What is projection? This episode explores the way our minds create stories and see the world according to our beliefs about ourselves and about others. I give many examples from my own life with friends, strangers on the internet, and how this shows up in my relationship with my husband.
Whether we have a story that something is wrong with us, that people don’t like us, that people think we’re unattractive – all of this will shape the way we show up and experience the world. We often end up creating the thing we are most afraid of in the first place.
Full episode transcript:
Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of the Demetra Gray Show. I’m so happy you’re here. Thanks for listening to the podcast. I have been thinking about the podcast a lot this week because if you follow me over on Instagram, you may have seen, um, that we’ve been doing a lot more with the podcast on Instagram. So if you don’t follow me on Instagram, my handle is @demetragray__ with two underscores at the end. And I have such a love hate relationship with Instagram. I really love Instagram, but Instagram does not love me. <laugh> meaning that Instagram has banned me twice now and deleted my accounts. And so, uh, this is my third Instagram account for my business, and I think I’ve only had it since like May of this year, maybe April or May. So anyway, it’s been like I haven’t been able to really commit to putting more attention on Instagram, but now with the podcast, I’ve, I’ve decided to post more stuff from the podcast on Instagram.
So if you enjoy the podcast and you’re here, you might enjoy, uh, following over on Instagram and you’ll get like little clips from the podcast and me expanding on posts about things I may have talked about in the podcast that week. So, um, that’s really exciting and that’s been super fun for me. That’s, this is the first week that we’re starting to really do that. Well, this has been, when I’m recording this episode, <laugh>, so it’ll be a couple weeks when you hear this. Um, and that’s how long we’ll, we’ll have been doing it by then. But, because I’ve been thinking a lot about the podcast and I’ve been writing more posts, I’ve had a number of instances come up in the last week or so, and I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to talk about, and I’ve been feeling a bit more like teachy.
Like sometimes on here I do episodes that are just me rambling about my life, and then sometimes I feel like I want to teach on a certain topic, and then sometimes it’s a mix of everything. But today I wanted to teach about projection. I just wanted to talk a little about it a little bit, the way that I relate to it and the way that I’ve learned it and how I have worked with it in my own life, and some examples of other people’s projections onto me, <laugh>. Um, because those are the instances this week that have come up over and over again. And I was like, I wanna just, I want to talk about this. And I, I think that it’s one of the foundations of doing work on ourselves when we want to grow as people and we want to, sometimes people would call it being more conscious in your life and just being more aware of, I would, I would term that just being more present in who we actually are rather than living in our minds and other people’s perceptions and projections all the time.
Because most people going day to day are just living in a world of only projection. And when we do this work on ourselves, we start to unwind the ways in which we proj project onto others. And we, ideally, we get better and better at that over time, and we can call ourselves out when it’s happening. No one’s ever perfect, and we all will always have our stuff, but we want to be able to notice when we are, our minds are so powerful, they’re always creating the world that we experience in front of us. And when I say that, I don’t necessarily mean it as in this wooey magical like the world disappears in the way that I, um, envision it to be. Although sometimes I, I definitely have that part of me, but it’s the way that we can both be in the same room and in the same reality, we can both be experiencing the same conversation, but we experienced it entirely differently.
And the reason for that is typically projection. It’s because we are imagining in other people stuff that we actually have going on inside ourselves. So, um, what is projection in the way that I would explain projection is to say that when we’re projecting, we’re essentially taking our own wounding and imagining it in other people. We’re ex we’re looking at situations in front of us and experiencing them as if usually they are affirming a belief that we already have about ourselves, usually a negative one, uh, or that we have our brains are really good at taking our past life experiences, especially in putting them onto our present. It’s the way that our brains function. It’s the way that we evolved in order to feel safe in the world. And our brains will look for things that are like what we may have experienced before. And they’ll often create full blown stories on what our brain thinks that we’re experiencing, which can often look like things, different patterns being repeated.
And the most wild thing about projection is that our projections often end up creating the thing that we’re most terrified of in the first place. So if you are, if you have a belief that people don’t like you, and then in all your interactions you’re projecting that somebody else doesn’t like you because you’ve experienced that in your past, either maybe you don’t like you all the way, or maybe you’ve had a lot of experiences, whether people don’t like you, so you’re projecting that this new person doesn’t like you, and then because you’re projecting that onto them, you start to get a bit defensive and closed off and guarded and in return, that person in their head is like, why is this person so closed off and guarded? Like, oh, I really didn’t. Maybe I really don’t like them over time, right? And so we end up creating this same thing that we are trying to avoid, that we think that we don’t like our minds do this constantly.
And I think it’s a lot easier to understand with some examples. So I’m gonna just go through some examples and, and talk about my own journey with it all and, and hopefully give you some ideas of an insight into where this might be showing up in your life and be able to see this more clearly when it’s happening, coming from other people. Because often too, I, I have gotten from people before, like, oh, how do you deal with people being so mean to you on the internet? Like, I could never deal with it. And I have been super attacked by people on the internet, especially when I’ve gone viral. I’ve had thousands and thousands of people attacking me on the internet and it’s also happened quite a lot with people, uh, in my life. And so let’s just sort of dive in. So one message, <laugh> that I got, this is also fun for me cuz I can tell you about some of these instances, um, that are just, are pretty wild.
So, um, I got a message last week, um, and I wanna say like, th this isn’t about these specific people who wrote these messages, like, I don’t know the people who wrote the message, but it is very clear to me that this is a projection. So, um, as an example, I got a message last week who, from someone who had listened to the episode, the podcast episode about, um, the last one Jordan and I did together where we talked about our sex life and how we handle conflicts in our relationship. And I had actually listened to that episode back already. I don’t often, um, listen to episodes back, but sometimes I do. And I like to, I often like to listen to Jordan and I talk together, like I just enjoy listening to us talk. Uh, so I had listened to that one back and this girl wrote to me and she was like, Demetra, trigger warning <laugh>, which is a whole other thing.
She’s like, trigger warning. I have some negative feedback, which I just wanna say like trigger warnings is a whole other thing. I’ve written a post about trigger warnings. They’ve also done studies now on trick or warnings and find, found out that trigger warnings actually are like, they do the opposite of what they’re intended to do. They like make people look at things more. Anyway, I think that they are ridiculous. Um, but anyway, it started with trigger warning. This is negative feedback. Uh, so if you don’t wanna hear it, don’t read the rest of the message. But I had already opened the message <laugh>, and uh, it said, I listen, I, I can’t remember the exact wording, but it was essentially like I listened to the message to the podcast with you and Jordan and I was appalled. I was appalled or horrified or something like that.
I could not believe how many times I to you say something and Jordan correct you, and then you agree with him, um, on like him correcting you and you agreeing with him. And um, basically like, I think this is really disrespectful and I just want, I wanted like, I would want someone to tell me if it were me. And so it was this whole like, concerned message. And um, this to me is such a clear example of this is actually nothing to do with me when someone writes to me. I often do look for a shred of truth in it, um, just to see like, you know, even when people write really rotten things, I’m like, do I do that? Like, maybe that is like partially true. And if the person is really, um, even if they’re being super mean and rude, I might not even respond, but I, I see the shred of truth in it for myself, um, and move on.
And with this, I was like, this is wild because this girl must have listened to that whole episode. And I imagine, I don’t know her, but I can bet that she’s had a lot of experiences in her life where men have been controlling over her or have, um, corrected her or talked over her. And because of these experiences, that was all she was hearing when she was listening to the episode. So she couldn’t even really hear the episode itself because all she could pay attention to was he’s correcting her. And so she’s putting her own experience onto the podcast saying, this is what’s happening, but in reality it wasn’t what was happening. And I wrote back to her and I said, can you give me some specific examples? Because usually when there’s a projection like that, it is easily, um, what’s the word? Like wrecked by being more specific.
And she kind of quickly backtracked. And again, it’s like not about her. And, but I, the the amazing thing to me about that is that when she was listening, she heard for her an entirely different thing than what was actually, um, in front of her. And so we do this constantly. We do it all the time. And what she was really hearing in that episode, if you listened or if you go back and listen closely, is that there are a lot of instances where Jordan and I will interrupt each other or talk over each other, like correct, you know, correct <laugh>, it’s not really the right word, but we’ll, um, like one of us will say something and the other one will say, well, I think you mean this. Or like, it was more actually like this. And to her that’s correcting, like correcting has a very specific connotation and a very specific tone.
Like he was correcting her and she was agreeing. And what’s actually happening when we’re talking is that we both do it with each other. And especially when we’re recording a podcast, we’re always thinking about the audience. And so we’re always thinking, like, when I’m listening to Jordan talk on a podcast, it’s not the same as if we were just having a conversation, although this might happen in conversation too. But what’s really happening is we are, I’m, I’m listening to what he’s saying and I’m thinking about how the audience might receive it and I’m thinking about if there’s anything that he may have left out. But the way that we do this with each other is not a correction, as in you’re wrong. And, and that was the wrong thing and you need to change. It’s a, um, it’s more of a like, oh, you’re just leaving out this piece that other people might find, uh, more helpful or that will make it more clear.
So this, but this woman, because of her past experiences listened to this and was like, oh, he’s being this way toward her, but in, but actually that’s not my reality whatsoever. So it’s very common to receive these as someone who has an online business, um, constantly. But we also do it with different people in our lives. I got another one too. I’ll just say <laugh>. I’ll just say, um, another really wild this, these are like extra wild. And then I’ll, I’ll talk more about how I’ve experienced it in my own life. But, um, like for me onto others. But another woman wrote to me this week and she commented on an entirely unrelated post. She was like calling me a white supremacist and a fascist. And she was like, oh, like, do you still believe? Basically because I had made a podcast about, um, people who are transgender.
Like I had, I had talked about transgenderism, if you’d call it that, and, and the feminine. And I’m gonna have to do another one on that topic someday soon because there’s a lot that I wanna say about it. I don’t think it gets talked about enough. I don’t think people are allowed to talk about it nowadays. But because I had challenged the concept of being transgender, she extrapolated that into all of these things that I had never said. Like so much so that when I read this comment at first I thought she had been mis like I thought she had the wrong person. And then I realized because of her feed that she actually like knew one of my old clients and I was like, oh, she’s not like she doesn’t have the wrong person. She’s just managed to take this tiny shred of a thing and put it into her worldview, which is that anyone who even challenges the concept of being transgender and has thoughts about it means that they’re saying, I think her comment was something like, you think that all people with uteruses like have to give birth, which I have never said.
And she was like, to save the white race, which I have also never said, like all this stuff about like white people, which I have never said. It was really, really wild. And I was just like, that is another insane projection that is just like dropping into my thing. But if that’s what you see, like if you’re someone who is super in the social justice world and super in this woke I’m identified with this being an ally of face, you’re going to see this conflict that you imagine happening in you. You’re gonna see it everywhere around you and you’re like, oh, this is happening here. And it’s like, well, it’s not actually happening here. Like that’s not actually what’s going on. But we, we lose the capability of being able to be nuanced because we’re only seeing, like, we’re not able to be self-aware enough to question whether something is around projection or if it’s reality.
Um, so some other examples are like when I talked about if someone, when I talked about if someone doesn’t, um, if you think people don’t like you, you’ll start to see that everywhere around you. I, that is definitely has been one of my, um, things. And so it has come up for me less so now. Gaining weight actually really helped this for me <laugh>. Um, but up until I got fatter, um, my lens of seeing the world, especially with women, I kind of have this filter on of people don’t like me. Like I had this belief of of people don’t like me. And so when I would meet someone new, I would automatically have this hesitation or this guardedness and I would look for them to, um, to show me that what I already believed was true. I would look for them to confirm what I already knew to be the case.
So if I felt like they didn’t like me, I would look for all these ways that they didn’t like me. And when I saw any sort of expression or any sort of statement or anything that could be used as evidence that they didn’t like me, I would hang on to that. And I became convinced that I saw this in them when really they never were having those thoughts. It was just my own creation. When I started dating Jordan, this was hu we do this a lot with our partners too. Um, when I started dating Jordan, I have a huge, one of my, uh, biggest childhood wounds is that people are making me wrong. So my work has given me a lot of opportunities, uh, to alchemize this over and over and over again. But when I first started dating Jordan, and still there’s ways that I will imagine that Jordan is saying that he’s making me wrong, like something I’m doing is wrong or something I said was wrong, and that’s actually not what’s happening at all.
And it can be incredibly trippy, like when you really get to the heart of a major projection, a major way that you see the world. Like if you go around the world and you’re, you’re one of your core beliefs is that everyone’s making you wrong. You will see it everywhere no matter where you go and then you will bring it out in other people. Um, I just had this interaction with another woman, uh, who has a lot of this kind of wounding with the feminine and with women is what I should have said, like with, with women around her. And it was the same, we had an, an interaction where, um, she basically decided, I don’t know what she decided, <laugh>, but she decided, uh, something that like she, that this whole story was happening that wasn’t happening whatsoever. And she like blocked me everywhere and just, just disappeared.
And I was like, we didn’t even get to have, like, we didn’t even have a conversation about it. She just decided that this was what was happening. And because of, um, I know some of her past and some of her past experiences, I’m like, this makes total sense and it’s too bad that we didn’t even, um, get to talk about it. It’s the same way that someone with scarcity is gonna see scar is going to be scarce everywhere. Um, they’re gonna start to look for these places where like all the people, there have been so many people lately who are feeling so threatened by the AI art. Have you seen like people’s posts about the AI art? And I don’t, I’m not that like, I’m not very interested in the AI art personally, um, because I just think it’s creepy, but I’m not like morally against it.
I just don’t like it. But it really has nothing to do with me whether I like it or not. Like it’s here, it’s people are using it, like whether I like it or not doesn’t really make any sort of difference to it. But I haven’t done mine and I really won’t because I don’t care what it makes me look like and I just think it’s creepy. Um, but when people started using the a i r, everyone came out like being like, oh no. Um, I saw a lot of, uh, artists being like, this is gonna hurt. This is hurting my livelihood. Please help, like, help me buy my things. Um, this is really going to severely impact me and just like freaking out about this thing. And it’s not that you can’t have an opinion about it, but it’s this particular way where it’s coming from this place of scarcity where you can tell that the person already has this lens of resource, resources are scarce. Like, I don’t get enough. People don’t hire me enough, I don’t have enough, there’s not enough for me. And so when there’s something new that happens, it’s all, it’s automatically seen through this filter of there’s not enough for me. This is another example of how there’s not enough for me and I am struggling trying to survive.
And, um, oh, I was talking <laugh>. I was like, how did I get away from that? I, um, with Jordan, we had a couple instances in the beginning because Jordan was the first partner I had really been with who could also call me out on what was happening with my mind. And when it was not based in reality with X’s it might happen where I said something and they were like, that’s not true, but they weren’t able to hold and be very centered and be like, that’s literally not what’s happening right now. And so Jordan and I had a lot of instances at the beginning where, um,
I would imagine that he, he would say something and I would swear to you that I heard it in this certain tone, and I would be like, he’s saying that I’m wrong, he’s making me wrong, and I would get closed off and kind of defensive. But instead of Jordan taking the bait and arguing with me, which then would result in the dreaded outcome of then I would like, then he would be making me wrong essentially. I mean, Jordan wouldn’t do that purposely, but if we got into an argument then that would result in the thing for me that I claimed that I didn’t want in the first place, yes, he, um, he would sit there and he would say like, what is happening for you right now? Like, I would get closed off and he would be like, what’s going on? What’s coming up? What are you feeling? But often when we’re in projection, especially when it’s so rooted in our wounding, we, it’s very, we get very activated. And so in that moment, my body would be so activated I would already be feeling really tense and defensive because I was like, he’s doing this thing.
But he would hold centered and he would be like, what do you think that I’m saying right now? And I would repeat it back to him. I would be like, you’re saying this. And he would be like, that’s not what I said. And I had to relearn my ways of
Even the ways that I interpreted. To me it was so clear that he said something that was saying this about me. But then when we traced it back, when we went back to the beginning of the conversation and he was like, this is the sentence that I said, and I’d be like, yeah, that’s the sentence that you said, but it meant this thing. And he’d be like, no, it meant the thing that I said. And I remember there was this one time specifically, actually I do remember what it was. We were sitting in his room in his, his old apartment and I had decided to do something, maybe it was like the full moon or I had decided to do something witchy like I had, I needed to, I, I can’t remember what it was that I did, but maybe I was doing something like a ritual still on the ev on every something moon.
But I remember that because because of the moon, I had to go outside and find a tree and I think I buried something under a tree. I can’t rem I can’t remember at all why or like what I was doing, but regardless, it doesn’t really matter for the story. The story was the, what happened was that I wanted to go do this witchy thing, but before I even told Jordan that I was gonna do it, I felt hesitant. I felt like he was going to think the witchy stuff was dumb. I already had this belief before I even told him. I was like, I felt defensive and protective of it. I was like, because of past experiences where other people had been, had made fun of me for liking witchy things or doing ritual type things. And I was like, he’s gonna make fun of it. Like he’s, he’s, he’s not gonna get it. So I already had this belief. So when I told him that I was gonna go outside and do this witchy thing, I was like super tuned in and super searching for any hint of disapproval.
And I think he was like, I think he might have just said okay or something. And because he didn’t respond fully, I already started being like, see, like he doesn’t like it. Like he didn’t, he didn’t say anything probably because he’s thinking, he’s thinking this. And so in projection we often start to imagine what the other person must be thinking. And I went outside and I did my thing and I came back in. And when I came back in something in the way that he responded or like the next thing that he said, somehow it turned into this whole thing with me being like, I was super defen. And I was like, well, if we’re gonna date, like you’re gonna have to like this part of me. And he was like, what are you talking about <laugh>? And I was like, I was like, I just could feel in my body.
I felt really defensive and I was like, he doesn’t approve of this, he doesn’t like it. But really what I was projecting onto him was the way that I wasn’t in approval of it. Like I was already convinced because of other experiences that I had, there was still a part of me that thought that it was a little bit weird or that people were gonna think I was weird for doing it. And so, because I thought it was a little bit weird, I imagined that he thought it was weird. And so I was looking for all the ways that he didn’t like it. And when we’re in that mode, we can interpret anything in any way that we want.
I don’t know if you’ve, if you watch, um, love is Blind <laugh>, but if you do, Jordan and I almost did a whole episode, uh, breaking down the last season of Love is Blind. And then we didn’t, because I think after we watched the reunion, I was like, I’m just so sick of all of them that I don’t want to even talk. Like I don’t want to think about them more. But that show is a perfect place to be able to see projection happening and watch what it creates because, um, you can see in the characters, especially when they’re starting to date, when one of them has a lot of insecurity, they’ll often project that insecurity onto the other person. So, um, one of them has, and yeah, I have my own opinions, but I’m just gonna use this as an example. Um, one of the women from this season had a lot of insecurities about her body and about her weight.
And I’m not like trying to say whether the guy contributed or he didn’t, but in there were some specific instances where, um, basically he asked her to, if she was going to eat, like if she was eating that before dinner. And sh this simple question, she turned into this whole thing of he’s saying that I’m fat, he’s saying I shouldn’t be eating it. He’s saying that he’s like making comments about my body and about my weight when it’s like that’s not what he was doing at all. She had, but she already had those opinions of herself and those fears for herself. And so we just, we do this constantly. We look for the ways that other people are behaving in ways that confirm our own personal narratives and biases about ourselves. So, um, I think like, so I guess the question then becomes what do we do about it? Like how do you know and how do you start to stop projecting onto other people? And I’ll also say this, um, before I get into that, like not everything is a projection either, right? Even though we do this all the time. And it is a really big thing. You could also really abuse this teaching by this, um, concept by
Imagining or, or by saying that everything that’s happening is just a projection of yours because that’s not the case either, right? Like you might have a belief that other people don’t like you and are not nice to you. And so that will be a thing you always have to examine. But you might also one day meet someone who actually does not like you and is not nice to you, <laugh>. And that’s not a projection, that’s just fact, that’s just reality of what’s currently happening, right? So not everything is a projection at all. It’s just that we always want to be looking for what are the places where we are most likely to project things onto others. And then also noticing, getting really good at what our own stuff is so that when we do receive certain reflections or reactions from other people that we can see like, this actually had nothing to do with me. And that’s a big piece of I think not being bothered by what other people have to say or feel about you. Because when you can feel it in yourself and experience it in yourself that um, the ways that you do this to other people, then you also start to have a bit more compassion for the way that people might do it to you. And at least, even if not compassion, just be able to take, not take it as personally when it does happen because you’re able to say like, that was their projection. Like it just didn’t, it didn’t happen that way. And instead of needing to prove it to them or needing to have them understand, like you’re just more able to be like,
That’s the lens in which they’re seeing things through. And that’s okay.
So the way that we learn to not project or the way that we get better at noticing when things are projections is to start learning and becoming curious about what stories do we believe about ourselves. Because usually if we have these certain beliefs about ourselves, and you’ll notice if you don’t know what they are yet, usually we have a pretty decent idea. But if you don’t, you can also start to get curious about what your, what the things are that your mind says to you all day long. Your mind might say, I’m not safe, I’m not safe, I’m not safe. And so you project the feeling of I’m not safe onto all the people around you, you know? So, um, I have historically been really critical of myself. It’s gotten a lot better as I’ve gotten older, but like as a teenager, I was massively critical of myself, which came in a lot of ways, um, but not the whole way, uh, from just being made fun of when I was younger and, and developing this massive inner critic.
And so my mind was always making me wrong. Like I was always scanning my behavior for like, like, I’m doing something wrong here and this person thinks that I’m wrong because that’s what I was so used to seeing and experiencing. And so as an adult, the way that I really started to heal that one in particular was outing it to people. And so that’s the thing Jordan and I will do with each other a lot is we’ll say, I mean sometimes now I’ll just say it to Jordan, um, like, he’ll do something and he’ll say like, what? Or like, he’ll notice my expression and I’ll just be like, well, I’m projecting that you think, you know what I do it a lot is when we’re leaving the house. Like I always project, not always, but I often project that he’s rushing me. Like I often feel like, because my dad rushed us a lot when I was young.
And so because I’m like used to this certain dynamic with my dad and the way that he was when I was younger, I was always used to like, he was trying to get out the door and I’m not ready. So like be like, go into stress mode, like my body will get stressed. And so I often notice this with Jordan. Jordan has never rushed me. Or if he has, it’s been very rare and he is, uh, taken it back immediately. Like he, he tries to not rush me, but I will often project that he’s rushing me because he might be standing with his coat on already. Jordan does that a lot. Like we’re getting, like, I still am getting ready to go and he puts his coat on and he’ll just like stand there with his coat on, but he’s not being impatient, he’s not rushing me.
He’s just standing there with his coat on. So this is a good example cause it’s like, this is such a fact. You might pr you might put a lot of meanings onto it, but for him, we’re going soon and he just like wants to be ready to go. So he puts his coat on and he stands there and in my body, and often the projections happen, so subconsciously in my body, I will start to feel tense and start to feel Ra and I’m like, he’s fragile. Like, wait, I have to get out the door and my story will become, I’m taking too long. Like that’s what my narrative will be to myself. Like he thinks I’m taking too long.
And if I’m not careful, what will happen is I’ll start going faster and faster and getting ready faster and faster. And then I get annoyed and then I get annoyed at him for rushing me <laugh>. And then I’m like, already, if I don’t catch it, which I, I pretty much always catch it now, but if I don’t catch it, I’ll get annoyed at him and I’ll be like, stop rushing me. And he’ll be like, what? I was not rushing you at all. And this is how most fights with couples go with like normal couples. People are like, stop doing this thing. And the other person’s like, what? I’m not doing that thing at all. And then the person gets annoyed that they’re denying that they’re doing the thing that they’re clearly doing. When in reality it was all a projection the whole time. Like you are just imagining that your partner is being this way because it’s a story that you already have.
So, um, if I do catch it now, what will happen often is <laugh>, um, Jordan will be standing at the door and I am like, my body still does it. It’s like such a habit I like immediately or maybe it’ll be cuz of the time. Like I told him we were gonna leave at four, say, and then it’s like getting clo like it’s, it’s 4 0 3. And then I’m like, oh no, like internally. And it’s not even fully conscious, but my narrative starts to be like I said that I was gonna be ready at this time, I’m not ready yet.
And I’ll often say to him, I feel like I’ll say, um, I’ll say, are you rushing me? And then he’ll be like, no, I’m not rushing you. Like I, I’ll check in with him. Or sometimes I’ll say, I’m projecting that you’re rushing me. And he will laugh and he’ll say, thank you for sharing <laugh>, thank you for sharing your projection. Um, and he will be like, that’s not what’s happening. So it’s good to reality check like that with the people around you if they’re willing to do that with you. And I, I do that a lot is to check in and say, this is what I am experiencing, but without the accusation of blaming it on the other person, like especially with a partner, it, I, I think it’s really good to check in and be like, it feels like this to me. Is this what’s happening? So that then your partner can be like, that’s not what I’m experiencing at all. And then you stop the conflict in that way before it even begins because you’re able, you’re instead of accusing your partner right off the bat, you’re saying, I’m having this experience, but maybe it’s just mine. So I’ll say like, I have a story that you think this to Jordan.
So just getting know our own ways of looking at the world really, I mean it helps so much because it, you’ll notice that literally your reality will start to shift. Like for me, day dating Jordan started to really shift this belief of I’m being made wrong because in every, well maybe not every, but in, in most close relationships in my life, not like family or romantic, I was really used to being loved by also being made wrong, like being made fun, of being criticized, all these things. And so when I was in a relationship with someone who literally never did that, it was still all that I saw and it, it felt like, oh, I, I didn’t finish the story of the witch thing. So like when I came <laugh>, I came back in cuz I was gonna say like, it felt like my reality just like broke. And that’s how it felt with the witch thing was, um, I remember so vividly this moment and like where I was standing in his bedroom where he was saying to me, what do you think is happening right now? And this is not, he was like, I’m telling you that that’s not my experience. Like my belief, I don’t have the belief that this is weird or that you’re doing a weird thing or that I disapprove of it.
And so I was looking at this man who I was so convinced was making me wrong for doing this witchy thing, and I could feel like my mind was like, it was so challenging to stay in that moment and my mind was just like fighting so hard to be right, but also there was this man that I really trusted and he’s right in front of me and he’s like, I’m telling you I don’t believe that that’s not what’s happening. And I sat with it and then I could, I started to examine like, well, why do I, like what is my evidence for that? Why do I think that he disapproves of it? Did he say he disapproves of it? Did he make a really mean face when I said I was? And I started to examine like what’s my actual evidence? That’s why I said it’s good to look at the specifics. When I started to look at what’s actual evidence, I was like, I don’t really have anything specific. Like there was nothing that he did that I could say back to him and say, because of this,
Like, I know that you disapprove of it because you acted this way. Like there was nothing there. And then I started to question all these little moments of evidence that I had thought that I had and I was like, oh my God, I just made them up. Like I made up what I saw. I saw the tiniest little thing and interpret. I immediately decided that it meant something that it didn’t mean. And so that’s what I was saying, it can be trippy in this way. Like I literally felt like I was in two different realities at once. Like I was like, this is the reality over here that he’s in where he’s saying this is not what happened. And then this is the reality that I’m in where I’m convinced that it happened. But actually when I really look at that, which is hard to do because we have to, then it, it breaks a part of our ego a little bit.
But I had to look at that and be like, I, I, that’s actually not true. Like I was so convinced that that’s what was happening, but it wasn’t actually happening at all. And I think that’s something that is a really just strange part of life is the way that we can go through our lives with us, a core belief of like, I’m not, usually there are things that are wrong with us, like, um, you know, I’m not doing it right or I’m wrong or I’m dumb, or, um, people are always this way to me. Or, um, even the way that like people project onto rich, people say like, people like don’t like rich people or they don’t like these types of people for these reasons. It’s like, no, they just don’t like that they’re not rich underneath it all. Like we project these things onto other people. Our jealousies are envy. Um, even our our own desires that we won’t allow ourselves to have. We project onto other people and we’re like, they must be that way or they must be thinking this.
And it’s like, that’s not what’s occurring. And yeah, for me, even though it’s quite challenging to really examine when it’s our, our own behavior that’s creating a situation for us, it’s also incredibly rewarding because it allows you, like these beliefs, these projections that we have are essentially like prisons in our own mind. And so when we’re able to look at them and take them apart, that’s how we get free also. So I hope you can start to look around and just consider, is this thing really this way or is it a projection? And it’s not always a projection, like I said, like sometimes we think things about people and they’re the truth. <laugh> we’re just like, yes, this person is that way. This person has been that way to me. Um, this is really not okay. And so there are places where not everything in the world is a projection, but um, often things are projections and there are often just our own patterns in our own wounding being played out over and over and over again.
And so if you have something, if something, if the same thing keeps happening to you or seems like it keeps happening to you with person after person after person, that’s typically a good sign that it might be a projection or there might be some stories at play there or, you know, and not always, like, sometimes we call on things over and over again just because we’re used to playing out a particular pattern. But there are good things to look at and and to get curious about in our relationship with others. And I think we, we project onto life too. You know, the last thing I’ll say is that like, I’m just thinking about the way that people will react like just to life situations. Like we can project in that way too. Like, um, people who like yell at cashiers or they’re convinced that like <laugh>, I don’t know, like the airplane’s not leaving on time because the world is out to get them and um, whatever. Like we have these stories and they’re, our stories matter a lot because they’re the thing that create our experience life for us.
So not trying to shame anyone for their projections, we all have projections, we all, um, do it, but it’s just a thing to look deeper at and to examine. Like, I, I noticed this, the the way that I’ve worked with this one and myself with meeting new people now is I, it is just like dropped away. And if I notice myself start to be like, oh, this, like, oh, but this person doesn’t like me, or like, oh, they’re not like answering this text or they’re not doing this thing, and like, that must mean that they don’t like me. I catch it and I’m like, yeah, but what’s more likely <laugh>? Is it more likely that this person doesn’t like me or is it more likely that I’m doing this thing that I’ve always done and I’m interpreting this behavior as meaning, as confirming this thing? And so, um, I think there’s a way to be ba to balance that between also trusting yourself.
And so often what I’ll do with myself is I’ll just say like, I’m noting that that happened and I’ll put it on the back burner in my mind and I’ll stay open here with this person and just see if there’s like more evidence to support this belief. Or if there’s evidence to support the opposite. Like, I’ll, I’ll also look for evidence that they do actually like me and to challenge, to challenge my own evidence in my mind. Okay, <laugh>, that’s all I have to say about projection for now. Um, I, I hope that that helps you with something in your own life and I have nothing to sell you and <laugh>. If you wanna stay connected, you can go to my email list, it’s demetra gray.com/newsletter and we’ll put it in the show notes. And that’s all for now.