Projection is popular
I’m not referring to movies or projecting something on a screen. I’m also not referring to prediction of something. I’m referring to the idea that a person takes emotions and traits that they don’t like about themself and they attribute them to someone else.
The best example I’ve seen lately is Piers Morgan offering critical comments about Simone Biles dropping out of the team competition of the Olympics saying that she was “quitting on her team.” Further, he stated the following – ““I don’t think it’s remotely courageous, heroic or inspiring to quit.” (Source).
That’s all very interesting coming from the man who famously stormed off of the set of Good Morning Britain in the middle of the show, quitting the program. (Source). I wonder if recognized any irony in this?
Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for those that are projecting to be blind to what they are doing.
Projection happens a lot in partisan politics. The examples are too numerous to name. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene could probably win an Olympic medal in projection if it ever became a sport. Then again, there are plenty of Democrats who could easily be contenders for a medal too. But people in each party are really good at ignoring or brushing aside the sins of their own people and finding the speck in their enemies’ eye.
Religion is also really good at projection. How many times have we heard a religious figure who has been vocal about being anti-homosexual and then it turns out they are?
So why do we project – yes, we are all guilty of it. I know I am. There are certain people in life that I can’t stand. The more opposed to them, the more I need to look at what it is about them that bothers me so much. If I’m honest, then the reality is that there is something deep inside me that I really don’t like about myself. And when I see it in others, it is like homing beacon. Or maybe a better analogy is that it’s like those lights that flash up into the sky to draw everyone’s attention. I can’t help but see it.
My struggle is with people who are addicted to certainty and being in control. Hmm. I have a really problem with this. I think part of this is because of my own struggle with it. I have a background in politics after all and much of politics is about control and power. It can be quite addicting. And there is a danger because control and power can be destructive. Maybe it’s a fear about what I would do with control or power. Maybe it’s a fear of seeing the potential for harm. Maybe it’s something like a warning signal for myself.
I don’t know. But I do know that I have worked really hard to make sure that I am empowering others, and that I remind myself that I am not in control. Do I like being in control – yes and no. Maybe it’s more that I like the idea of control, but I don’t like the reality of it. I don’t know.
I do know that I struggle with people who seem intent on having control and power. I don’t like politicians who orient towards autocracy – “Do as I say, or else.” I don’t like religious leaders who abuse their position and claim Godly authority to just do what they want to do. I don’t like narcissists. I don’t like any of those folks. Rather, I don’t like what they do. And so I work at implementing the exact opposite of these ways of doing things. I try to empower people. I try to create an environment where other voices can be heard and those in the margins can be in leadership. I try to use whatever privilege I have to speak up and challenge abusive and destructive cultures.
Maybe my projection is a way to motivate me to try to make the world a better place. It shows me the ugliness that is possible so that I don’t fall down the trap. Or maybe I’m just telling myself that. Regardless, I’ll keep working on my projections, and keep working on trying to make the world a better place where more people have a voice.