I’m not a psychologist (although if I hadn’t managed to get into University to do Forestry, it was my next choice of subject for my degree!), so I’m not claiming academic accuracy here, just an observation of what I’ve experienced to be true.
When we feel a strong reaction to another person, either positive or negative, it will be a projection of a part of ourself.
It may well be a part that we are blind to, or even in denial of, but never-the-less it will be a projection of elements of our own characteristics onto others.
I often find this easy to see in my clients when I hear them describing others “she’s so dedicated and hardworking”, “he’s really generous and caring” or “she’s cold and vindictive”, “he’s so critical of others”, and I’ll know of the times when my client has been the same.
What’s MUCH harder is seeing it in myself, but if, as Arjuna Ardagh in his book “The Last Laugh” suggests, I add in my mind the comment “just like me”, as uncomfortable as it is I begin to see the truth.
“She’s so arrogant…just like me”, “he’s always complaining and not seeing how he’s part of the problem…just like me”. What I begin to see is that my judgement of others is not true – it’s only part of the truth, and as much as I find it hard to accept, there is also truth that I am like that too.
So who do you admire, and who do you despise or are critical of? And if you are really, really honest with yourself, in what ways you are just like them?