The evil Witch in the fairytale about ”Snow White and the seven dwarfs” envied Snow White her beauty and kindness.
The Witch stood in front of her magical mirror and wanted it to show and also tell her that she was the most beautiful of all the women in the world.
The evil Witch was blind for her own faults so she only saw what she wanted to see.
Snow White was a princess, she was beautiful, kind and intelligent and the Witch hated her for that.
The Witch knew that she could never become anything like Snow White so she tried to belittle her and even kill Snow White with a poisoned apple.
This is only a fairytale, you say, so it has nothing to do with me.
Well, it might so please be patient and I will tell you why I think it is relevant.
There is a psychological term called projection, psychology is the science about the human behaviour and mind but I will come back to that later in this article.
The evil Witch in the fairytale didn’t like when the mirror sometimes showed her what she really looked like.
She envied the princess and wanted to be admired and loved as Snow White but because that wasn’t possible she tried to make Snow White appear less likeable.
I think we all have a bit of this Witch inside our minds but we don’t like to admit it because it is shameful and embarrassing.
The Witch and the princess could be considered as two antipoles; our bad side versus our good side.
I will give you some examples to make it easier for you to follow my thoughts and I will show the bad versus the good ways of how to handle a situation.
Bad nr 1: your neighbour has inherited some money and have been able to paint the houses at his compound.
You envy him so you say to people that your neighbour has become a snob and that the colour isn’t nice anyway.
Good nr 1: you congratulate your neighbour for his luck and even if you can’t afford to buy paint for your houses you begin to clear the land around it, take away all the trashes and that has suddenly made your compound look good too – without any cost.
Bad nr 2: you notice that a young relative, a woman, is always dressed nicely and even wears some makeup.
You speak with your friends about her and begin to wonder how she can afford all these nice clothes.
You even begin to critizise her for the makeup and say that she wears too much so it is making her look trashy.
Good nr 2: instead of speaking ABOUT your young relative you speak WITH her, complimenting her for her good taste and ask her where she has made all her beautiful dresses.
You ask her for tips about makeup and suddenly you begin to combine the clothes you have in a new way and you look nice too.
A little makeup sometimes adds ”the icing on the cake”.
Bad nr 3: you know a young man who is very ambitious and intelligent.
He never spends time chatting with the boys, drinking attaya and discussing girls or the latest football results.
You find him a bit strange and you can’t understand how a good looking man can keep his nose in his books all day long.
This guy has great visions for his future and for his country but you don’t care that much.
You feel that everytime he begins to speak to you it’s like he is speaking a different language – you don’t understand a word!
You and the others speak about him, you wonder why he isn’t interested in girls.
You wonder if he believes that he is so much better than you because he doesn’t want to spend time with you.
You and the others begin to avoid him so he will become very lonely after some time.
Good nr 3: this young man is very ambitious and intelligent.
He has great visions for his own and his country’s future so that is why he is studying so hard.
If you would speak to him you would find a young man who is very interested in your opinions.
He would ask you to tell him about your experiences and problems so he can try to help you with them.
This guy likes girls, drinking attaya and he loves football but his studies comes first because his parents has sacrificed so much for him and he feels his duty.
When he sometimes comes stumbling out from the house, tired after all the hours with his books – call his name and invite him to have some attaya.
Ask him about his studies and broaden your mind.
Show him that you are proud of knowing a guy who will come far.
One day he will come back to his village and be able to help you with the problems you once shared with him.
Maybe he is a doctor, a lawyer, a diplomat or a professor – you never know.
One day you can look back and say:
”Didn’t I tell you that this guy would accomplish something great? I saw it in him even if no one else did!”
Would you want to be the one who bows your head in shame because you know what you said about him before?
When someone is a little bit different, has a different style, is ambitious etc – encourage this person to make the best of it and you will also grow as a human being.
To envy someone doesn’t make your own situation better unless you turn that to inspiration.
Don’t pull others down to a low level just because you don’t know how to lift yourself up from that.
Instead get inspired by others and if it’s not possible for you to change your own situation you might help your kids to come further.
There are a lot of people in the world that has been considered as strange or at least a bit different:
Martin Luther King
Malala Yousafzai and many more.
Learn about them and get inspired.
Let your mind flow and go with it, don’t restrain yourself or others, instead encourage each other to follow your dreams.
Next time you look in the mirror you will like what you see.
You don’t feel the need to make others appear small to make yourself feel great because you have understood what my drama teacher always said:
”No one is first, no one is last. We are all equal.”
I want to come back to where I began, to tell you a little more about the term psychological projection.
This is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative)
People are denying their existence in themselves by attributing them to others.
Mostly when we think about psychological projection we think about the negative impulses as if someone is habitually rude instead will accuse others of being rude.
Blame shifting is also a part in this negative side of projection; if something bad has happened it is always someone elses fault, not your own.
Victim blaming: an example – if something bad has happened to you it is your own fault, like if a wife has been hit by her husband it is her fault because she did something to annoy him.
Projection of marital guilt: an example – the marriage is unhappy and the husband is thinking about infidelity. He suddenly begins to believe that his wife is cheating on him and starts accusing her for that.
There is no infidelity in the picture, it is all in his mind.
Projection of general guilt: projection of a severe conscience is another form of defense, this may be linked to the making of false accusations, personal or political.
An example – your sister believes that you have always been the favourite of your parents.
She is accusing you and them for all kind of made up benefits, that you always got the best of everything no matter if it was food, clothes etc.
This will cause a lot of unnecessary conflicts that are almost impossible to stop.
Another example: a person with a Narcissistic personality type is the president of USA and deep inside his soul he is terribly insecure but he wishes to appear as the great world leader he sees when he looking at himself in the mirror.
To show his strength and determination as a leader he is always accusing others for his own short comings, he has even threatened the president of North Korea with war.
There is no reason for this war, other than in the mind of this crazy American president, but it is his big mouth combined with his small brain that might lead to a nuclear attack.
Bullying: a bully is projecting his/her own feelings of vulnerability onto the target of the bullying activity.
The true source of the bullying is the vulnerability of the bully but he/she is hiding it behind aggressive actions.
Such aggressive actions of displaced negative emotions can occur anywhere from the micro–level of interpersonal relationships, an example – the fat boy in the school class who is bullying others to hide his own emotions .
He is ashamed of his looks and fears that someone will bully him for being fat so he decides to make others too afraid of him to dare confronting him.
Then we have the macro-level: this level can lead to armed conflicts, international conflicts and so on and this is the result of a oppressor’s behaviour.
The oppressor is nothing but a human being but believes that he/she is above others and can do whatever this person wishes to do.
This person will always justify his/her actions but will never show any mercy for others short comings, instead these will have severe consequences like tortyre, imprisoning or even death.
From a fairytale about the evil Witch and Snow White to oppressors; this is where psychology can lead us.
It is very interesting to study psychology because this subject is not only making us understanding others but we get to understand ourselves as well.
A person who is studying to become a psychologist must of course study a lot of literature but the heaviest study is the one about the human nature.
You might think that a psychologist is someone who has no problems and who also has had a very easy life.
To be able to understand someone you must first understand yourself and for that you need time for reflection, this come both for psychologists and for us others.
When I grew up I was very lonely and also suppressed and the only hide-away I had was my books and my thoughts.
I didn’t have that many books at home but there was a library at my school and I was a regular guest there.
I borrowed piles of books and learned a lot by them, books actually saved my life.
In the books I found that there were others who shared the same emotions and experiences as I did and by that I didn’t feel so alone anymore.
I had no one to speak to so I found my answers in the books.
I’m a curious kind of person, in a good way, so I always want to learn more.
As I grew up I began to reflect over my life and the people that surrounded me, I also thought a lot about my distant father who had stayed in Finland as my mother, sister and I moved to Sweden.
Instead of accusing my father for his problems with alcohol I began to understand why he drank, but don’t mix up understanding with acceptance!
He had a responsability for his life and as a husband and father he was responsable for his family but he couldn’t handle that.
It was sad but I couldn’t hate him for that, his life was a tragedy and so many people suffered from trauma after a war or other kinds of dramatic happenings in their lives.
Life is really hard for so many of us but there are ways of handling it by giving ourselves some reflection.
If someone is acting in a bad way we must ask ourselves this:
- What is he/she saying?
- What does he/she want to say instead?
- What is he/she doing or showing?
- What does he/she want to do or show instead?
We must learn to read between the lines and see what is hidden?
Be curious and consider the human life as a mystery you want to solve.
Don’t take everything personally because there is always a reason for why someone is acting in some way.
Speak to people instead of about them, share your thoughts with someone you trust.
Stay curious and you will learn a lot but never mix that up with interfering in some other’s business.
God gave us two ears and only one mouth so we are supposed to listen twice as much as we speak.