Projections are powerful. They aren’t an obvious fact of life, but their role is monumental. What are projections? How do they affect relationships?
More importantly, how do projections create and affect your reality? Let’s dive in.
Projections Filter Your Present With The Past
Every one of you reading this article has a past. Some individuals have experienced more painful pasts than others. And yet, our past has a strong effect on how we view our present—especially our viewpoints and understanding of it.
Just Read This Sentence
As you’re reading this very sentence, you are projecting what my tone might sound like. What expressions I might be using. What inflection, pitch, etc. It’s that voice in the background of your mind that is engaging itself, combining with the visual aspect of the words in this sentence…with imagination.
Imagination Plays A Role In Our Projections
Our mind is a balanced organ that can express itself in both negative and positive thoughts. Refer to this post.
Some of us have more negative thought habits. And this was purely meant for a means of survival. Negative thoughts can sometimes give a dose of reality when our thoughts get too whimsical.
And since imagination is an expression of one’s mind, we use imagination to fill in the blanks. Imagination projects what might be and what could be.
Projections In Dating
When we date a complete stranger, the excitement and thrill of what could potentially be is intoxicating. We begin the process of imagining what experiences we might share, what they might feel like right by our side, how their passion feels next to you, and how they enliven all your senses.
We become driven by these projections—fantasies—which often make us blind to the initial red-flags that we automatically make excuses for.
Projections In Relationships
Once a serious and committed relationship occurs, we hold onto the idea that this person we’ve welcomed into our life, will uphold the standards we’ve been impressed upon with.
We look to them to validate the experiences of love within us.
And when they fail to commit and live up to that standard, when they fail to live up to the projection of a “perfect and ideal partner”, we begin to cast shadow and doubt on the relationship. Even worse, sometimes ourselves.
Projections In Communication
But this all reveals a very true essence on the basis of communication. The words we hear or read are entangled with our projections as we receive them.
We might take an innocent and well-meaning expression, and devise it to a dark place. This is often seen in intimate relationships, where a partner takes to extreme offense something which was said…even if it was meant to be loving.
There are cases where because of a person’s struggle to be loved, everything expressed their way is seen as a very personal attack.
Because “Language Constructs Reality”
When I say the word “pain”, what comes to your mind? To what degree and intensity? And is there a way to measure what you imagined and associated with the word, is exactly the same as the next person’s?
This is the curiosity of the study of consciousness. There is no way to know that what we express between each other—through language—is the same felt inner-experience.
We can agree and assume to understand what we are saying. But it may not be the exact same experience: measurable, empirical, or otherwise.
Just Look At Color
Pick a red object in your vicinity. Appreciate its shade, hue, and dimensions. But how do we know that the next person who views this same object is seeing the exact same red you are? There are no red laser beams shooting into your eyes, traveling into your brain, where a researcher can find “red” in your brain.
The process of expression is simply this: we are attempting, to the best of our abilities, to get each other’s brains firing and wiring in similar ways—that becomes what we know as mutual “understanding”.
Back To Projections And Relationships
When a partner expresses “I love you”, is there a way to measure that their love is the exact same as yours? What would that look like?
This mystery is why we spend so much time putting endless expressions of love. We are all trying to understand the version of it, that we each carry inside of ourselves.
What Is Expressed To You, Activates What’s Already Within
Remember the key advice: how others treat you is a representation of who they are, how you act or react is a representation of who you are.
When something is expressed your way, good or bad, the severity and meanings of it will be compounded with what’s already going on inside you…and what you have already gone through.
It’s Why You Can’t Force A Horse To Drink
You can scream the words “I love you” endlessly to someone who desires your love and really mean it. But if they have an inability to be receptive to love (usually due to past traumas), no amount of love can bring them to feel what you want them to feel.
Furthermore, they would question the validity and sincerity of it constantly. Only because there are blockages from allowing them to feel that love within them rise to the surface.
“We Don’t See Things As They Are, We See Them As We Are.” -Anaïs Nin
All of life is perspective. And perspective is a choice. When we are born, most of the perspective for the first half of our life is shaped and formed from others around us: parents, caregivers, friends, teachers, etc.
These aren’t really who “we are”. They are simply projections passed on to us.
Some may never get to the other half, but for those that do, they begin to question their perspective. They begin to question their set of personal beliefs and sort through what feels authentic to them. And what doesn’t.
Because “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words”
Why is this? Why is a picture worth a thousand words? It’s not the picture changes constantly, but the picture has different meanings depending on who is looking at it.
It is the individual’s projections which filter the picture into a set of symbols and meanings.
Life itself is your own personal masterpiece you are creating along the way, and it will look different to any and every person who knows it. Including you.
Be vitally aware of your projections. You may have been carrying many which were never “your own”, but simply projections passed onto you from childhood. And projections tend to influence our decisions and feelings—especially how we react to certain challenging situations.
Especially situations that require us to reach in deep, and allow us to discover and rediscover who we are.
Whether a sentence or expression you say out loud or write, or receive from another, pause to ask yourself: “Why does this make me feel the way it does?”
And remember, you are always a beautiful creation always on the journey of discovering itself.
Stay and be well,