Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Other People?

July 7th, 2009 · No Comments · Carl Jung, Identity, Individuation, Jungian psychology, Relationships, Shadow, unlived life

Here's a reflection-provoking quote from Jung on how we tend to see other people.

Other People 3 for Vibrant Jung Jung Blog "Everybody thinks that psychology is what he himself knows best  – psychology is always his psychology, which he alone knows, and at the same time his psychology is everybody else's psychology.  Instinctively he supposes that his own psychic constitution is the general one, and that everyone is essentially like everyone else, that is to say, like himself.  Husbands suppose this of their wives, wives suppose it of their husbands, parents of their children, and children of their parents.  It is as though everyone had the most direct access to what is going on inside [him or her], was intimately acquainted with it and competent to pass an opinion on it; as though his own psyche were a kind of master-psyche which suited all and sundry, and entitled him to suppose that his own situation was the general rule.  People are profoundly astonished, or even horrified, when this rule quite obviously does not fit — when they discover that another person really is different from themselves.  Generally speaking, they do not find these psychic differences as in any way curious, let alone attractive, but as disagreeable failings that are hard to bear, or as unendurable faults that have to be condemned.  The painfully obvious difference seems like a contravention of the natural order, like a shocking mistake that must be remedied as speedily as possible…."

"The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man" in Jung, C.G., Hull. R.F.C., trans.,

Civilization in Transition, Collected Works, Vol 10, second edition, 

(Princeton: University Press, 1989), para. 277

Jung highlights for us one of the very greatest dangers in our relations with other people: Other People 2 for Vibrant Jung Jung Blog that we will see them as just like ourselves when in fact they are hugely different.  This is a trap that each of us falls into numerous times a day, very often without being aware of it.

I invite you to think about the people in your life.  Do you see them as more similar to yourself than they really are?  Can you be open to their psychology, their way of perceiving their lives?  Can Other People for Vibrant Jung Jung Blog you acknowledge who they really are, without a sense of threat?  This can be quite a challenge — and an ongoing one with which we're never quite finished.  Yet the process of taking back our projections on others is a key part of individuation, of becoming ourselves.  Unless we can do this, we find ourselves fated to go round and round on the same old merry-go-round of relationship, never really knowing others or that part of ourselves that we have never lived, and have not yet acknowledged.

As always, I welcome your comments and your thoughts on relationship and "the other", and I look forward to dialoguing with each of you.  

My very best wishes to you on your individual journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson


Website for Brian's Oakville and Mississauga Practice: www.briancollinson.ca 

Email: brian@briancollinson.ca

Get "Vibrant Jung Thing" posts delivered to your email using the "FeedBurner" box in the left column!

PHOTO CREDITS:  © Fred Goldstein| Dreamstime.com; ©Luisfico| Dreamstime.com; © Rui Matos| Dreamstime.com   

© 2009 Brian Collinson