When my daughters were young and told me about bullying at school, I always told them not take it on, or to take it personally.
I guess I was trying to train them in the art of shielding themselves from others’ deflections. Of course, some attacks were harder to explain due to their passive, manipulative power. Like a shot in the dark, these kinds of attacks often came with an accompanying thought: “What the heck just happened?”
Like a ghost, they would hit and disappear, usually leaving you blaming yourself because the assault had no definition, mass, or specific crime to nail down.
It’s called “projection,” and it is deadly to the core.
If we are lucky, family and/or friends teach us about these transgressions and how to protect ourselves from their long-lasting wounds.
Wonder Woman—as portrayed in the new hit movie—is one of the fortunate ones who got the whole package.
Nurtured and taught how to protect herself via a loving and strong community, she learned how to use her deflective shield at a very young age. As she got better and better at it, the training became harder and more intense. Taught to use her intuitive abilities, she could predict assaults before they happened and could access eyes in the back of her head. Some serious girl power!
Armed to fight and protect herself from the sneakiest and vilest of enemies, Wonder Woman sails away from the safety of her Amazon home to practice her deflective shield in the real world. And, like anyone who has left home for the first time, it takes her a while to get into a groove. New places, new faces, and new situations are all part of learning how to manoeuvre the shield within these new surroundings.
As the journey of life continues, the shield becomes more malleable and ready to adjust to a personal and unique style. Instead of just using it for protection, it starts to become a tool for propelling forward. Testing limits and inserting oneself into situations instead of just sitting back and observing.
At this point, the masculine energy of the sword accompanies the sacred shield and begins to carve out an intentional future.
Like a magnet, Wonder Woman attracts the world’s many wounds and blunders. Still off balance and unstable, she combines her ability to protect herself from projected fears while forging forward as she surgically pursues the way of the sword. At a certain point, she is assisted by tremendous forces that call out, “Shield!” to create a kind of launching pad where she accelerates and confronts forces beyond her control. Her power to go it alone—no longer ample or desired.
Finally, face to face with the projection itself, Aries—the God of War—she realizes this is the battle she has been training for all her life. The reason she was born and the savior she was meant to be. Half human—half god—Wonder Woman is met with a choice.
First, attempting to address this non-human entity with all the godly force she can muster, but soon realizing she is not using her full potential. Upon reflection, she discovers that it is in her humanness that she truly excels.
Her ability to love and her ability to ground herself within that place of unity. The unity she learned at home. The unity she learned from her community. The unity she eventually learns from a selfless man who loses his life in the name of love. This is the place that sprouts her power—the place that will supply her with endless reinforcements. And, this is the place that bares a whole new life for her.
Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, she confronts projection while grounded in her memories of all things pure and good and brings the darkness and chaos to its knees. Accompanied by an overwhelming sense of humility, she is no longer out for the kill, but rather, for a life of compassion.
So what does this Wonder Woman mean to us mere mortals who continue to struggle with the many cracks in our shields and our desire to love and to be loved?
Just this. Be gentle and forgiving with oneself when getting hooked into another’s projection and fighting those windmills that keep us distracted from our true purpose.
Never forget that Wonder Woman is not a mirage or fable—she is every woman and man alike.
Author: Vera Snow
Image: Mike Lacroix/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Leah Sugerman
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina