Addictive Thinking: People Watching Is Your Mind Projecting

May 9, 2010 — Leave a comment

Have you ever caught yourself judging people that you are seeing for the first time, say in a crowd. While you are people watching you are actually projecting yourself, good or bad, onto others. When you have doubts about yourself or things that you don’t like about yourself…you see the same in others. This is because the doubts in yourself are actually based upon guilt and projection is a way for your ego to cast your guilt onto others.

Let me first start out by giving you my meaning of people watching. I’m not talking about the kind of people watching where you sit and take in the goodness of everyone and admire the way people are dressed, things like that. I’m talking about people watching where you rip people to shreds mentally (or out loud depending on present company). Where you judge people based on a 30 second viewing of them.

Why do I bring this up? Well I had the pleasure of going with my family to Disney World. As you can imagine, there is a huge crowd of people just about everywhere you turn. What I noticed about myself this time compared to my other experiences in crowds is that I didn’t focus all of my energy on the people around me. I actually focused on myself and my family and I had a great time.

How Is Judging Others Related To Projection?

It seems that whatever it is I’m feeling bad about myself about at the moment is the very thing I judge others on. It could be that I gained a few pounds, stopped going to the gym and that has caused some guilt within myself. I’m not doing everything I can to live a healthy life. Instead of dealing with that guilt I stuff it down, it comes out in the form of me calling someone else out on their unhealthy lifestyle. I rip someone apart (in my head) for being a little flabby around the mid-section or sweating profusely from just walking…things like that. This is just an example but you can see how it would go.

I know someone who whenever we are out at a restaurant or around others while eating, they start making comments about people shoving food in their mouths or being professional eaters…stuff like that. Sometimes it’s a little funny but mostly it makes me think about how this person I know really feels about themselves. Obviously they are projecting their guilt about their eating habits onto others.

How Does Projection Relate To Addictive Thinking?

I firmly believe that while we are sitting and judging others because of projection we are also exhibiting a form of isolation. If we pick someone apart that we have never met we are making it almost impossible for us to have any kind of connection with them. What have we learned in addiction recovery? Connecting with human beings is a huge part of our recovery.

Therefor eliminating human connection would fall in line with our addictive thinking behaviors that we are trying so hard to modify.

What Changed For Me?

How is it that now I can be in a huge crowd like the one at Disney World and not be preoccupied with judging people around me? I think it has something to do with me expressing my feelings more. I have talked openly with people about certain things that make me feel bad about myself. I don’t bottle it all up anymore and take it out on other innocent people in the form of snap judgments.

There was a time where I would have a hard time even enjoying a movie at the movie theater because without fail I would find someone in the theater doing something that would catch my attention and that person, not the movie, would become my main focus. I couldn’t enjoy myself because I was busy judging the actions of someone else.

I will admit that although I people watch substantially less often than I used to…I still catch myself doing it. What I try to do is just like any other behavior modification, recognize I’m doing it and put a stop to it immediately. I usually say to myself something along the lines of “it’s tough being perfect isn’t it” or “imagine what they could be saying about you”. Something that let’s myself know just how stupid this thinking and behavior is.

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