Nothing makes me more tense than people telling me to relax. What do those words really mean?
All communication is a projection of some kind. When I communicate with you, I am projecting my identity through my thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Even a statement that seems factual, like "The Romneys have five sons," is also a projection of my attention to the 2012 US election.
However, the worst projections are made when people project their own tension and impatience on others by telling them to "relax" or "be patient." This is irritating for several reasons:
- The speaker has become tense and thinks her tension will go away if she issues the relax instruction to everyone else.
- As soon as the speaker gives that perhaps tenderly meant instruction, she is making a judgement, thus acting superior by implying that the speaker herself is relaxed and patient.
- These statements draw attention away from the instigating incident and make it about the other person's supposed tension or impatience, thus creating new conflict.