Blake is described as having had a fiery personality. He was outspoken and easily provoked by injustice. His more self-controlled or conventional friends or acquaintances may have seen his as overly emotional or expressive. He wrote this poem out of the understanding he developed of his own anger and the anger he saw in others. He didn't advocate 'acting out' anger nor did he advocate suppressing the anger which needed an outlet of expression.
Songs of Innocence and of Experience,
Song 49, (E 28)
"I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.
And into my garden stole,
When the night had veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretchd beneath the tree."
Here are two instances of anger, but one is toward a friend, someone who is not the object of projection, someone who is not seen as a threat to one's self-image . Self-knowledge and openness allow the situation to be aired rather than projected. The anger ends because it is not projected, it is not perceived in terms of the friend wanting to do harm or destroy his friend. It is left at the level a of a 'state' that can be annihilated through forgiveness.
The opposite is true with one who is seen as the enemy. With him we neither see ourselves or the other honestly. We feel justified in seeking to do him harm, because our fears tell us us to strike the first blow. The enemy is someone who is carrying our Shadow, the aspects of our psyche which our Ego and Super-ego find most unacceptable and threatening. We strike out against the enemy attempting to to rid ourselves of the inner darkness.
To begin to withdraw projections we must look within first, to identify both good and not good inside ourselves. Then we look in others to find both qualities in them. A good start to withdrawing projection is to focus more on the not good in ourselves and the good in others.