Perception is Projection

Have there ever been times in your life when you met someone and thought:”God, he/she is really arrogant?” Or maybe, after you talked to someone, you thought: “Damn, he/she is opinionated. I’m glad that I’m not like that!”. I know that I myself have had a couple of situations like that, and only once I started studying Neuro Linguistic Programming did I realize the mistake I had made, the injustice I had inflicted upon all those people. Why? Because perception is projection.

While this sounds a touch cryptic, it actually means that we are fully in charge of what we perceive from other people. Simply put, what when we recognize others as being arrogant or opinionated or any other charming description, we actually recognize a part of ourselves, otherwise how would we be able to know what it was? So, basically, what we see in others is really ourselves!

What others do or how they act is their choice, it is our choice though how we perceive their actions. So, to a certain extent, people in our lives will act the way we unconsciously want them to (akin to a self fulfilling prophecy). That means that we get what we focus on! Hence, we project onto others how we want them to act, and once this projection or judgment comes to our conscious attention, it is our projection.

At the end, this means that you will see in people whatever you want to see, and you will only perceive things that you have in you. So, instead of jumping to judgments, make sure you are giving the person a fair chance. Of course you will still come across certain people you might not like and at least you gave them a fair chance. Furthermore, focus on what you want, and feel free to project on to others the way you want to be yourself!

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11 thoughts on “Perception is Projection

  1. ajayniranjan says:

    [[[[[ At the end, this means that you will see in people whatever you want to see, and you will only perceive things that you have in you. So, instead of jumping to judgments, make sure you are giving the person a fair chance. Of course you will still come across certain people you might not like and at least you gave them a fair chance. Furthermore, focus on what you want, and feel free to project on to others the way you want to be yourself!]]]]

    Great thoughts ..

    Yes ! You are very right

    How It can be possible ….

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    It is about experience for making understanding …. The ultimate wisdom can not be transferred …..It can be learned ….feel ….experience.

    Warm regards
    ajay singh niranjan
    Delhi – India

  2. Yea, perceptions are generally formed by self judgment. We are our worse critics and we see ourselves in those we like and dislike!

    The difficulties with stopping the judgments is becoming aware that our judgments are often unconscious mind holding the beliefs in place.

    Well done!
    Cathy Breshears
    http://www.cathybreshears.wordpress.com

  3. nina says:

    i am a one-woman verbal campaign to salvage the true meaning of the word “perception,” and what it means to “perceive.”

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/perception

    i have heard many times, “that’s just your perception,” when what is actually meant is, “that’s just your projection.” one doesn’t perceive the world as a hostile place, one projects hostility onto the world. since most people aren’t aware of the concept of projection, they mistake projections for perceptions, because a projection can seem very real and immediate. and so the two words become interchangeable. using the word “perception” interchangeably with “projection” takes away society’s awareness of the meaning of “perception” and the role it plays in our lives.

    perception is not projection. perception is the taking in of objective sensory information, and one of the things it does is allow human beings to know when their physical and emotional boundaries are being violated. true perception is infallible, and at the same time, often highly suppressed by the perceiver, especially women, because of societal or cultural pressures, including the diminishing of the value and reality of perceptions due to its confusion with another word.

    i have heard, “that’s just your perception,” in a attempt to invalidate a woman’s testimony as to the predatory, threatening, or inappropriate behavior of a man. it is not a man or woman’s projection that another person is standing too close, or that a comment is personal and violating. the number one defense used against women who have reported sexual assault or domestic violence is, “she’s crazy.” the ancient “its-all-in-your-head” argument is based on the society’s undervaluing of perception itself, and this is continued, in part, by its confusion with the word and concept of “projection.”

    please do not invalidate perception as a concept having its own definition and independent purpose. women need this word. we all need this word to stand on its own.

  4. Andy Smith says:

    My take on this is that ‘perception is projection’ is an oversimplification, implying that the equation (a ‘complex equivalence’ in the NLP jargon) is always true, all of the time.

    *Sometimes* a perception is a projection – other times, stuff just happens. Because our self-awareness is not perfect, we can’t always tell which is which. So whenever we experience something bad happening to us, it’s always worth asking ourselves ‘What do I need to learn from this?’ – even if we can’t initially see any possible way we could have contributed to the situation.

    Sometimes we will get an answer, sometimes we won’t. But it’s always worth asking, because if there is something we can do about the situation, how else are we going to know?

    Nina, defining perception as *just* the taking in of objective sensory information is I think equally reductionist. The dictionary definition you link to includes ‘cognition’ and ‘understanding’ – there is room in there for filtering out, value judgements, and what you tell yourself about the incoming information. Perception, like most things to do with human beings, is complex and thus not always easy to think or talk about.

    The least we can do is be careful about sweeping statements like ‘p=p’. When challenged on this point, those trainers who use it tend to say ‘Obviously it’s not supposed to be taken literally’ – but a lot of their students do, since that’s the way it is presented in the training materials.

  5. Andy Smith says:

    Well, that’s inspired a blog post – thanks to Nina and ‘mysteriously unidentified mindmastery blogger’ (there’s no way of knowing from your ‘about’ page that I can tell – I think I used to know, and I’ve narrowed it down to two guys, but I can’t remember which one of you it is!) for helping me to clarify my thoughts on this matter!
    http://coachingleaders.squarespace.com/blog/perception-is-projection-really.html

  6. i wish i would get the advantages and disadvantages of perception in projection

  7. Chad says:

    This is very interesting for me. Please explain how subconsciously people will act how we want them to when we don’t like the particular perception we dwell on. Why would we want them to be arrogant? Is this because we subconsciously want to?
    If you can recommend other passages I would love that thanks again

    Chad

  8. N. F. Hansam says:

    “we actually recognize a part of ourselves, otherwise how would we be able to know what it was?”

    I don’t really understand why you c up with such a thought. Say, I meet a charming guy, of course this is my perception, than I say “wow, how cute that guy”…So does it mean I’m actually cute?

  9. N. F. Hansam says:

    One more thing. Say, I think that guy is a really arrogant guy and I ask some friends to say a word representing that guy’s personality, and their answer is ARROGANT. Does it mean that my friends whom I asked before are also ARROGANT?

  10. […] believe someone or even agree with them, show respect however.  Everything single person’s perspectie on reality is false 100% of the time.  This is because of our past experiences and knowledge which […]

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