Beating the Projection-Denial cycle

My “living from the inside out” is not a new idea, just my feeling-oriented way of describing some well-known principles of psychology (and therapy). It feels like you are coming from the inside, kind of like throwing side-arm.

There is a term in psychology “internal referenting” or “self-referenting”, which describes people who check in with themselves as they make choices — rather than imagining what somebody else might think (this is called “Projection”).

Living from the inside out by being internally self-referenting is really the only way off of the projection-denial treadmill, which most of us are on a great deal of the time in this image-crazy society of ours. We project whenever we worry about what other people think (or might think). This is always Projection because we can never accurately know what someone else is thinking … ever — even when they tell us! There’s always so much subjective interpretation on our part. It’s more like projecting a movie upon the screen of our mind!

Denial always joins the party, if only to deny that we are projecting! Because we want to be right. In a world that punishes wrongs, feeling right feels safe to us. But living from the inside out does a judo-chop on the whole downward cycle of Projection-Denial. It intervenes by specifically letting go of caring about what anybody thinks.

The wise man in me likes to say “I don’t have much respect for opinions … including my own!” Opinions can be intuition’s stepping stones to knowledge, but if we discover that they are projections and not reality-based, we need to just cast them aside. We should never take opinions too seriously. In Zen, they say “Cease to cherish your opinions!” I like that.