One of the ways we distance ourselves from the stranger within is by projecting our issues, our own shadow, on to someone else, as if they were really someone else’s issues or someone else’s fault. We do this with greater and lessor degrees of consciousness. Every one of us has projected onto others at some point and we have all been the subject of projection too.
Projecting onto others is a way of externalizing the source of our pain. This happens when we are afraid to examine how we might be the source of our own pain. It is easier to blame someone else and we can become quite skilled in rationalizing why it is about someone else rather than ourselves. It is one more way of giving power and voice away.
“We cannot get from others what we have not given ourselves. We cannot receive all the goodness, love, beauty, and joy that is awaiting us if we shut it out, if we believe ourselves unworthy.” ~ Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedness
The other side of this is when we are the subject of projection. It can be confusing when we are on the receiving end of projection. It can appear in many ways from an angry outburst to a very logical rationalization of why we are portrayed as the antagonizer of the other person, why they somehow cannot do better, why they are stuck – because of something they believe we have done, somehow we have held them back – or so they want to believe.
One of the ways we can recognize projection is by the energetic impact that comes with it. This energetic impact is often what creates the confusion within us, especially if we are new to the awareness of being projected upon. For myself, I use to take it on, figuring there must be something wrong with me, something I could fix to make everything all right. I gradually became aware that not all that was being projected onto me was mine. Then I needed to learn to discern what was mine to work on and what belonged to the person doing the projecting so I could let it go. The mantra, “no one can create in my reality unless I let them” became a life affirming guide in the journey.
The fear was that what was projected on to me was my stranger in action, the stranger in me that I felt needed to be disarmed. But the only way to disarm what we perceive to be the stranger is to embrace it. In the embracing of it we “take whole”, as my partner Jerry Nagel says in his work on World View, and we once again step into our power and our voice, inviting us into openheartedness in whole new ways.
“The journey to open heartedness is not about being exposed in a way that is threatening or harmful. It is about waking up and opening to the full range of emotional melody that resides within us—the full range, the rich textures of symphony that wants to make itself heard, not just a narrow range of notes played in isolation. Through the journey to openheartedness, I am learning to live in and with vulnerability—not as weakness but as strength—and I am relying on emotions as a guidance system that is unfailing the more I learn how to use it.” ~ Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedness
My emotional guidance system will tell me when I am projecting, when I am being projected on, as I listen to it. It then is also a guide on what aspects of me, of the stranger in me, need to be embraced into wholeness of being.