HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF PROJECTION?
It’s Not Me, It’s You: Projection
What is projection?
Has someone ever told you to stop projecting your feelings onto them? While projecting is often reserved for the world of psychology, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the term used in arguments and heated discussions when people feel attacked.
Projection refers to unconsciously taking unwanted emotions or traits you don’t like about yourself and attributing them to someone else.
Why do some people project? And is there anything that can help someone to stop projecting?
Like a lot of aspects of human behavior, projection comes down to self-defense. Projecting something you don’t like about yourself onto someone else protects you from having to acknowledge parts of yourself you don’t like.
Humans tend to feel more comfortable seeing negative qualities in others rather than in themselves.**
“Projection does what all defense mechanisms are meant to do: keep discomfort about ourselves at bay and outside our awareness.’’ The people who are most prone to projecting are those who don’t know themselves very well, even if they think they do.
People who “feel inferior and have low self-esteem” can also fall into the habit of projecting their own feelings of not being good enough onto others, racism and homophobia as examples of this type of projection on a broader scale.
On the other hand, people who can accept their failures and weaknesses — and who are comfortable reflecting on the good, bad, and ugly within — tend not to project. “They have no need, as they can tolerate recognizing or experiencing the negatives about themselves.”