How many times have you been in a situation where something that someone might say to you really angers or annoys you? Or there is someone at work or in your family who you find intimidating? Or a friend or business colleague might behave in a way that upsets and frustrates you?

If I then asked you who is the cause of your anger, annoyance, fear, upset and frustration in those instances, what would you say? If you said the other person, then I’m afraid you would be wrong.

Because as much as we might not like it, the answer is in fact – YOU.

And here’s why.

In NLP, we call it Perception Is Projection. And what it means is this – EVERYTHING WE PERCEIVE IS ACTUALLY A PROJECTION OF WHAT IS HAPPENING INTERNALLY.

We don't see things the way they are. We see them the way we are

To explain it further, let me give you an example following on from one of the scenarios I mentioned above. You and your work colleague work for the same boss, however you find him or her intimidating to work with as he or she bullies you at work and you always seem to receive the short end of the stick from them. Your colleague on the other hand has a smoother working relationship and your boss seems to treat them with respect. Why is that?

You might say that it could be due to a personality clash which seems like a perfectly valid reason. But then you need to ask why is there a personality clash? What is it about that person that triggers certain negative emotions in you?

It comes down to how you PERCEIVE that other person which is in fact a projection of what is going on inside of you. You will only react to something if there is an underlying issue that is triggered. Without the underlying cause, there is nothing to be triggered.

So in the case of the bullying boss, you and your work colleague might be in the same meeting and yet interpret certain remarks and behaviours made by your boss differently. Your boss might say something which your colleague will view as being decisive, whilst you might view the same comment as being controlling. Your respective behaviour and actions will then reflect this.


So what can you do?

  1. BE AWARE that what you are perceiving is a projection of an unresolved or underlying issue within you.
  2. ASK YOURSELF – What is this a trigger for and why?

The two steps of Awareness and Understanding are important for helping you to minimise or prevent similar situations arising like this in the future.

Now here’s an important point. Even if the other person sets out to intentionally intimidate and bully you for example, you can still CHOOSE to let this wash over you. Remember, it’s their stuff so you can CHOOSE to not take it on!

By being aware of what is happening internally and understanding the trigger and cause, you can choose to act/behave/think differently and effectively remove the charge behind the negative emotions. When this happens, you restore yourself to a calm and more balanced state and are able to think more clearly, and tune into yourself to manage the situation and respond in a way that positively and authentically supports your wellbeing and emotional and spiritual health.

As always, I would love your feedback once you have applied this exercise. Let me know what happens, what emotions and thoughts came up for you, and if you noticed a different outcome.

P.S. If you haven’t already, make sure you download The Thriving Woman’s Blueprint ™: The 7 Step Process to take you from Surviving to Thriving.