I was sitting in a chocolate store in Roncesvalles about a week ago, eating some ice cream. A woman came in, ordered and paid. I noticed myself during the exchange feeling a certain annoyance. Not malevolent anger, but not nothing, either.

After she left I tried to figure out why I’d felt so judgemental. She was merely DOING THE EXACT SAME THING I WAS DOING. Let me restate my thought another way, in case the CAPS weren’t clear. I was criticizing her for doing THE EXACT SAME THING I WAS DOING!

I’ve never understood why I can judge a person, have enmity for someone whose only fault lies in…being like me. How does that make sense?

The gift of projection, if we choose to view it as such, is that it allows us to see a part of ourselves in another person. Oftentimes, the part we’re seeing is one we may have disowned earlier in our lives. That this lady was eating ice cream was not the point of concern for me. The (unconscious) issue I had was that she seemed to possess a quality in her I hadn’t accepted in me. If I’m being totally honest, the real issue I had was seeing the distaste I have for my own vulnerability, projected onto her.

Wouldn’t it be a better use of my time - and energy - if I welcomed that ‘part’ back into the fold, instead of casting it onto her?

Abbey MendelsonComment