April 17, 2024
Science and Spirituality with Deepak Chopra

How We Sabotage Our Relationships.

Are your relationships suffering? Do you ever feel misunderstood or defensive? In this episode, Deepak Chopra explores how our own anxieties and insecurities can negatively impact our connections with others. By understanding the concept of projection, we can learn to build stronger, more fulfilling relationships.

Listen to the podcast here

How We Sabotage Our Relationships

Understanding Projection And How We Use It In Our Lives And The Damage It Can Do

As we explore our roadless travel together, the road to enlightenment, to freedom, to moksha, to the ultimate reality, the divine within, to Brahman, and the freedom to live in possibility. What I would like to address is something that interferes with personal relationships, romantic love, social interactions, and causes an immense amount of misunderstanding about the nature of love, but also causes immense suffering for us and for all those with whom we are in relationship.

What is that? That is what I would say is an overwhelming projection in every relationship and every circumstance. What do I mean by projection? We project to the world and to other people’s situations, circumstances, and events but particularly in relationships. We project our state of awareness and frequently a very divided, anxious, and suffering mind.

We project that to others. In many relationships, this projection is mutual and ultimately, fractures the relationship. It breaks open the relationship. That’s where relationships, in particular those that we call romantic relationships, don’t last long because they’re not based on love. They’re being interfered with by what we call the projections of the suffering divided mind.

Understanding Projection

Let me explain this a little more. In every situation, every circumstance, every relationship, and every encounter, what you’re experiencing is the world and even your body is a projection of the state of awareness you’re in at that moment. What does the state of awareness mean? It can mean many things. In this case, I am speaking of the state of awareness of what eastern traditions called the subtle body, which is the mind where we experience thoughts, feelings, memories, emotions, and imagination.

Tweet: Your state of awareness affects your ability to discern when your ego is projecting.

9 Behaviors That Ruin Relationships

That is part of our subtle body and mind. Intellect where we make choices, conscious or unconscious. Also, where we discern, make choices, and think we are being rational even though all rationality is based on magical lies. In any case, the mind is projecting and the intellect is projecting, then the ego, which is our self-image, which is not who we are. Who we are is the self, but the self-image is what I previously called object referral and what others think of us that is being reprojected as the world of relations, situations, and circumstances. These are nine behaviors and they’re all projections of the fearful and divided mind that will all fracture your relationships at some point sooner than later. Here we go.

Number one, you are defensive even before you’re criticized or attacked. Let’s say your wife says, “The garage door was left open last night.” You immediately jump and say, “It’s not my fault. I didn’t do it.” She didn’t say that. Whenever you project this defensiveness to someone before you’re even criticized, you’re projecting your fears and your inadequacies to them.

Also, in the same way when you feel the need to explain your choices. A simple thing, “Where were you last night?” Instead of saying, “At a cocktail party or whatever.” You give a long explanation or a big story, justifying where you were. You weren’t asked for that. Whenever we give explanations for the choices we make, those explanations are all apologies in disguise. Ask yourself, “What am I apologizing about? What am I feeling guilty about?” That’s number one, being defensive and giving explanations.

Tweet: Whenever we give explanations for the choices we make, those explanations are all apologies in disguise.

Two are having extreme opinions. The Republicans are always wrong. The Democrats are always right or vice versa. Capitalism is better than communism. My religion is better than yours. God’s on my side. Not on yours when you go to war. All other extreme opinions, even things like about races, Jews know how to make money or African-Americans are good performers. Stereotyping basically. Stereotyping and labeling is a form of projection that will interfere with the truth, creativity, and joy. First is being defensive and giving explanations.

Second is too many extreme opinions or expressing extreme opinions and stereotyping. Number three is verbal formulas, “I’m like this. I’m not like this.” We started using recycling phrases, though they were profound at one time. They become repetitious and even what I would call profound statements become cliches. Snake and rope. The world is a dream, I do it. We recycle old phrases that are profound but when they become cliches, we lose the profundity. That’s the third projection that will increase suffering, verbal formulas.

What is the fourth? Feeling frequently misunderstood, “My husband doesn’t understand me. My significant other doesn’t understand me. My children don’t understand me. My lover doesn’t understand me.” You’re the one who’s projecting that to others you don’t understand. That’s another form of behavior. Feeling misunderstood or expressing that you’re misunderstood.

What’s another? Asking others for their opinion. If their opinion is not what you expect it to be or what you wanted to be, then you get upset. Simple examples like, “Do you think I look good in a red dress? No, I think you look good in a blue dress. I don’t look good in a red dress.” Now, you’re upset. “Do you think I should do such and such? No, you should do such and such.” Again, you’re feeling hurt by that, asking others for their opinion. If you want the opinion of others, then accept it without judgment. Otherwise, don’t ask. In fact, asking people for their opinion is basically not being sure of your own.

The sixth behavior and projection that interferes with relationships is difficulty having reading faces. A person’s face says a lot about their feelings. The face is the projection of their feelings. We have 43 facial muscles and we have over 150 emotions that are expressed through these muscles. Everything from joy, peace, equanimity, gratitude, anger, frustration, hostility, fear, guilt, shame, and maybe lying. All of these are very plainly obvious on your face.

When you cannot read them or you frequently misread people’s facial expressions, then what you’re doing is, you are projecting your own insecurities onto others. Let’s say, you’re standing on the street corner with your husband, wife, or significant other. He looks at you or she looks at you, and you say, “Is everything all right? Are you okay? Did I say something wrong? Did I upset you?” You say, “No, I was thinking about the stock market,” but you didn’t read that because you were reading your own insecurities on that face.

Finally, feeling threatened by authority figures, people who we give authority to, doctors, policemen, immigration officers, priests, the Pope, or Buddha. You feel threatened and insecure in their presence. Let me think of an example. You’re coming through the immigration and customs lane after having traveled abroad. The customs officer pauses you and says, “Can you come this way, sir? Open your bags.” Your heart starts to pound even though you’re not smuggling cocaine.

It’s because of the authority you have vested in that immigration officer or when you go to a doctor and they very casually say, “You have cancer. You have so much time to live.” Even before they read you your cholesterol level, your heart starts pounding because of them. What they think about the high cholesterol level at that moment which has multifactorial causes.

Here is one more item, when you see two people who are intimate and friendly. You automatically assume that they’re having sex together. You might even gossip about it. You might even display some jealousy if one or two or the other of them or both of them are your friends. When you are projecting your imagined fantasy of other people having sexual engagement with each other because they have intimate relationships and they’re close.

Closing Words

You’re projecting your own untrustworthiness. You’re the one who can’t be trusted because you are projecting your own imagination. Based on the imagination, even anxiety and jealousy in yourself because you can’t be trusted. There are now nine behaviors that ruin your relationship. How we go beyond all this to true love, ultimate love, we’ll talk about it.

Write Your Comment