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Relationships: Reflections or Projections?

Freud was right about his concept of defense mechanisms! The sensitive ego has many strategies to minimize pain, not the least of which is to project one’s thoughts and feelings onto others; realizations that we find annoying about ourselves but would rather not admit. Interestingly, when people are caught “projecting negativity” they come back and say, “No, it’s just an observation!” Freud called that comment rationalization (another defense mechanism). Relationships provide an incredible mirror into our egos…if we let them. Finding fault with others, from noticing idiosyncrasies and irritating mannerisms to outright prejudice and racism offers insights into our own psyche, if we can truly be honest with ourselves. Interestingly, we tend to see these faults in others when we are ungrounded, less than centered and basically stressed. Do the images you see in your relationships offer a reflection of what’s really there, or a projection of what you have placed there? What lens do you choose to see the world through?

Stress Tip for the Day:
Stop and take another look at those you are involved with (e.g., friends, family co-workers, neighbors, etc.) Honestly ask yourself, what is it in that person that really bothers you and then ask yourself, how is it that you can identify this? The old adage, it takes one to know one may prevail. As noted many times before, meditation is one of the best ways to “domesticate the ego” and come back to that place of inner peace. Feeling grounded and centered one’s perspective tends to focus on the positive and the beauty in life. When the mind is calm, the mirror images offer the best reflection of what is really there, rather than a distortion of reality.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
It may have been a while since you took Psych 101, so perhaps a refresher is in order: Here are some links for more information on your biggest nemesis: The Ego.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

http://changingminds.org/explanations/behaviors/coping/defense_mechanisms.htm

Quote for the Day:

“Vanity inclines us to find faults any where rather than in ourselves.” — Samuel Johnson

Photo for the Day:
While in Ireland on a photo expedition with a theme of Castles, I came across Kylemore Castle, now known as Kylemore Abby in County Mayo, Ireland. It was built by a man as a present for his wife, whom he adored. She only lived a few years after it was finished and over time it changed hands and is now a Benedictine monastery open to the public.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

Author Brian Luke Seaward

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