A woman lived near the forest. She would look at the forest and say to herself that it looks really scary in there. The forest looked like a dark and scary place. It felt like a dark and scary place to her. She assumed that the fear was coming from what she was looking at. This is projection
She would see people go for walks alone on the trails and wonder, “What the hell are they thinking. It’s looks scary in there.”
The question is, were the emotions of fear really from the forest?
For her, she was certain they were. However, the woman took a journey of emotional healing and now she loves the forest and sees beauty in there. So things were not at all how she believed them to be.
The emotions inside her were dark and scary. She would look at anything and feel scared. She was afraid to drive. She was afraid of social settings and meeting new people. She was afraid of sharing about herself, and her past for fear of being judged. She was afraid of being a bad mom, or not having her children turn out “perfectly.” She was afraid her husband would leave her or that his business would collapse and they would be on the street.
The common denominator in these scenarios were her emotions, but she was so busy avoiding triggers that she didn’t notice the pattern.
Projection and Blaming Makes Us Feel Better About Ourselves
The woman had fear and anxiety, and her mind projected all these scenarios and outside things to be the source. This projection of the cause of her emotions made the fear appear rational. If the forest or the grocery store was a scary place, then she was perfectly fine feeling all that anxiety.
Imagine the other scenario. The forest, grocery store, and yoga class are perfectly safe places and she feels anxious about going there? Well, then SHE, has a problem. SHE has fear in side her and that fear is irrational. Well, then that would be a problem and she might have to deal with it. But if all the places outside are scary, and other people are scary, then her fear is just a good reminder and protection of what to look out for. She felt so much better about herself while perceiving other people and environments as the problem.
Projecting the cause of our emotions to be something or someone outside of us makes us feel better. We don’t have to look inward, nothing is wrong with us, and we can feel we are perfectly fine. We don’t look into the dark and scary feelings that are inside of us. It is a pleasant form of denial.
The downside is that you are continually reinforcing unnecessary fears, jealousy, anger, etc. You will never find a place or a person that feels safe. You are also likely to isolate your self from other people and this can lead to other problems like depression.
Looking Inward at Your Emotions
The forest looks dark and scary to the woman because her emotions felt dark and scary. She was afraid to go inside herself and explore her memories and clear up the false beliefs and fears that they held. Since she could feel these emotions, but wasn’t willing to look inward, she mistakenly projected that the emotions were coming from outside.
The woman went on a journey of emotional healing. She dealt with sexual abuse from her childhood, fears of what others thought of her, and projections of catastrophic outcomes. Much of it was through the belief system work in the Self Mastery course, Releasing Emotions Exercise, and also included EMDR work, group yoga to nurture the feeling of belonging, acupuncture for her nervous system, and stopped pretending to others. This included having conversations with her husband and children about what was going on for her.
In sharing the truth of her fears and abusive history she found they were understanding, supportive, and compassionate. It also helped them change their expectations. The family’s shift in expectations helped reduce frustrations and judgmental responses. In the journey of emotional healing the truth and honest helped everyone.
Now she goes to all those places, and she looks inside herself with ease. In her journey she still finds painful memories, hurts, and anger, and fears, but they don’t overwhelm her anymore. She is not afraid of going into the forest within herself. She is aware that they are part of her beliefs and memories from the past that she has been carrying through time. She has learned to change and heal them instead of being a victim to them. She doesn’t believe her stories when they try to convince her that her emotions are entirely from someone or something outside herself. She takes responsibility for what she feels and that gives her an opening to have power over changing them.
The Forest Doesn’t Look Scary Now
In the beginning it was hard to look inside. Looking inside was a dark and scary place where she had buried many painful emotional memories. It isn’t anymore. And now, the forest nearby, it looks beautiful to her and it feels lovely when she takes a walk in there by herself all the time.
She is still projecting that the forest is beautiful and lovely. With more time the woman will gain more awareness and she will realize that the beauty and love she feels is herself, and the forest is just a place to reflect what she feels.
for practical methods to stop blaming others, take responsibility for your emotions, and gain control over them. check out the free sessions of the Self Mastery Course.3