Anais Nin reflects on this idea by suggesting “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”
You see, we are all viewing ourselves, each other, and the world around us through lenses that are coloured by our past.
Past memories, experiences, emotions and unconscious beliefs make up those lenses. These lenses operate out of our awareness or on autopilot and we can only view things differently when we acknowledge that projection is at play. There are probably thousands of different ways the people in your life perceive you, and it all stems from the filters or lenses at play for them.
For those who struggle with the potential judgement of others that comes with social anxiety, understanding this concept can be freeing. The way someone speaks to you, behaves around you, or what they believe about you is really not about you at all...it’s a projection of their own unresolved past baggage. Oh and by the way, the same goes for how we treat others! We see through the same lenses and filters from the past.