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What is Projection


Within numerous cases lie incidence which may inflict confusion upon whoever amidst such, namely the times when all of a sudden you are given a thick coat without asking just because your mom thinks you are cold or the countless occasions when your grandparents offers quantities of food suited only towards those competitive eaters for the sole reason that they think you are more hungry than you say you are. Such cases exhibit manifestations of what we call projection, which is everywhere in life.

Well, what is it then?

Projection, also known as "self-display", refers to a psychological phenomenon in which a person assumes that their beliefs or suppositions are aligned with those of the surroundings regardless of the truth of so, often taking shape in phrasal fragments such as “I feel...” or “I think...”. These words themselves may not convey anything practically, however, they are nevertheless commonly within the usage of subjectively unimportant psychological events by those subjective people. Such application are basically textbook definitions, or rather examples, of projection.

When to the ends of it, it is that projection can take place in many scenarios in different shapes or forms. For example, language projection, as the name suggests, is the phenomenon of appending terms that aligns with one’s feelings, including such as “I love you” and “I hate you”, oftentimes subconsciously. This kind of projection can be expressed verbally and is thus sensed by others with relative ease. Behavioral projection, on the other hand, despite its similarity to the previous category, is distinctive in that the external displays are not lingual but emotional as to the name, with cases such as showing aggression or indifference. Emotional projection is present when an individual attaches a sympathetic emote to arbitrarily a thing, as in the case of one’s smile gradually widen as the collective of the birds’ song grows louder if said one is an avid lover of birds. This is similar to mental projection, which is the shift in one’s beliefs or paradigms towards their ideas about the externals, with the difference that mental projection has no inherent way to tell from the outside. Last but not least, physical projection, different from the previous, relates to how one may choose to present oneself in the reference frame that is their mental processes.

Projection usually occurs as an unconsciousness process. In psychotherapy, projection is an important therapeutic method, as many psychologists hold the belief that it is a self-defense mechanism, being closely related to concepts such as egocentrism and narcissism. According to Sigmund Freud, the “self” is composed of three parts, namely the id, the ego, and the superego. When the world as one interprets fails to match what one feels that they need from said world, the “superego” or the “ego” would arrive to suppress or transform the latter. When such remedial attempts fail, the need to seek support and recognition from the former, the outside world, thus appears or reappears.

Projection may affect one in a board of ways, both in positive and negative lights. Negatively, psychological projection may lead to one’s inaccurate evaluation of oneself and others, in which such a mismatch can create dissatisfaction. For example, one may attribute one’s failures to solely external factors such as the acts of other individuals while attributing the fruits of effort exclusively to oneself should it be a success. Looking at it in a different perspective, when one’s projection exhibit that what one is projecting is disliked by the surroundings, they, too, may impose their own projections, such as that said one is selfish, apathetic or untrustworthy, resulting in an unfairly unfavorable social environment for said one as a result.

On the other hand, projection is also the source of many positive effects, as psychological projection can promote an individual’s self-knowledge and self-growth, improving the level of mental health as a result. By reflecting on and recognizing what they themselves are, individuals can better understand their desires, motivations, and values, thus taking helpful actions amounting towards self-development. Mental projection especially can help individuals to better understand others and the environment as a whole, leading to communication and cooperation with greater affinity interpersonally. In the end, such abilities may make relationships healthier and more harmonious, laying the foundation to an individual’s tangible development in the great society in which we are all a part of.

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