Projection, Amplification & Perception

faults

My teenage boys sometimes talk about certain people who consistently annoy and frustrate them. While I usually encourage them to try and see the good, some positive, in those people, I also let them know I understand the struggle.

My oldest son terms such a person his “mortal enemy” (he watches a lot of superhero movies), and I get the meaning behind this quip. Some people just bring out something in us we’d rather not see. Yet, it’s ultimately quite important that we not only see it but understand what that something is if we are to grow as individuals.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves.” (Carl Jung)

At mid-life, I now realize the humbling truth of this statement. I also realize how blind to it I was as a teenager and even through my twenties. Now, though, I look for it almost automatically when I’m irritated and frustrated with someone, and doing so almost always not only brings some revelation for my own growth but also helps me be more loving toward that person.

A college professor of mine talked about this idea as “projection and amplification.” He said that not only do we project something about ourselves — a weakness, bad habit, etc. — onto another, but we amplify it in them too. Doing so, we think, allows that same fault within us to not appear as prominent, if others even see it at all in light of how big it is in another person.

Here’s the hard truth of what both my professor and Jung were saying and what took me years to learn…

“Your perception of me is a reflection of you.”

“We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are.”

When we look at others, how we view them — our opinions of them — and ultimately how we treat them reveals more about who we are than it does about who they are. If we flip that, we realize that how others react to and treat us is often more a reflection of them than it is of us.

Does this realization change how you think about others?

For me, I try to understand what it is in someone who annoys and/or frustrates me that might be simply revealing a flaw or weakness in me. I attempt to let go of hurts others inflict because I realize there’s likely more going on beneath their surface than I could possibly know. I’ve simply learned that a struggle with another person can reveal much I need to learn about myself if I’m willing to see and admit the truth.

What can you do moving forward to apply this truth to your own life?

How to… Amplify

Choosing the Word

My family and I set goals together at the end of every calendar year. As already mentioned in Vacation Reflections: Resolutions, my husband and sons set their goals for 2013 rather quickly while I struggled setting mine.

After being drawn to the One Word 365 approach, I then focused in on selecting just the right word. As I am a recovering perfectionist, finding the “perfect” word seemed like a daunting challenge. Fortunately, and maybe because I was on vacation, I was able to sit quietly and notice God’s leading.

Just before going on vacation, I purchased a compact amplified Bible. While on vacation and soon after praying about a direction for my 2013 goals (it wasn’t an immediate “ah ha” moment right after praying), the word “amplified” on my Bible jumped out to me.

At that moment (and this was an actual “ah ha” moment), I knew I had found my focus for 2013. And as I studied the meaning and application of the word Amplify, my decision became increasingly solidified.

Connecting the Word

1-9-13 amplify beach 1

God had already prepared my heart for this focus. For about 6 months prior to purchasing the Bible, He drew my attention to reading the amplified translation during daily Bible study. I loved the depth this translation provided and continued reading it daily.

In addition to the spiritual application, the desire to go deeper made its way into other areas of my life as well. Physically, I felt like I was operating at 80% capacity and wanted to find out why and to do some tweaking to make headway into the remaining 20%. Socially, my weakest area, I had yet been able to truly make the progress I desired. I wanted to finally and fully know why. Other areas, as I note below, also called for amplification.

As I reviewed my 2012 blog posts, I realized that this desire to amplify could be also seen in much of what I was writing. Here are just a few examples:

So, when the word “amplify” came into my consciousness that relaxing day in Myrtle Beach, I knew that it was the focus I needed for 2013.

1-11-13 amplify

Applying the Word

When my family sets goals for the coming year, we focus in on 5 specific areas: Spiritual, Physical, Work/School, Social & Family. I knew what I wanted to work on in each of these areas already, so I then looked to key words that truly emphasized my intention to “amplify” in these focus areas.

The following resulted:

Spiritual – Generosity. Memorization. Transparency.

Physical – Posture. Stretching. Water.

Work – Projects. Crafting. Learning.

Social – Responding. Listening. Preferring.

Family – Individual. Relationships. Connections.

The key words in each of these areas reflect how I am purposefully choosing to amplify my life, and each involves taking what I am already doing in some way and adding power, detail, depth and quality.

This approach seems to leave room for change and flexibility and even spontaneity, not at all a natural quality for me, and I also find that these are the ways that I most notice the Holy Spirit moving in my life.

DISCUSSION: What would you list as important elements in how a person could “amplify” her life?

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