When we hate others, it is really because we hate ourselves
That is one of those quotes: those self-enlightening ‘I’m so smart’, ‘yes, I’m talking about you guys, not me’ quotes. I used to have it on hand as a weapon of sorts, tutting over it inwardly when I found myself in difficult situations with others. Of course, I was unaware that by doing that, by excluding myself from the quote, I was doing the very thing it nutshells: I was PROJECTING.
Projection is my latest ‘oh, that’s interesting’ moment. I think projection to be the root of all evil, and also every fork in the road of every life ever lived. I also think it necessary to be dramatic about a dramatic concept, and I immediately knew that I owed projection more than a skim-off-the-top understanding. So below is a simplified analysis, and, if I may, a humble solution for the great satan. Before we go on, you should be thinking of these things: paranoia, misjudgement, jealousy, delusion, self-hatred, compulsion. Consider those things as inborn parts of yourself, even if you’re a really sweet person; consider them to be an inherent part of yourself that you cannot help but express against your will, and more importantly, against your knowledge. Now you are ready.
Essentially, we are all walking the earth knifing each other with the ‘dark sides’ of our personalities. Within the idea of projection is one concept that I consider the ‘life-changing’ portion. Carl Jung’s ‘The Shadow’.
Introducing Carl Jung quote one: “As we repress the things we despise in ourselves and refuse to acknowledge them, they remain burned in the psyche and form the shadow which is essentially what one has no wish to be. We then project, like puppets pulled by the strings of our unconsciousness.”
So, there are things about ourselves we don’t like, but then there are the things about ourselves we are in absolute denial about. No one admits to being envious, yet we are all capable of envy, doesn’t matter what of. We could, for example, mask it as indignation: believing that someone possesses something wonderful, yet, they are completely undeserving of it for a reason we ourselves have calculated. But jealousy stinks. So what usually happens next is, instead of telling yourself that you smell, you develop a disgust for the one or the thing that highlights what you perceivably lack. And you draw up very detailed, very false reasoning for your hatred. Only, you do not know of any falsehoods. So, using a teenaged me as an example: loud people disgusted me solely because loudness (I should say expressed confidence) demonstrated a level of ignorance that being shy and quiet did not, and not because I felt insecure about my natural default. If it is not obvious, the latter was true.
Introducing Carl Jung quote 2: “The effect of projection is to isolate the subject from his environment, since instead of a real relation to it, there is now only an illusory one. Projections change the world into a replica of ones own unknown face.”
I’d liken projection to war. It is a war between your conclusions that will to isolate you from the world, and reality that seeks to connect you with others. Yes, you are you, and your unique perception of everything (informed by both negative, positive and neutral projection) will permit you to move through the world as an individual fully contained within your own body and mind. So, the feeling of you vs the world is a natural one. But, falling into a rabbit hole of ideas authored only by you is a leap further then simply living within the constraints of your own experiences. Take Michael Yagoobian of ‘Meet the Robinsons’ (this blogpost’s featured image) and his transformation into ‘Bowler Hat Guy’ (please watch the film). It’s a cookie cutter story of what happens when you emerge from that rabbit hole of sad, predatory ideas about yourself and other people, and let rip on the world. It’s a narrative of the outcome of projecting the dark side of your personality over people who are (funnily enough) too wrapped up in their ‘shadows’ to own your shadow as well. More importantly, they are not who you’ve told yourself they are.
Introducing Carl Jung quote 3: “It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others around him yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going— not consciously of course.”
‘The Shadow’ to me is the core sentiment of projection, summing up negative projection (our focus for today) so completely that general ideas and definitions of projection are unneeded here. Easily, we could look at how projection has ruined the world on a much broader scale: this is where ‘paranoia’ and a concept called ‘collective contagion’ is most relevant: The Holocaust, The Salem Witch Trials, Racism in its entirety, Homophobia, I’d venture to include The Iraq War, and on and on and on. But, the purpose of this blogpost is to say that the solution— albeit, one that more leans to ‘acceptance’, lies solely with you.
Introducing Carl Jung quote 4: “Unless we are possessed of an unusual degree of self awareness, we shall never see through our own projections, but must succumb to them.”
These are our four concepts, and we must journey through them in something close to this order:
Enlightenment > Relentless self awareness > Forgiveness > Patience
This method is not free, yet, it’s cheaper than therapy. You owe yourself honesty and that itself is costly. Use one particularly dark day to admit your role in the darkness. Just do it. Nobody’s looking. After that, you’re going to have to fight for this self-awareness to remain. You’re going to have many dark days to admit your role in again and again and again. It’s going to be awkward. Then, amidst all of this, forgive yourself many times for being so heinous (jk). Patience I’ve put last because it is (like forgiveness actually) the infinite portion of the journey; you’ll need it until you cease to be. Now, ‘invert’ it, or ‘reflect’ (a bit of both): turn it away from yourself, and use it on others.
Since we did not create the ability to possess nor succumb to negative projection, it’s productive to consider its purpose, thinking strictly in positives. Having taken this course of action for myself, I’d say it’s made me very peaceful, as levelling compassion and understanding against negativity tends to. Once you’ve broken down the plank in your own eye and have begun to remove it piece by piece, you can add context to the spec in the eye of your neighbour. That— I will say, is not for the faint hearted, but then, none of this is.
Your coworker is mean to you because you are young and they hate ageing, but, they’re not an awful person. People can be inexplicably mean when they’re trying to protect their feelings, you should know. But when it’s time to dish out the kindness you yourself yearn for, life often offers you ‘words of knowledge’ about the intended recipient. You don’t have to observe for too long before the needed context finds you.
“The understanding remain calm,” Proverbs 17:27
You’ve got this bud x