“O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!” as Robert Burns implored.
Well that Power did give us the gift. The question is whether we choose to use it. The gift can be expressed in various ways: Carl Jung talked about “projection” meaning we project onto other people things we are not acknowledging about ourselves. Typically, we have a reaction to a behavior we see in others that we like or dislike and comment upon it, as if it’s completely external to ourselves.
“If you can spot it, you’ve got it,” as they say. How come? Well, it stems from our brains being above all pattern recognizers. Our brains notice things outside that we have coded inside. If we haven’t got the structure inside, we can’t see it on the outside. The technical name for the neural process is “Reticular Activation System.”
Don’t worry: You’ll see it when you believe it. Suspend disbelief and look for a while. You’ll see other people commenting on behavior in others you know they exhibit themselves. Guess what: You do that too.
This feature of how we function is great for learning about ourselves and making changes accordingly – reinforcing what we like and altering what we don’t like.
Here’s the takeaway…
When you notice yourself responding to someone else’s behavior, realize you are seeing yourself in them. What’s that telling you? How does the pattern fit you also?
What’s your experience of this gift we have?