Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Do you have any introjects? You do. You definitely do. But don't worry, we ALL have introjects! In fact, it would be pretty impossible to be a human being on this planet and NOT have any introjects. The reason I'm talking about introjects is that they are an invaluable stepping stone to personal development and personal transformation.
Once you understand what they are, you can start to understand how they've shaped your identity and then, you can gain control over HOW they're influencing who you are TODAY. In order to change something, you first have to be aware of what it is that needs changing!
What is an introject?
An introjected value (or introject for short) is a belief or value that we have adopted from someone/something else that we have internalised and then made our own. We attach values to our experiences and ourselves based on our own experiences but also values taken from others - we may not be aware of the values we have adopted from outside of ourselves which can make them difficult to change. We usually adopt these beliefs and values during childhood most commonly from our parents/family, school and teachers, religious organisations, the media etc.
What's the problem with introjects?
Introjects aren't always bad - they can be positive or negative. Often they teach us our moral codes and encourage us to be kind and compassionate but sometimes they can have detrimental effects, especially in regards to our wellbeing and how we view ourselves.
All limiting beliefs are introjects but not all
introjects are limiting beliefs!
'Limiting beliefs' has become a bit of a buzzword and you're probably thinking that introjects and limiting beliefs are the same thing. Which they are. Except 'limiting beliefs' refers to the not so helpful beliefs and values we pick up, where 'introjects' encompasses them all - the good and the bad. For example, a helpful introject might be 'sharing is caring' as it teaches us to share with others where an unhelpful introject might be 'good love is hard to find' as it teaches us that a healthy relationship is rare, leading us to settle.
The main issue is with the unhelpful introjects (limiting beliefs!) because if we're adopting the views and beliefs of others, then we're not living in alignment with our own beliefs and values which stops us being our true, authentic selves.
What does an introject look and sound like?
A clear example of an introjected value many of us adopt from the media and magazines is how we should look - we are presented with a rigid value of appearance that we adopt as our own and then continually try to achieve. Another is a parent telling a young boy that 'big boys don't cry' - here the boy may grow up internalising this belief and never seeking emotional support when he might need it. Perhaps as a child we were told that we were 'bossy' or 'demanding' and on internalising this belief, we grew up to be timid. Another common target of the introject is money - what are they beliefs you hold to be true about money? Is it the 'root of all evil' or does it 'not grow on trees'?
A tell tale sign of an introject is the use of the word 'should'. In the examples above we can see the beliefs/values about how someone should look or how boys should not cry. The word 'should' implies that it is something we believe to be true or appropriate but that it has come from outside of ourselves - next time you feel that you should do or should be something, ask yourself why? Who says so? Where has this belief come from? This will help you deconstruct your introjected values.
Consider the beliefs you have about yourself - they can be positive or negative then journal on where/from whom you first heard these. Once you have identified some of your introjects, think about how these have affected you growing up and how they might still be affecting you now. It might help to use categories such as personal, work, education, relationships, finance etc.
Here are some examples to get you started:
Personal - Girls shouldn't be bossy - Being less vocal with thoughts/opinions
Work - Work isn't (shouldn't be) enjoyable - Never seeking out or having an enjoyable job
Education - You should have qualifications to be taken seriously - Always feeling inferior
Relationships - You should be independent and self-sufficient - Lack of intimacy/commitment
Finance - Money doesn't grow on trees - Constantly struggling for money
You can download this handy fillable PDF worksheet to help (no email needed!)
Hopefully that exercise was helpful and you can now see how some of these beliefs have been affecting you and what you may want to change. If you'd like to know more about how you can use Tarot to unpick your introjects then check out this spread I've created for you!
If you're ready to delve deeper into Tarot and learn how to read Tarot with confidence and WITHOUT any confusion you can download my FREE cheat sheet and workbook! There's also any extra surprise to level up your readings when you download!
FREE 'Read Tarot with Confidence Cheat Sheet & Workbook'
I hope learning about Introjects has been helpful to you and will support you on your journey of personal transformation! If you have any questions or comments, send me an email or get in touch on social media!