One of my earliest personal alchemical lessons was that the false associations we make. For instance, someone that has been stolen from repeatedly may be so sensitive to theft that she loses it when a store clerk accidentally returns incorrect change.
Yesterday at lunch, my coworkers were talking about success in school for their kids. One said that he did well in school because his friends did well and they looked askance at a peer if he didn't do well. They may have even teased people for getting an answer wrong. This immediately caused the revelation that I was in the opposite group. I was a smart kid and was in the mentally gifted programs. Years of being teased for being smart resulted in less studying on my part. Now, I do it as strictly necessary but I hate it.
Today, I need to teach myself that this studying will not result in teasing but a level of admiration. This studying is not that studying.
These false associations be they mental or emotional are the crux of much personal alchemy. Only by ridding yourself of them can you discover who you truly are.
That said, one must be aware of the opposite.
When I was married, I used to have great fun telling the story of cooking a meal so poorly that my wife refused my cooking. It was a great excuse not to do a chore that I didn't want to do. However, not being able to cook is no longer fun. I want good healthy food. So, as my definition of fun has changed, so are my actions.
A Bigger Opposite
Sometimes, what we experience in adult life is the same as the trauma's of childhood only in a more adult form. It is important to recognize that and change the dynamic. If the dynamic will not change, you need to move away from that space.
All of this leads to seeing what IS and not what you are projecting upon a situation. As written here, this sounds very mundane. However, it applies very well to the plastic astral where forms can be quite fluid and change according to the perceiver's mindset. "Occultism is a mirror, Mr. Waite. He who sees muck is muck," Aleister Crowley.