Normally when I feel tempted to tell someone what he or she ‘has to do’, or ‘think’, I stop myself and wonder if I may be projecting my own desire to control the world, my fears, and or insecurities.
Say for example, if I think that you should start a practice of ashtanga, then I turn it around and ask where in my life do I need to start a practice? If I think someone is obnoxious I turn it around and ask where AM I being obnoxious?
I never let one of those go without pondering if I am projecting. 100% of the time I am and I need to consider why the desire to control. Why the urge to be right? What is my deepest motivation in acting like this?
I learned that lesson well through my brother when in the late 1990’s I would go to Buenos Aires and think I could help by giving him money. It did not work. He was upset and perceived it as me ‘throwing’ him money. He asked me not to go and try to ‘save him’. He had a point. Who did I think I was thinking that my money would solve all his problems or pretending I understood exactly what his nervous system was going through. He is an incredible teacher to me.
Ever since that conversation I think twice before I attempt to give advise, money, or my opinion to anyone and never ever give it if unsolicited. At least I try, I may slip from time to time cause I like giving it. I am human.
Not long ago I did an exercise where I thought of a person I don’t particularly like, then wrote a list of all things I did not like about that person. The punch line of the exercise is, of course, to turn the list around, to see how all those things apply to me.
They are a part of me.
It does get better when I think of someone I like or admire, then I list why and those things also apply to me. Those also apply to me.
I find that projection, insecurity and a desire to control things is very present, is like a collective pain body. I see it in comments I have to delete from time to time where someone seems to think they know much better than me what is good or not good for me.
We see the world through our own nervous system after all, the trick is not trying to impose our views on others.
In the end, the real work is to live beyond the labels. To go beyond what I like or do not like. But that is work. It happens over years.
This is how I keep a check on Projections
1. Turning it around: When I think someone is silly, obnoxious, or hurtful I turn it around and see if I am being obnoxious, hurtful or silly. Sometimes I am sometimes I am not. This does not mean I let myself be run over by others. I need to keep grounded and speak up. I just make sure, whenever possible, to ensure I am not projecting my own whatever.
2. Running it through another mind: I call this a reality check and for it I try to find someone neutral, NOT someone that always agrees with me. That is the only way to get a reality check, it is the definition of it. My brother is very good on this front. I also have a friend from support groups, a brother of life you could say. They keeps it so real it hurts.
3. When I Know and notice the emphasis on me ‘knowing’ what another one needs to do, hear, accept, understand, then I stop. I remind myself that I know nothing or at most I know very little. I only offer my thoughts when solicited. This is a practice of course.
4. When I listen to someone I try to stop myself from going to my own experiences and thinking about how it applies to me. That takes me away from what the person is actually saying, from the present moment. It is a great exercise to remind open and in the space of ‘not knowing’. Magic happens when this space is created and maintained.
5. I understand I am not here to save the world. Whenever I learned a lesson in life, I only learned it in MY own terms, when I was ready to hear the message. I find that many times people have told me things that could have helped me but I did not listen. Listening even, is a very personal choice. We can only do it when ready. So if someone legitimately asks for advise, then I give it and let it go. They will hear or not hear the message they need.
6. When angry I stop. Keeping anger in check is basic for me. Many times I run it by James and he will say something like ‘you are giving way too much power to this situation’. He is usually right.
7. I trust that the processes are happening as they should, that things are as they should be.
So be it, so it is.
How do you do it? How do you keep projections in check?