What if I told you that more often than not, you’re the one putting ‘out there’ what you feel? In order to develop better relationships, understanding projection is a key skill. It will take practice and a raising of your self awareness but it can be done. It will help you understand when something is you, or them.

The science of understanding projection

Our brains love a negative thought. It actually thrives on it and can process it much more easily than a positive one.

Our lives are filled with fear from needing good education so you can work and pay bills, to paying those bills and trying to live within our means.

“The brain has a negativity bias.Your brain is simply built with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news. The bias is so automatic that it can be detected at the earliest stage of the brain’s information processing.”

How we process positive and negative images

Take, for example, the studies done by John Cacioppo, Ph.D., He showed people pictures known to arouse positive feelings (say, a Ferrari, or a pizza), those certain to stir up negative feelings (a mutilated face or dead cat) and those known to produce neutral feelings (a plate, a hair dryer). Meanwhile, he recorded electrical activity in the brain’s cerebral cortex that reflects the magnitude of information processing taking place.

The brain, Cacioppo demonstrated, reacts more strongly to stimuli it deems negative. There is a greater surge in electrical activity. Thus, our attitudes are more heavily influenced by downbeat news than good news.

Our capacity to weigh negative input so heavily most likely evolved for a good reason—to keep us out of harm’s way. From the dawn of human history, our very survival depended on our skill at dodging danger. The brain developed systems that would make it unavoidable for us not to notice danger and thus, hopefully, respond to it.” – Psychology Today

Why do so many of us not understand projection?

If science can back up what is being said, why don’t we all then believe it and become incredible beings living our best lives? The core reason is because fear is such a strong and stubborn emotion. It has been intertwined with us for so long. Our current state leans more towards fear than it does optimism and joy of life.

Recognising fear

If you want to make any changes to situations in your life, it will require the managing and recognising of this fear by raising your self awareness. If for example you’re living pay check to check, the way to manage this is to spend less. That sounds easy enough but how many of you actually sit down and see where you could save yourself some money? If you’re having difficulty communicating with others, how often do you look at yourself without criticism and find ways to improve your communication skills? 

This isn’t an exercise in criticising yourself for the way you are. You are most likely a product of the life experiences you have had. Like I say, you have to choose to change. Then make a conscious effort to make those changes stick every single day in order for the change to occur. Understanding projection is not easy, it will take practice because we are emotional beings and cannot always control our situations.

Puja K McClymont | Certified Life Coach in London and NLP Practitioner

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