2 min read

Projection and perfectionism.

At the desk, 10:52 a.m.

In the last days and nights, I've been thinking a lot about projection and my internal response - perfectionism.  My old friend Kenji posted this at Pinterest and I thought it was a sign that I should write a post about this.

What is projection?

The idea is simple and deeply complicated.

You see, we can only see in a very, very small band of light. We can only hear in a tiny band of sound. We can only feel sensation in the most rudimentary touch. And yet, what we hear and see constitutes the whole of our reality.

Of course, we realize that there is a wide, wide world of light, sound and sensation that we simply cannot feel, see, or hear.

Everything we see, hear, and feel is perceived by our brain, which is altered by our life experience.

Thus, when you see the color blue, you might think of the blue of your best friend's skirt and instinctively feel a bit of envy. On the other hand, the color blue reminds me of the ocean and the deep blue Colorado sky. I feel a sense of peace, calm and safety when I see the color blue.

That's how our brains work. And of course they work that way. How else would we know that we like chocolate but don't like caramel? How would we remember that this brand of clothing is really too small while this other brand is too big? Our brains are constantly learning about the world and filtering everything through that perception.

We make every judgement based on our compilation of information, our perception of a current situation, and our projection of what that situation means.

In seriously messed up people, they believe their actions are "caused" by someone else. "I wouldn't hit you if you didn't (fill in the blank)." "I had to kill my child because she was the spawn of Satan." Or whatever.

In the words of Seth Godin:

"You will be judged (or you will be ignored)

Those are pretty much the only two choices.

Being judged is uncomfortable. Snap judgments, prejudices, misinformation... all of these, combined with not enough time (how could there be) to truly know you, means that you will inevitably be misjudged, underestimated (or overestimated) and unfairly rejected.

The alternative, of course, is much safer. To be ignored.

Up to you."

The key here is that you and I are projecting our experience onto a fairly neutral world. Unless we're completely wacked, that's a fairly normal, natural process.

In order to live happily, we must own our own projections as well as our reactions to other people's projections.

I am me.

You are you.

What you think of me is none of my business. When you make it my business, I see a reflection of you.

My reaction to you is my business based in my history and experience. My reaction to you brings my awareness to me, which is where my own perfectionism lies. But that's a story for another day.

Just what's been on my mind lately.