When I first decided to leave Wall Street to follow my dreams of world travel, I received a variety of responses from my loved ones and co-workers. Some were shocked, some were envious, some disappointed. I found out that several of my co-workers called me “crazy” behind my back. A few good friends were genuinely enthusiastic about my choice. Others felt uncomfortable and silently rejected me from their lives.
When this happened, I tried not to take it personally. I realized that following what’s true for me might mean triggering something negative for someone else. When we do “good” for ourselves, we may automatically think of the response of what other people might think about our actions. Being ourselves and following our hearts can set people off. We might try to dim ourselves down to make others feel more comfortable. We do this to protect ourselves from negative projection — what you could also call judgment.
We’ve all projected and received projection. On our bad days, we’ve called people “bad.” And on our good days, we find smiling people everywhere. Some people are so intuitive and empathic that they can anticipate the projections and needs of others and become “the kind of person” the other wants them to be. This is often what happens when children try to please their parents. They become the person the parent wants them to be, rather than become who they truly are.
When the fear of projection keeps us from expressing and being our true selves, it helps to have tools to stay clear and free of the expectations, needs and desires of others. We can be open to others, but not feel encumbered or obliged by them. We can meet people, while also being true to ourselves.
Here’s a tool I’d like to share with you that keeps you from taking on the energy of others. It’s a technique that I learned from meditation that you can bring into any aspect of your life. I hope this works as well for you as it does for me. Would love to hear your experience with it.
Always love, Sura