Projection and the Voice of Our Beliefs

“You are such a drama queen,” my wife comments with a laugh as I hobble across the kitchen with a pained look on my face, my gait being the stiff legged aftermath of a particularly tough 7 mile hill run the previous day.

It is her way of saying that my sensitivity, to some very sore leg muscles in this case, was showing. I don’t take her comment seriously.

After 33 years of marriage, I know my wife’s comment is simply a projection of her belief that people should be strong and never complain.

As a Highly Sensitive person, if I’m experiencing discomfort I certainly am going to react to it.

A trait of my Highly Sensitive nature, it’s these ongoing reactions which often cause projections or the driving voice behind my or another person’s beliefs to appear in my daily environment. What can make them dangerous, is if I were to believe the comment and then internalize it as a truth.

So as Highly Sensitive People, what can we do with these projections which are often directed at us?

For me, I follow a slogan used in 12-Step programs which states: take what fits and toss the rest. In other words, I measure the validity of the comment against my values. If the comment fits with my values, then I will contemplate it as a possible lesson in personal growth. If it doesn’t fit my values, it gets tossed.

Another way of spotting projections is to listen for the voice of ego driving a comment.

Ego in this case, is simply the part of our psyche which makes daily decisions and takes care of business. Ego drives the bus of our thinking and is necessary for our survival. It is constantly surveying our environment for hazards to our well being so by nature, it is going to have a very opinionated voice in our thinking as to what is “good” and what is “bad”.

The key here is to recognize that voice. I call it the strict voice of parent due to its judgmental nature.

There are many voices behind our thoughts, the ego only being one of them. However, ego speaks in a very loud voice and can drown out the voice of our intuition. That’s why you want to always measure a comment against your values first because your intuition speaks clearly through your values.

A gift of learning to meditate is that you be able to recognize the voice of ego very quickly as it tries to dominate the quiet stillness of your practice.

Some years ago, I had an intuitive experience through a dream in which I was in a man’s body as he died. I term it an experience due to the tactile sensations I experienced; it felt as if I was sucked into his body and then experienced all of his thoughts and physical sensations as he died.

But what affected me most, was feeling the anguished awareness of his ego realizing it was moments away from dissolving into nothingness.

While it has taken me years of contemplation to begin to wrap my mind around that experience, it taught me that life is a singular experience of learning; its lessons to be tasted the same way we taste the different ingredients of our meals.

Projections are one of those flavors, the constant voice of belief creating a shadow against the backdrop of our inherit sensitivity.

So how have projections affected your life? Please feel free to share those experiences with us.


Photo credit via Rayne Dowell

Ed enjoys sharing stories highlighting the connection between Highly Sensitive People and their naturally intuitive nature. An avid distance runner, Ed loves to explore self-awareness through a good conversation.

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