self.
In the case of marriage, to give another example, one partner begins to accuse the other of being unfaithful, when that one themselves has thoughts of infidelity or cheating. The bully may project his inner feelings of vulnerability onto his victim and feel a reclaim of power as he beats him up. In a more positive manner, the mother may project hope in her daughter of becoming something she could not have become herself, or the teacher may project excellence in his student – something he did not himself achieve.
How often do we point the finger at the other when, at the same time three are pointing back at ourselves. As we blame others for the way we feel, we are trying to absolve ourselves of the responsibility. Blame is the opposite of taking responsibility and blaming others indicates a lack of personal power.
As I blame the other, I am handing my power over to them. If I say ‘you make me unhappy’, what I am also saying subconsciously is, ‘only you can make me happy!’ And that is surely not the case!
As I blame and criticize, these thoughts and feelings disempower me. I become a victim. I do not feel in charge of my life. And if I am not in charge of my life then who is?
Why is it that we need to project in the first place? The answer lies in us, in our insecurities. When we do not have feelings of our own self worth, then we try to make ourselves appear prettier, or better, or richer or whatever… by throwing our negative feelings about ourselves onto someone else to make them look worse.
We only project when we can’t deal with what is going on inside of ourselves. But with meditation and cultivation of a little self worth, we are in a much better position to face ourselves and do the work that we need to do.
Once I am in full view of all my value and worth, once I take full responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and happiness, then I no longer need to project anything out there.
I need to remind myself once more: I am totally in charge of how I feel or don’t feel. Only I can make that difference, no one else. I am the author of my life.
It’s time… to stop projecting and to take charge of our thoughts and feelings and happiness once more. Stop blaming, start taking responsibility and you will never need to use the ‘projector’ ever again!
Meditation Experience (Music by Chinmaya Dunster – Full Moon)
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK