How We Project Our Feelings onto Others

Published on: August 28, 2013

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“It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others.” Sydney J. Harris

Have you ever become upset with someone, your partner or a parent and later wondered if you are justified in your anger?

We often project our feelings onto others without our conscious awareness.

We often project our feelings onto others without our conscious awareness. Click To TweetDid something they say make you angry or frustrated?

You’ll be surprised, many times when you react negatively toward another person, you are not angry at them at all. In fact, you may be upset with yourself and not realise it.

This little phenomenon is called projection, and occurs when one person unconsciously transfers his or her feelings onto another. You project your feelings onto them instead of owning them.

For example, a woman has an insecurity about her looks and notices her boyfriend innocently chat to an attractive coworker. She yells at him for his rudeness, when she is insecure and taking her issues out on him. If she was secure, she would rationalise her boyfriend is being cordial to his coworker.

I know a woman who projects her feelings and does not realise her projections are ruining her life. She becomes mad since her partner has numerous friends, when she has little and takes out her anger on him. She becomes defensive when her partner discusses the slightest thing, because she has little confidence. The issues she complains of were her own issues. When she gained insight into how she projected, she looked inside herself to contend with her shadow.

I once heard of projection explained in terms of energy. Envision your chest full of different electrical outlets and each one is a different characteristic of you. The pleasant qualities are covered with cover plates, so there’s no chance of electricity running through them.

The qualities you dislike about yourself do not have cover plates and may have electricity run through them. When someone displays that characteristic in front of us, they plug into our uncovered outlet and let the energy flow.

For example, if you harbour unresolved anger, you attract other angry people into your life via the law of attraction. You might run into an angry coworker and tell everyone how dreadful that person is, but you suppress your own anger. You may not realise you are harbouring such anger.

You might say to your partner, “You are angry all the time! I can’t take it! Why can’t you be happy?” In reality, you are harbouring anger and feeling miserable.

We all have a shadow lurking deep inside us. It is the shadow that keeps us from owning up to our own mess. Sooner or later we are given the opportunity to face our shadow and let our junk go. Often, during a season of hardship or reflection we see negative emotions rise to the surface. “Wow, am I really angry? Selfish? Bitter? Prideful? Mean?”

We all have a shadow lurking deep inside us. It is the shadow that keeps us from owning up to our own mess. What I appreciate about relationships is they mirror each person’s inner world. When I look at you, I see me. When you look at me, you see you.

This is one reason many couples fight. They point fingers at each other’s character defects, pointing out qualities in themselves that drive them crazy.

They mirror each other.

It’s time to pull your plugs out of other people’s outlets and plug them into your own.

Face your shadow and own up to your stuff. As you do, you will be happier and more loving. Click To TweetConsider what you complain about. Do you judge others? If so, it’s time to judge yourself. Do you complain about your partner’s selfishness, laziness, thoughtlessness, or personality? If so, examine those negative qualities.

Face your shadow and own up to your stuff. As you do, you will be happier and more loving. You will be less stressed and more accepting of others. If someone accuses you of something, instead of fly off the handle, calmly discuss the situation and let it go.

You will feel free because freedom feels amazing.

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