Turning Projections into Reflections and Cultivating Self-Compassion

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Image by NINE KOEPFER / Unsplash

“Stop projecting!”

Has anyone ever said that to you? Have you ever said this to someone?  It can be startling to hear that, mostly because there is usually truth behind it coming from the projector. If you’ve read anything about the ego or your subconscious you might have stumbled upon “projecting.”

Spiritual Psychologist Billy Lee Meyers, Jr. defines projection as “what happens to us when we experience out of balance emotional reactions to a person or situation, then blame the person for our reaction.”

Sound familiar? Yeah, me too.

After reading Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” he spends a great deal of time sharing how things we do not like in others are the same things we possess within us.  It’s like looking at a mirror image of ourselves and what we are agitating against is what is being reflected from our subconscious. Usually it is a shadow side characteristics that we try to keep hidden to the outer world as much as we. Like our impatience in traffic. Our stubbornness. Our lack of generosity. 

As an eternal optimist, I want to focus on the positive side of projecting because it does not get a lot attention.

My dear friend Billy, one day expanded on the definition showing me that projections can be positive as well. You see, what we admire in other people is also what we possess within ourselves. Being able to see the positive attributes and traits of another means that we have inherent resonance within us. That we too, have a well full of those traits and a deep capacity to be generous, kind, a good listener, patient, soft, playful, funny, altruistic.

This was a complete game changer for me. I hope it is for you.

Admiring someone else means, we can admire those qualities or attributes within us. Even if they are not as pronounced in us or we do not practice them as often. It’s enough to have the knowledge that those attributes that you admire in others, exist within you. When you have the deep and truthful knowledge of that, you can then begin to bring more of those attributes to the surface of your being.

It’s important that as we continue on our journey through self-development that we spend just as much time on the things we love about ourselves, as we do on the things we want to change.

If you find yourself saying things like:

“I love how kind he is with people.”

“I really like what a good listener she is.”

“I really admire how much patience he has.”

“She is such a good mom.”

“She’s so playful.”

“He is really organized and talented.”

As you verbalize or think those things remember they are true about you otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see it in others. If you want to grow any of those attributes–first acknowledge it is already within you. Then mindfully practice giving, having patience, being more playful, listening better or whatever it is. Practice growing those positive attributes within you,  as you would your favorite muscle group.

What you project is also reflected within you. What a gorgeous, beautiful reflection it is!

Comment below or join us in The Garden to discuss what positive projections you’ve been able to recognize within you and others!

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