Understanding Our Projections
I was recently told by a close friend, with eyes already prepared for push-back, something about myself that, though I already knew, was enlightening on an entirely new level of awareness.
It wasn’t anything mean, rude or offensive. She simply told me that I was someone who doesn’t like to show weakness and that I always want to appear strong.
Oops, here I was thinking that others actually perceived me as strong, not as trying to be strong.
Busted, I guess.
To hear a fact about myself that was outside of my own self-conceptualization, and to realize that this noted quality is so overtly obvious to at least one other person, put my actions, choices and lifestyle into a new (much needed) perspective.
Perception of the self is entirely skewed by the unique position you have inside of your own body and mind. Though an outside perception is equally misaligned, the merging of the two is the only means by which you can ever truly know the self. You have to come to terms with yourself insofar as you are able to know and accept yourself, but you must also take into account the lenses outside of the self which perceive the self from entirely different perspectives.
We’ve known the importance of perspective since we were kids, since we looked at a building in the distance to see it as a tiny Lego-like fixture reaching into the sky only to stand just outside of its doors and realize it is little less than an urban mountain. We might not, at first, have understood why the building did this, or the significance that distance has both visually and spatially, but we were aware that there was a difference in that building when we were six miles away versus four feet away.
No matter how open or non-judgmental you are, no matter how aware you are of your misperceptions, there is still no way to escape the fact that you are, at any given time, perceiving the world from one particular angle and no more. You may be able to imagine or project what an object, person or situation might look like from another viewpoint, but essentially you are only ever perceiving from one place at one time.
And though yes, you can get scientific on me and pull out arguments based on quantum physics, insofar as we are human and insofar as the capacity of our human minds are concerned, neither our bodies nor our minds can consciously be in two places at once.
For those who can hold an impression in their minds aptly, and for those whose memory and conscience are strong, they may be able to have a less skewed vision of themselves and of those around them. But even these people need reminding, need perspective too. To ignore the insight given freely to you by another is to ignore the stark truth of your own imperfection, which is hard to accept—true—but would you be human if you weren’t imperfect? And if those who you surround yourself with don’t love you in your imperfection, then surround yourself with different people.
With grace and thankfulness you have to take the opportunity to learn about yourself, to understand your actions, mannerisms and modes of projection in the light of a different hue. I have nothing but respect for the person who was able to remind me with confidence and strength that we are all human; we are all imperfect and there’s a strength in recognizing our own weaknesses.
…Just a few points that often need reminding, and I’m glad to have been reminded.
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Ed: B. Bemel
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