If you spot it, you got it

pointingFrom a very early age, we learned to blame others for everything unpleasant that occurred. While blaming is a great strategy for creating separation in relationship, it is nothing compared to the mechanics of projection.

Blaming is done consciously and with awareness; projection is an entirely unconscious activity generated from deep down in our unconscious minds. This is where we store a stinking heap of horrible, rotting emotional garbage. Generated as a result of having been shamed over something, it is pushed down and kept there, out of sight and away from the light, to ensure no one (certainly not the owner!) shall ever be acquainted with it again.

This shadow material offers a vast opportunity for creating separation: Separation within ourselves, because it splits us into two, the part we present to the world and the part we keep nicely hidden; and separation from others because we subconsciously attract into our lives others exhibiting some aspect of our own self-hatred, which we project onto them as a way to be rid of it. The latter is the mechanism of projection.

Now that you have awakened and are dedicated to expanding in love, your immediate task is to undo this process of projection. As it says in #10 on the Radical Forgiveness Worksheet, which you can find by signing up for the Free Stuff in Colin’s Cafe.

“I now realize that I get upset when someone resonates in me something I have denied, repressed, and projected onto them. I now see the truth to the adage, ‘If you spot it, you got it!’ This person is reflecting what I need to love and accept in myself. I am now willing to take back the projection and own it as part of my shadow. I love and accept this part of me.”

It’s this recognition that allows us to “take out the trash” and release our emotional garbage. Quantum physicists have actually proven that emotions condense as energy particles which, if not expressed as emotion, become lodged in the spaces between atoms and molecules. The filter is literally becoming clogged. Once the emotion has become a particle, it is much more difficult to release.

Holding on to our emotional garbage and spewing it haphazardly at others not only causes separation, it can cause physical illness as well. I’ll talk more about that next week. For now, try this exercise: make a list of two people you have disliked and list each and every quality you found unacceptable. Dig deep and be honest. What are your feelings of disapproval and why are you having them? Now for the bit you won’t like:

Embrace your shadow by writing down how these qualities are being mirrored back to you, and be willing to love and accept them as part of you. You’ll be glad you did.

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21 Responses to If you spot it, you got it

  1. Thank you! You’re calling for us to do courageous work. It’s good because I can purge the stuff that I do not want in my being. It’s cleaning and clearing work. Peace.

  2. James McNamara says:

    I cannot believe how much that this resonates with me. I can come up with 5 people whom I do not like and list characteristics about them that may mirror back to me.
    What I really found from this is that when you have two people who make their entire conversation a projection of the things that they find wrong about others. I think it is called gossip – and I used to love it!!! Now I have come to hate it!!!! It serves no good purpose and completely blocks all healing.



    • Colin says:

      The people we dislike the most are our greatest teachers, for they may be offering us the opportunity to heal by either:
      (a) mirroring what we hate in ourselves and have denied, repressed and projected onto them.
      (b) forcing us to look at something we have repressed and which remains as a core belief or unhealed trauma
      (c) keeping us on track with our mission.

    • Sabine says:

      Hi Buddy, it is an eternal law, what Colin calls, if you spot it you got it. But – it is not always easy to find it in ourselves. You can manage if you keep your attention on this disapproved behaviour with the intention to recognize it in your self. It may come along in a different “dress”, but the feel is similar. For example:
      maybe you get upset abou people constantly being late and you are always in time. But maybe you are unreliable in a different area?!
      The super good fact is, if we embrace our shadow behaviour, we will have nothing but compassion with people who are still acting it out unconsciously or consciously. But we cannot get upset or annoyed about them anymore. Maybe we like to help them see…
      Hope this could help you?
      Love from Italy, Sabine

  4. Mary Vogel says:

    “. . . maybe you get upset about people constantly being late and you are always in time. But maybe you are unreliable in a different area?!” Excellent point, Sabine! It certainly helps me to understand the “if you spot it” paradigm better.

  5. Thanks Colin, for bringing this subject into the ‘open’, for all to see!
    Margaret Taylor.

  6. Truth is sometimes uncomfortable – I have learned to check my inner GPS for just
    such feelings and “take back” my projections – awareness is of course key and the
    Holy Spirit the great helper/healer! Thank you Colin for your insights and love
    of the ACIM material.

  7. louisa says:

    Thanks for putting this “looking at others” in the past. I don’t find myself in judgment/upset with others very often; my judgments are mostly of myself, tho i do still get upset with institutions, big business, etc. Now i know to look at those i’ve been upset with in the past as a way to complete the excercise in the self-acceptance module.

  8. I love the way the space for “You Spot it You Got It” is incorporated into the Satori Game. It’s such an important concept and that phrase makes it so easy to understand the meaning of projection.

    Negative Projection the way you have explained it here is important to keep people out of blaming and shaming others. And the exercise you gave is the key to finding it. But the concept of POSITIVE Projection is one I chose to put in my book, “Talking to My Selves: Learning to Love the Voices in Your Head,” for readers to expore in the exercise after the chapter on “The Shadow”.

    Some people (such as myself in my early years) suffer from an Inferiority Complex while “projecting” many GOOD qualities onto others. When I did this exercise for myself by writing a list of all the people I liked/loved/respected the most in my life, and listed all the qualities in them I looked up to, I realized I had made a list of all the best qualities in myself! Quite eye-opening! Many of those people are gone from my life, but the love and respect I have for myself has increased tremendously since then.

    • Glenda says:

      I wonder if it’s true that if we recognise something in others but have no emotion or negative response to it, have we had it but now healed it? I think that is another wonderful idea Debbie Unterman to look at those positives. It can be very difficult for some to find positive things about themselves and this would be a great tool to use.

      • Yes. If it doesn’t “push your buttons” or you have no “juice” around it, then it’s not bringing up your stuff. Maybe you’ve healed it, or it’s just no “thing” to you. We all come in with different issues to work on.

        For instance to take it to the Positive Projection side, I comment in my book that I have no envy or jealousy of those great singers I see on American Idol. I just enjoy and respect them because I am not a singer and I know it.

        But I did feel a pang of jealousy over great healers, or you could say I was in awe of their abilities. Thus, I knew I needed to develop those traits in myself. Now the jealousy is gone. I feel they are my peers.

  9. Silver says:

    Hi Colin, Still trying to wrap my head around this. Are you saying that if we spot something (Eg. like a core value or belief that someone else has that doesn’t resonate with our core values or beliefs) it represents an unhealed part in ourselves otherwise we wouldn’t notice it??…Or would we notice it but just not be affected by it?….

    Personally I am wondering how to reconcile that in my mind , as in, what if I still prefer my core value or belief ( Eg. To me , while making Money/ and my career work is important to me it does not take priority in my life , my family and my loved ones do). If my partners beliefs are: Money/work is more important than love/life and has chosen to work extra overtime shifts etc when he could spend time with me and the family, is where we have had our biggest disagreements. I know where this comes from in my past, as I was raised as a female to “believe” that I am “less than” a male. I have worked hard to “know” this isn’t true, yet when he chooses “work” over me (and the family) I not only “spot it” it hurts me to my core whenever it happens. So, how do I “heal” that within me if I don’t agree with his core value in that department? What is my shadow then and how does one reconcile this as part of radical forgiveness and not be triggered by it? Or is it time to have another heart to heart with my partner or leave him if it continues to happen, as I don’t like how it makes me “feel”?
    Thoughts anyone?
    Thanks so much :))

    • Silver, it sounds to me like you have a specific issue with your husband. Sometimes Shadow work isn’t the most appropriate response to seek to work out an issue. Whenever you are working too hard to make a theory fit a certain circumstance, it may be better to go about it another way.

      You see how Colin answered a previous question by saying it can help to look at people we dislike (or I’ll say “hate”) the most that we can learn lessons? Well, you don’t hate your husband. So you don’t need to try to make this fit that particular instance.

      It sounds like you and your husband just need a little “couples’ work” to help you each understand how to meet your individual and family needs.

    • Colin says:

      Hi Silver,

      It does sound as though you need to evaluate your relationship and make some important decisions about how you feel about yourself. I would recommend you get a copy of my book, Expanding into Love. It has a lot of instruction on how to renegotiate your relationship and how to decide whether to stay or go.


  10. helen says:

    i would like to do this, but i have a problem with your word “dislike”. to me it seems too simplistic! Could it be an umbrella term for ” feel uncomfortable around” would like not to ever be face to face with ” someone you feel “hurt by” – all those? Because that better describes those I may want to do this exercise about. Thank you.

  11. Barbara Berg says:

    I agree with you Colin. I need to get your book about this. It seems hard to tell the difference between “projection” and “self protection”. What would you say to this? I love your work!

    • Colin says:

      We should never think “our healing” is more important then protecting ourselves in an abusive situation. Maybe our Soul came here to learn self love and how to set our own boundaries. That said, once we have removed ourselves, we need to look at the others behavior and see what it is in our shadow that is wanting to come to the light.

    • Colin says:

      Hi Barbara,
      There’s no difference. Either way it is a refusal to love yourself. In the one case you are projecting your self hatred onto another person, and in the other you are projecting onto your body or even onto your so-called inner-child. That’s why we have a meditation called, A Wake for the Inner Child.

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