By Suzanne E. Harrill
Even when we are seasoned
travelers on the journey to heal our inner selves, there is always more to
understand. The unconscious can spring surprise lessons from our shadow side
at any time. These surprises, the positive as well as the negative-feeling
ones, do not have to scare us. It is helpful if we remember simple truths; such
as, we are on a journey to wholeness and choose to find the lost or repressed
parts of ourselves so that we can fully express who we truly are. An exciting
point of view is that life is creative and never finished, so there is always
more to learn about ourselves as we heal, grow, and integrate all aspects of
ourselves. The more integrated we are the better we are able to participate
creatively in life. Rather than getting off track and being seduced into the
highs or lows of life, we live with curiosity as life unfolds, ready to meet
One helpful way to become
aware of unknown parts of ourselves is to see them through the projections we
place onto others. In a minute we will talk about projection and its usefulness
in finding and reconnecting lost parts of ourselves. But first, let us take a
look at how we get lost in the first place, getting caught in the illusions of
life, and disconnected from our true self. We will end with two practical
suggestions: journal writing and meditation.
The day you were born was
a special time. You arrived as a curious, open, and trusting little human
being, ready to absorb everything you could about yourself and this life. Your
first teachers were your parents, siblings, and extended family members. Being
completely vulnerable and dependent on others set you up in some ways to get
lost. How? At first the only way you learned about yourself was through the
mirrors of others. Many of your teachers were not enlightened, so the areas in
which your caregivers and family members were unaware or wounded got passed on
to you. Since a person can only teach what they believe to be true, you
received many concepts about yourself, and life in general, that were not true.
What do young people do
when adults and older siblings are unhealed and dysfunctional? They usually
accept the reality modeled to them as true. When there is incongruency between
what is observed or heard and how one feels, there is a glitch. Feeling
something is “off,” with no ability to understand or to put these feelings into
words, the young person starts doubting self.
When this happens, over
time you slowly disconnect from your true self, assuming something must be
wrong with you. You stop feeling the messages of your true self and these
messages go into hiding becoming part of the unconscious. As parts of you shut
down, the illusion began and you perpetuated what much of humanity was
doing—living a life of separation from your spiritual essence. As you grew
older, you lived and acted as if your conditioned self was the real you. That
is until the day you stepped on the path to heal yourself, which includes
finding and reclaiming the missing parts of yourself.
Now we will take a look
at projection, what it is, and how we can learn from it to reclaim lost parts
of ourselves. What we do not accept in ourselves we project onto others, both
positive and negative. Projection is a psychological defense mechanism with
which we protect ourselves from ourselves when it is too uncomfortable to own
certain traits, emotions, behaviors, or beliefs.
Let me illustrate. A person
in one of my self-discovery classes began interrupting me and continually
responding to others in the class. Her answers were good ones as she had done a
lot of work on herself. That was not the problem; the problem was that she was
annoying to me and the other students. The competition I experienced reminded
me of when I felt the same way. I took many classes from an early teacher and
felt I could do as good a job or better teaching that group. I even admitted to
myself that it would be fulfilling to be a teacher and group facilitator, yet I
was fearful of taking the necessary risks. I did not fully believe in myself.
At that time, it was easier to keep taking classes with this teacher and to
project my potential onto him. With my student I saw a similar pattern. We
began talking privately and she admitted that she had grown beyond the lessons
of this particular group and secretly wanted to be the teacher. She eventually
took the risks necessary to become a therapist/teacher once she stopped
projecting the therapist/teacher outside of herself and onto me.
To make this information
practical to your life and to help you with your inner work, consider these two
1. Spend some time
pondering something you see in another that you would like to have or
experience. Maybe there is something you want in your life; such as, a
relationship, financial security, a job you love, or meaningful things to do in
your free time. Who do you know who has what you want? Next write about this,
expressing such things as your beliefs, feelings, and experiences that have or
currently influences you. Now read or discuss what you have written with
someone you trust. Ask your friend for feedback. Continue to write about this
subject for as long as it takes to process your thoughts and feelings, those
that get in the way, as well as new ones you have updated from faulty thinking.
This begins the process of taking steps to claim your potential, that which you
see in others.
2. Following is a guided
meditation to help you integrate repressed parts of yourself into your present
self. You can ask a friend to read it to you or record the meditation to play
for yourself. There is really not a set way you must do this. It could even be
done while out walking or watching a sunset, simply remember the theme of the
meditation. Many of you will begin making inner shifts just reading this.
Whenever you feel
dissatisfied with your life, get triggered by someone or something, or feel the
creative pull to be who you are without illusions, repeat this meditation. It
can help you find the lost parts of your true self.
Meditation: Close your eyes and slowly deep breathe several
Go to your place of peace,
where you feel safe and secure.
Take a moment to see and
feel “something” you want in your life.
Who do you know who is
already manifesting what you want? In your mind’s eye, watch this person and
view how s/he models it to you in your outer world.
If you are releasing
something that is no longer serves your, see yourself giving it back to the
person who allowed you to act it out for her/him.
Ask your wise Self to help
you reclaim this as a part of you. If another has been acting it out for you in
a close relationship, ask for your part back. With deep feeling, visualize
yourself with this trait or experience. Use all your senses to be in this
Say to yourself, “I now
claim (whatever you chose) as part of my life. I deserve (your choice) in my
life and choose to grow comfortable with it. I release all need to turn my
power over by projecting it outside of myself. I easily take the risks to claim
what is mine as I integrate (your choice) into my everyday life. I feel this
deeply and allow this transformation within to take place now. Continue talking
to yourself in this way for a few minutes.
See and feel this new
reality as if it is true and already a part of your life. (Pause.)
Ask for a symbol to
represent what you have reclaimed into your life. If a symbol does not come
easily, know you will find one in the next few days, probably when you least
expect it. It is okay to use your logical mind too in choosing a symbol.
Play with this symbol. Hold
it, draw it, and sleep with it. Allow your symbol to help you reclaim a part of
your true self.
It is time to come back.
Feel your body and focus on your natural breathing.
Slowly open your eyes and
move and stretch. Be here now.
Now you have a better
picture of what projection is and how it is a useful construct to help you find
and reclaim lost parts of yourself. The two suggestions are designed to help
you steer through the illusions of who you are not and to help you remember
your true self.