Owning Your Own Shadow
How many times have you found yourself upset over something someone else did or said but if you were truly honest with yourself you would have to admit that you have done and said similar things? Perhaps you will recall sayings such as “When you point your finger at someone there are three pointing back at you” or “If you spot it you got it”?
This is what is known as projection. Projection is when we see in others, or project onto others, what we don’t want to see in ourselves. It is much easier to call someone else out on their being selfish or self-centered. When I direct my anger toward a person yet have no idea why I’m doing it, I just know deep down inside that they probably deserve it – more than likely I am projecting.
Practicing self-awareness is one way to understand when we might be projecting. Or a good friend, family member or coworker might call you out on what you are doing – kind of like suddenly being taken by the shoulders and being given a few good shakes to snap you back into awareness only to realize that you were casting something upon another that you didn’t necessarily want to see in yourself. Owning our shadows can be an ugly, messy business. However in doing so we tend to become a more whole and sound person.
The next time you find yourself flying off the handle at someone or passing judgment under your breath take a moment to look in the mirror. If you are in fact projecting then you are really only looking at your own reflection.
Posted by Thaddeus Heffner, LMFT – July 9, 2013