Imagine that your dog is barking late at night. All you want to do is go to sleep, yet the dog keeps on barking and keeps you awake. You want to go outside and yell at the dog “Hey! Shut up!” But then you forget this is why you bought the dog to start off with. The dog is letting you know that there is an intruder around. Something wrong is happening and you need to attend to it.
Our feelings are the same way. They are the barking dog, but we silence and ignore them. We tell them to shut up when we stop paying attention to them. Now of course we didn’t buy the internal dog – that is part of the standard package that comes with being human. We were given it for free when we were born. These thoughts and feelings are there to keep us safe.
Remember how they say you should always trust your gut? Your gut is where your dog lives. Always pay attention to it if you feel like something is wrong. Follow that feeling. Now this doesn’t mean to let your fears rule you or to run away from problems.
Sometimes the problem isn’t the person or the situation in front of you. Sometimes the problem is actually what you think about what is going on. You may be having a reaction to some bad thing that happened to you in the past that you may not remember. This reaction is known as a projection. Projections let you know that there is a deeper problem that needs to be dealt with.
It is important to understand and face the situation when you notice that you are reacting to a projection. It is a chance to resolve an issue. Instead of running away from the situation, sometimes what you need to do is lean into it. Sometimes you may need to look at it sort of sideways and not necessarily face it head on. Sometimes facing it head on is very scary. But more importantly, don’t run away from it. If you’re running away from it then you’re telling the dog to shut up.
Ignoring the problem and running away from it are both dangerous. They both involve not dealing with the intruder that is the unresolved issue. You have to deal with that intruder because if you ignore it then it is simply going to come in and steal everything in your house. Your house represents your safety and your sanity. If you run away from it or tell it to shut up, then you’re not using this as a valuable lesson to strengthen up your defenses.