Projection is a manifestation of the ego mindset of illusion. Projection occurs when a person takes the imago of her (I'm using her generically here) ideal partner -- the partner who can help her resolve psychological conflicts from childhood and/or meet the needs that were not met during her childhood -- and attributes these qualities to another person (her partner or romantic interest). This prevents her from seeing her romantic interest as he is -- all she sees is the projection, which is actually part of her (a part with which she is not in touch). True love occurs when a person can take back her projection (own it as hers) and see and accept the other person for who he really is.
The first step in cultivating the ability to truly love someone is to move beyond your own needs and to consider/think about what the other person needs and wants. We try to empathize with the other person's thoughts and feelings.
Also, in order to love others we must first learn to love ourselves. If we do not receive the 5 A's (acceptance, affection, allowing, attention, and appreciation)we need when we are children then in order to love ourselves we will have to learn to meet these needs for ourselves as adults. This involves being mindful when we notice ourselves wanting one of the five A's. We must remain with that desire, observe it nonjudgmentally, and allow ourselves to experience it fully. This is how we learn to give ourselves attention and acceptance -- by attending to our desires and our emotions and accepting them without trying to push them away or act on them. When we do this, we own the part of ourselves that meets our need for the 5 A's; we can then stop projecting that part onto another person (because doing so leads us to believe that this person is the one who can meet our needs).
We must own our projections. The key to doing this is mindful self-awareness. We must become aware of and acknowledge those parts of ourselves we currently deny. We must begin to give ourselves the 5 A's even when we feel like going to other people to get them. By staying with ourselves during these times we being to know the part of ourselves that is capable of meeting our own needs; we also strengthen this part of ourselves. Once we recognize this part in ourselves we no longer need to project it onto someone else. In other words, once we discover that we have the ability to meet our own needs we no longer have to project that ability onto someone else.
Affirmation of the day:
I must own the qualities of my imago. These are qualities I myself have (both good and bad) and must own so that I will stop projecting them onto others.