“I’ll have what she's having." You remember the famous line from When Harry Met Sally, right? When we see something that strikes a cord of desire in us, that is a form of projection. It's a human occurrence, but it's not arbitrary. We each project our very own latent or disavowed gifts and possibilities onto other people because we don't have comfortable access to those traits anymore. Why? Because the family and cultural ecosystem we grew up in conditioned us to believe they were "trouble" and we adopted that view in order to fit in and to stay safe. The good news is that those parts are still available to us somewhere in our mind/body, or we wouldn't have the projection in the first place. A positive projection is great information that we can start using today! If you can take that intel and get curious about what parts of that projection never got enough air space, then you can start to nurture that part and and try new things!
Natalie* has noticed a growing unease with her current work. She values what she does, but she senses that there is something more she is meant to explore as an artist and creator. At the time of our talking, she vacillated between a conviction that exploring a new creative path felt right and a convincing self doubt that said definitively, "You don't have a good enough idea” to warrant such a shift. Then there it was. She remembered a strong projection she had on a fellow creator whose work hit all the values and had all the qualities that made Natalie see her as an ideal. When she got curious about the projection, she began to see that in important ways she shared similar values and had exhibited many of those qualities herself over her life. As her narrative began to shift, she was willing to feel deeper into those tender but eager parts of her desires without getting scared away by the parts of her that are still afraid.
Takeaway: Notice what you see that strikes a chord of desire in you. Ask yourself: What is the reflection of my true self that I can sense there? If I give that part some space, what becomes possible?