Over the recent months I’ve experienced yet another recurring situation where someone had been projecting their fears and insecurities onto someone I was helping. Unlike other times however, where the projections were obvious and clearly wrapped in negative insecurity, this situation was different – the projection was subtle and pitched as a positive opportunity for person, rather than a negative one.
The first manifestation of the projection was the words; “this would mean a promotion for you, and more money”. When the person I was helping told me this, she immediately followed it by saying, “and I didn’t even care about getting promoted, I just want to do what I love.”
After the initial discussion about promotion however, the person gradually became seduced by the opportunity on the table. “Of course, more money would be great,” she said once seemingly justifying the opportunity to herself. But little did they know that the promotion was really just their boss’s unconscious projection of their own definition of success onto them. That is, the boss had staked their life on progressing through the corporate world. They had no clear sense of purpose and so were using progression as a superficial definition of success and a source of distraction from living a full and happy life.
Becoming seduced by the idea of promotion, the person began to forget who they were and what was most important to them. They’d also forgotten their purpose in life, and so;
Promotion had become the more important than purpose.
The possession had become more important than the soul.
The ultimate consequence was that under the pressure they eventually unraveled. Hence, their performance declined, resulting in the promotion being swiftly ripped from their hands. Despite this perceived failure and the negative feedback from their boss however, the person was pleased – they’d escaped from the prison of another’s projections!
The moral of this story is simple:
Listen to your heart and soul – define what success and happiness truly means to you. And when offers are put onto the table, assess them against this definition. Too often the offers for success made by others are more about them then they are about us. However, if we know what success and happiness truly mean to us, then the likelihood of being seduced by the ‘materialistic and superficial’ diminishes.
Stay strong to your purpose!