Projections Aren’t a Negative Thing

Our unseen soul-being grows with us —it is our holiest wholeness.

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Exploring and processing emotions and the psychology underneath, is a passion of mine. In this blog post I challenged myself to understand a little more about projections and why we have projections and how they can help and teach us. Being human is definitely multifaceted and there’s this tremendous force purposefully guiding us to be our truest self.

Our unseen soul-being grows with us —it is our holiest wholeness.

We want to be seen and appreciated by those we care for and respect — this is natural. It feels good to be acknowledged and complimented.

However, when we base our entire self-worth on receiving a reaction — and we don’t get it — we may feel deeply hurt and this can create all sorts of reactions from anger, resentment to demeaning ourselves because of the outcome. The source of this hurt, is most likely a projection.

Projections are an invitation to a premier movie — featuring YOU.

Think of a movie theater and the reaction you are having is being shown before you on a giant screen. While watching this movie (projection) ask yourself, how do you feel? What do you feel? What’s your thought-process? Blind rage? Tummy woes? Flat and rejected? Depressed? Teary? Who or what gets under your skin and you just can’t shake it?

All of these reactions are delicious signals asking and often repeating to be seen, felt, witnessed and to allow the healing to begin — not by that person or situation which you are projecting onto — but by you.

Here’s a personal example…

When I’m not seen for what I’m offering, I tend to try harder. I tell myself you must do better. I’ve got to get an A+++. I think, I’m not doing enough and of course that’s the reason I’m not getting noticed because I’m not good enough. Therefore, I’ll compliment more. I’ll give a better reply. I’ll write more. Or I won’t respond at all and shutdown. At this stage I’ve given up and feel defeated.

Bottom line: I’ve expended an incredible amount of energy, time, and obsessive worry and have turned myself inside out in hopes of getting even a tiny sense of approval from said situation by projecting onto them and way, way outside of myself.

Here’s my analysis: Because I’m starved for compassion, recognition and love from an ancient well that rarely got approval and wasn’t told that I am already complete by being me.

I can kindly laugh at myself for how many times I’ve repeated this scenario.

Laughing is actually a ‘good’ thing BECAUSE it is the ability to distance oneself from the situation. There’s a playful kindness at seeing my projected self and integrating her with compassion and love. I am able to have a healthy detachment while sorting through this process.

The process of projections is ongoing. Projections are the unveiling of what we can’t see being seen. The stronger the conduit (relationship) is, the stronger the reaction. Furthermore, we rarely can see projections because they consume us.

We surf through the waves of our projections as an intelligent guide to untangle what is keeping us glued to a surfboard stuck on land. When most likely we want to be free of relying on someone else to give us what we truly need.

Shit, damn that’s so cool and not to bypass or minimize this process because it is also difficult.

Self Exploration can lend itself to some helpful questions:

What is underneath that hurt? How far back does it go? Who was the first person, that you deeply cared for, and you really wanted them to see you, but they didn’t?

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

In therapy, if the above happens it is called transference. A person is transferring their intense feelings onto their therapist as their projection.

Because we are human the therapist can also have this experience with a client. This is called a countertransference. The client’s story has triggered a former unresolved issue and therefore a strong transference/reaction happens in the therapist — seasoned or not — this really happens, and it is another reason why therapist need their own regular therapy, mentoring, and/or clinical supervision.

Projections aren’t a negative thing; it’s human and rich with information.

Like how our dreams give us symbols, projections also give us an opportunity to explore what we can’t see but deeply feel. When we listen and unknot the projections before us, we might even begin to see the somatic (body) reactions during this transfusion of an energetic association, and it will help us to understand our health symptoms.

And with this last thought, I’ll lean into Carl Gustav Jung’s profound and poetic expression on projections:

“The starry vault of heaven is in truth the open book of cosmic projection, in which are reflected the mythologems, i.e., the archetypes. In this vision astrology and alchemy, the two classical functionaries of the psychology of the collective unconscious, join hands.”

Thank you for joining me.

Carolyn Riker is a poet, writer and author. She has two books of poetry: Blue Clouds and This is Love. In addition to writing, she has a private practice as a highly sensitive mental health therapist. If you would like to read more of her words, follow her on Facebook at Carolyn Riker, MA, LMHC.

Dreamer. Poet. HSP. Empath. Licensed MH Therapist. 3 books published. 3X Top Writer. Love espressos & my chunky cat.

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