One of my most favourite coaching sessions with clients is looking at communication and projection. Projection is a powerful concept and the more one explores it and understands it, the more empowered one becomes when understanding and communicating with others and oneself.
Projection, simply described, is “… an involuntary transfer of our own unconscious behaviour onto others, so it appears to us that these qualities actually exist in the other people” (The Dark Side of the Light Chasers – Debbie Ford).
We need to understand what is going on within ourselves in order to understand how we are projecting onto others. We do this to protect ourselves from feeling something so deep within us, so often deeply suppressed and something we so desperately want to ignore, refusing to acknowledge that we actually own that negative trait within ourselves (by the way, we also project positive traits but being the human beings that we are, we tend to shy away from the negative projection of ourselves).
How do we recognise weaknesses in others? Because we are weak ourselves. How do we recognise shame in others? Because we know shame ourselves. How do we recognise guilt others? Because we experience guilt within ourselves. How do we recognise anger in others? Because we hold onto anger ourselves.
What behaviour tells us we are projecting onto someone els
When you judge yourself, you will judge others. When you are critical of others, you will be critical of others. When you bully yourself, you will bully others. When you are intolerant of yourself, you will be intolerant of others. When you are arrogant to yourself, you will be arrogant to others. When you beat yourself up, you will beat up others. And, the list goes on.
As we try to disown our own negative traits, we transfer those traits onto others. We do this to avoid looking at ourselves, deflecting what we do not want to acknowledge within ourselves. It takes a lot of courage to go inside of our selves and say “Yes, I too, own those traits”. And, when you can do this, this is when I encourage you to lean into your Shadow with loads of unconditional love.
Our Shadow is made up of all our negative traits that we are not proud to own. But it is this very Shadow that can walk together with our Light, if only we will allow it to. It is our Shadow that has come about from all the life experiences we have had and will continue to have. It is this Shadow that has taught us so many invaluable lessons – if only we allow ourselves to learn those lessons.
When we learn to embrace our Shadow, not only are we showing ourselves love but we are showing everyone else our love, giving them a chance to embrace their own Shadows, knowing that it is safe to do so.
Lean into your Shadow. Bring your Shadow around to the front of you and shine your Light so bright on it. Tell your Shadow, “I see you. I love you. I forgive you. I thank you. Now, please walk besides me so that I may not be frightened by you”.
By acknowledging your Shadow, embracing it and shining your Light on it, you are taking back your personal power. Your Shadow no longer owns you but rather it walks besides you, bringing you compassion, empathy and love for you and all others that you communicate with.
Lean into your Shadow.