“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche
So, I have been in my room reflecting. And I have been thinking about Sigmund Freud’s theory on projection. According to Freud, projection is a defense mechanism where an individual attribute’s one’s own undesirable traits or feelings to another. Thus, the cheater assumes that everyone else is dishonest and may accuse the other of cheating.
We “project” ourselves onto others and react to traits that we have given. We also give more emphasis to traits/characteristics that have been most bothersome to us. So, what we don’t like most in others is a reflection of what we have not dealt with or accepted of ourselves. Following this logic, I have to realize that it is my own false sense of reality of self that puts a strain on my interactions with others. And although I don’t completely subscribe to Freud’s teachings, this one seems to have a bit of truth.
I don’t like me in you…so, am I really completely happy with me. Well, yes but, there are definitely aspects of me that I work to develop into a more productive state. We all have unhealthy traits that we would like to live without and when we come across them in others, we are forced to see exactly how ugly they are in us.
So, this brings me to my true thoughts on forgiveness. If we are to truly let go of all feelings of resentment, indignation or anger for a perceived offense, difference or mistake of another, and if we are to let go of all urges for punishment or restitution…then we must first let go of our own guilt. We have to forgive ourselves. We have to accept that we are not perfect…no, we are each perfectly imperfect. We cannot hold the bar so high that even we have not been able to reach. Basically, we must accept the “ugly” within ourselves in order to “forgive” the ugly of others.