Am I Projecting? 7 Ways in Which I Check

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?


  1. Love this! I do many of the same things. One way I know I am projecting is when I don't want to do them;) I try to be mindful of choosing a person to run the thoughts by who will be objective, not just someone who will help feed my craziness!

  2. Kate, thanks for the comment, and yes! exactly!, I find that running it through a balanced mind is such an eye-opener! especially if they keep it real in their answer.

  3. Brilliant post, and sorely needed. Many thanks!

  4. Yep, great post Claudia. Same. I find many times that what i find irritating in others is actually in myself, ouch! The parts of myself that i don't want to own and what not. At times it can seem endless how much we project on others. But i also find it kinda funny too, at least if you can take a step back from it and observe it.

  5. Claudia this is a great post! I am sure you know that blog post where James, simply from reading my blog, called me out on being a projector!! And I most definitely am.

    I find that I'm always needing to tell someone "what to do" or "how to do it." What I've done to keep that in check is surround myself with a great support system of life/dating/relationship coaches, true friends...people who I can bounce things off of, much as you do James.

    Most importantly, I've started NOT talking about how someone's situation applies to me - so I can stay present.

    AND, I'm starting yoga!! I feel like that will help me on so many levels! Thanks for your inspiration!

  6. Thank you DeborahS

    Scott I hear you loud and clear, feel the ouch too, and yes quite a blessing when we can finally (sometimes) come out of denial and observe

    Rkcolbert, cool about the yoga! I find that, what you said "finally stopped talking about someone's situation applies to me' something really hard to do and yet so freeing once it happens, when it happens. Grateful for the comment, good read too on your blog :-)

  7. I love this post! So true and also so hard to consider our own part in the takes courage, maybe the same kind of courage it takes to drop back (at least for me)!

  8. This has nothing to do with this specific column but I wanted to say thanks for turning me on to Marianne Williamson. There's something good there for me I think.

  9. Ida, you are right.... the same kind...

    Anon, no problem, glad you like her, I have been helepd in more than one way by listening to her.

  10. Claudia, this is a wonderful post that was just the teaching that I needed. Thank you for caring enough to share your beautiful thoughts. Namaste!

  11. You are welcome Steven, glad you liked it!

  12. This is a lovely post Claudia. I also bought your book and am enjoying it now. Before I bought it I didn't realise you're from Argentina. It's a happy coincidence as I am there now, working on my yoga practice. I have a blog too where I'm documenting some of my journey. If you are interested it is here
    Anyway, thank you for this blog and the book. Victoria x

  13. Yes! that is a wonderful way to see our blind spots, I agree, and not easy to do :-)

  14. I love this post.  Out of 3 things, lopha, dosa, moha... I definitely have dosa, anger or hatred, the most.  most of the time I also find myself angry when I see something in other people that I dislike. and sometimes those things that I don't like are simply the same quality I  have that I dislike. 

  15. I know what you mean... ;-)

  16. xu for your post it helps us to be better, to act better to be concious !!


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