Hi, Eric Schleien here, I am writing this book called Principles of Power largely inspired from a dear friend and mentor of mine John King. I’m going to share an idea from there in a slightly moderated way, because I find it incredibly ubiquitous and damaging. The damage may just be caused by a misidentification.
People often project personal problems in an impersonal way
Sometimes we interact with someone and they exhibit a response that seems out of place. Or they will accuse you of something that doesn’t seem to be present or true. This can lead to some puzzling conclusions or emotions.
Now, granted, there are times when you may not be sensitive to something that the other person is pointing out and it’s true. But if you feel like generally you have an elevated degree of common sense – which I’m assuming you do because are reading a post of how to live better now – then you may not be the problem.
People get stuck in their head
When people struggle with their own problems that are going on in their heads often they will project it onto the world around them. And if you are in the line of fire you may get hit with some unsettled inner problems. We then may think that we did something wrong or need to change something we are doing. Not necessarily so. We may just need to change our perspective of the problem. If we can get out of our heads and in touch with where the other person is coming from, we may find that the whole ‘issue’ is really their own.
Projecting their problems onto you need not be responded to apologetically. Often giving them the perspective they want will most efficiently diffuse the discomfort. It won’t necessarily open up the ability for mediation or resolve, but it will answer the issue on your end. Mediation depends on the willingness of both parties to recognize faults they may have expressed, in this type of case it’s rare.
We see the world from the inside out
The funny thing about this idea is that it’s totally experiential. When we become sensitive to a problem we have all of a sudden we see everyone else who has it. Or even worse we’ll attribute it to people that just exhibit some signs of it, without actually having it.
We see our whole world from our personal experience. So when we become cognizant of a negative pattern we tend to think that it’s a shared experience, which may or may not be the case. And then we start chalking up all problems to our own issues.
Understand their problems and yours
So learning about hopefully will help in two ways. Firstly when you are on the receiving end of a projection that someone can’t get over, you can understand how best to relate to the situation knowing it’s not your fault. Second, you can learn better how to not project your own problems onto the world around you.
The more you think about this concept the more you’ll find the truth of the matter. People everywhere have unresolved pain they have not dealt with. That will lead to projections and carryover.
So always try to take into account when you are being accused the person just may not have dealt with their own issues yet. And hopefully it may help you interact with people while you are dealing with your own issues.