Tuesday, 22 September 2015

On Not Judging Others and Psychological Projection

Judging people says more about who we are than who they are.

One of my neighbours in Toronto used to walk her dog in a stroller. I always thought that people who did this are ridiculous. Until that one day when I had a talk with the woman on the elevator and she told me that her dog is old, blind, and sick. I almost wept. 

A woman running on the beach while talking on her mobile phone. Who does that and why? Well, when your daughter is mentally challenged and you got the chance to leave her at home for an hour by the time you exercise yet still need to reassure her over the phone if she's afraid, you CAN do that.

The young boy you bullied and hit on the head after school has a rare form of brain tumour.

The girl you and your friends made fun of on the beach because she had no boobs had her breast removed at 23 because of cancer.

The friend who's always tight on money has a secret gambling problem.

The previous examples are simple reminders that we rarely ever know the big picture. Therefore, judging people based on what we can perceive with our limited senses becomes a futile, superficial, unhealthy habit.

Because we never know the full stories, we never know what people went/are going through in their lives. Yet, we tend to always quick to jump to judgmental assumptions based on what they do — such as their behaviours and actions — or based on their past, or even on their appearance.

However, the information we possess about those we judge is usually lacking, which makes us oblivious to why those people do what they do or have done what they did. Or as Carl Jung truthfully put it: “Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.”

When we judge, we use our own standards to do so. We sort of forget, or perhaps pretend to forget, that being humans, we, too, have faults and imperfections and are constantly making mistakes. And to feel better about ourselves, we focus on the different kinds of faults, imperfections, and mistakes in others then we judge them.

Now, generally speaking, people don’t see us as we genuinely are. They see what we project, who we pretend to be. Similarly, what we see from them is what they are projecting — the mask they wear. It is usually an edited version of our reality, which is an expression of the ego self. Many go to great lengths by lying, faking, and pretending just to maintain this egoic self-image. Yet, some way or another inner thoughts and emotions always affect appearances. So the more one hides, the more it shows.

Sometimes, we feel comfortable enough towards another person to whom we open up, showing our true core. Those others, however, will still see what they are ready to see. Because understanding always depends on the level of perception, which itself stems from our conception of the world we’re living in.

You see, the outside world is a mere reflection of the inner one. The projection is simply a mirror. We are always projecting our internal thoughts into the physical realm. People do not realise that in most cases how they feel about others is principally determined by their feelings towards themselves.

When people are unconscious of their own dark sides, they tend to project the darkness outward into others and condemn evil in them; they transmute their inner pain and self dislike into outward aggression. By doing so, they justify the evil in others without ever admitting, or mayhap even accepting that evil exists in them, too — at least to a certain degree. When thoughts, motivations, desires, or feelings cannot be accepted as one’s own, they are dealt with by being placed in the outside world and attributed to others. The inner pain is therefore converted into outer aggression. This happens when people choose not to take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions. It is precisely what makes them judge, categorise, castigate, and vilify others. This is the basis of Psychological Projection.

As Carl Jung once again explained, when inner darkness is not confronted, people remain controlled by their own demons rather than the other way round. For they don’t see things as they are, but as they themselves are.

Further, when judging becomes a compulsive preoccupation, like the case with some, there is no time left to live one's live or to grow through it.

The truth is, the impressions we form and the conclusions we jump to are largely affected by our own past experiences. Because, again, the outside world is a reflection of the inner one. In most cases, the process happens subconsciously.

So for example, a child who had witnessed a heavily-tattooed man commit a crime may grow up fearing all heavily-tattooed people, without making the connection or understanding why. That’s how the subconscious mind is powerful; that’s why it’s the true pilot in the equation.

Until you face your own shadow you will keep encountering its reflection in others. Everyone has a story if we are willing to listen. Let us never judge a book by its look.

On a parallel note, if I happen to have one wish, it would be for humans to have an innate ability which allows them to view a 30-second video-like flash from the day of everyone they deal with — beginning from the moment they get up in the morning till the time they interact. So as youre about to open the window and swear at that lady who cut you off in traffic, you are instead reminded by how this single mother of three has a tough life between taking care of her dying mother at the hospital and picking up her children from school.

I think this would be enough for us to live in a more loving, empathetic, and less judgmental world. For more understanding always means less fear, which in turn means less judging.

“When you consider what nice people talk about when they sit around the dinner table and have an opportunity to nurture their collective ego, you’ll find that the most fascinating topic of conversation is the nasty people… How awful they are, what dreadful things they do, and, ‘what is it all coming to?’ And this very, very satisfactory, condemnatory conversation nurtures your ego, but people who do that don’t seem to realize that they thereby depend on the nasty people in order to know that they’re nice. They are, as a matter of fact, highly indebted to them.”
— Alan Watts


Letting Go of Getting Offended and Taking Things Personally

What Is Fear of Abandonment and How to Overcome It

Codependency: What Being Addicted to Someone Means

The Significance of Letting Go

What Is Overcompensation?

The Parable of the Cow: You Are Not Your Thoughts

To Forgive Is Not To Reconcile

Things I Got Rid Of To Become Happier

Who Are We? 

My Journey Towards Self-Transcendence

Change Is The Only Constant

The Intertwining of Genius and Insanity

Why I Share Stuff

For The Love Of Storytelling

The Significance of Letting Go

Unfollow the Crowd

The Art of Approaching Women 


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