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How to Tell If You’re Living Your NOT-SELF – Part 1

Does your path feel a bit bumpy? Are you struggling, or seriously lacking “flow” in your life? If so, you may be experiencing your NOT-SELF theme!

“What is a NOT-SELF Theme?”

confused round faceWhen you are NOT living according to the decision-making Strategy of your Human Design Type, you are probably living your NOT-SELF.

“So, How Can I Know Who My REAL-SELF Is?”

That’s easy. Your Human Design Type (from your personal chart—if you don’t have yours click here) is the fundamental energy structure you were born with. This structure determines the role in life you are “designed” to play and also gives you the decision-making and action-taking strategy that is specifically correct for your energy.

“Why Is That Important?”

When your choices and actions are in alignment with your natural energetic structure—which they are by using the Strategy for your Type—then you are living true to your real SELF… your Authentic SELF. And that’s when “flow” happens. That’s when synchronicity shows up. That’s when you’re in the right place at the right time, and things start to get easier.

“Feels Like Magic?”

You’ve probably had moments in life like that… when things just fall into place and everything flows smoothly. And it feels like magic. Well, it isn’t exactly magic, it is actually the correct use of energy. Specifically, it’s your actions correctly aligning with your natural energy.

We don’t usually re-create that kind of alignment in our lives easily because we don’t know what we did right! Human Design—with information about YOUR personal Type and Strategy—gives you the understanding and tools to create a lot more of that “magic” in your life.

“How Do I Find MY Type and Strategy?”

There are five Types in Human Design: Manifestors, Generators, Manifesting Generators, Projectors, and Reflectors. Each person is one of those five Types, and each Type has it’s own Strategy. All you need to provide is your birth date, time and place so your personal chart can be created which shows your Type and Strategy (and much more about you as well!).

“Do I Have to Learn About All the Types?”

Even though four of the Types are not YOUR Type, I recommend that you read about all Types whenever you can. First, you will understand yourself better by knowing who you are NOT, in addition to knowing who you ARE.

Second, you will understand the people in your life better. Simply by knowing and respecting each person’s Type, you can improve your relationships with them dramatically.

To request your own chart and charts of others, gather the birth date, time (as accurate as possible) and place for each person, and go to:

“So, What’s My NOT-SELF Theme?”

You’ll find a one word description of your NOT-SELF Theme (simply called “Theme”) on your chart, on the line below Type—but there’s more to it than that.

Although your Type, in fact your whole chart, does not change over your lifetime what does change is how you express the energies in your chart. There’s a range of expression from high to low for every energy you carry.[Burn Out]

When you live your Type and Strategy, you more easily live the high expression of your energies. When you’re not living in alignment with your Type and Strategy, your energies are not aligned, you’re more easily influenced by others, you’re more easily distracted away from your Authentic SELF, and you more readily experience the lower expressions of your energies—this is your NOT-SELF.

In this article (Part 1) we’ll explore the NOT-SELF themes for two of the Human Design Types: Generators and Projectors. Next month in Part 2 will look at the remaining three Types.

The NOT-SELF Theme of Generators

As a Generator your NOT-SELF theme is Frustration, but this does not mean you are doomed to a life of pushing a rock up a hill.

Nature of Frustration

Your Frustration shows up when you try to make things happen, instead of waiting for something to respond to before taking action. Waiting to respond—and responding with your Sacral sounds—is YOUR Strategy, and Strategy is your antidote to frustration. When you wait for the inner guidance of your Sacral, you will minimize frustration.

Say out loud “uh-huh” for yes, and “uhn-uhn” for no, every time life presents you with something to respond to…which is many times daily. If you are emotional by Design (large triangle on lower right of chart is light brown), use Sacral responses throughout your emotional wave for clarity.

Stair-Step Learning

Like the Manifesting Generator, you learn in bursts of mastery followed by plateaus of no improvement, despite great effort.

You may want to quit when frustrated by your lack of progress. Use your Sacral response to know if quitting is correct for you. If not, stay with it—mastery will come!

How to Minimize Your Theme of Frustration

Follow Strategy: Wait to respond, then act when response is positive. Understand that a little frustration is part of your learning process.

The NOT-SELF Theme of Projectors

As a Projector your NOT-SELF theme is Bitterness. When your well-intentioned advice meets with resistance or worse, or your life just seems harder than everyone else’s, you may (understandably) feel resentful and even bitter.

Pearls of Wisdom

Your role in life is to manage, guide and direct the energies of others through innate knowing and valuable accumulated wisdom.

Your decision and action strategy is to WAIT TO BE INVITED OR RECOGNIZED. It’s best to be personally invited into big things in life, like love and marriage, career and jobs, where you live and moving. If you offer advice, opinions or direction without being asked, you’ll likely be ignored or misunderstood. And you may be perceived as bossy, controlling, or irritating.

It’s Not FAIR!

It can be easy for Projectors to veer toward bitterness because:

1. Invitations to big things in life (career, love, where you live) don’t come often
2. You don’t have sustainable energy (and may even be called lazy!)
3. It’s not correct for you to initiate
4. Feeling rejected or not valued breaks your heart
5. Bitterness keeps new invitations away, which results in more bitterness

How to Minimize Your Theme of Bitterness

Wait for the right timing—via invitations (in other words: follow Strategy). Wait to be recognized or asked BEFORE speaking. If you wait, the right people will ask for and appreciate your wisdom, and the right invitations will come. Cultivate patience. Don’t take things personally.


P.S. If you’re new to Human Design and you found some of this information confusing or unclear, I invite you to learn more:  on my website for free, via my ebook Human Design 101, or through a private Reading with me (which is the best way to learn about yourself and your chart).

Read Part 2 of this article here>>


9 comments… add one
  • Linda June 14, 2013, 8:42 pm

    Thank you so much for this “Not Self” article. I am a Projector who is definitely going through bitterness in my life right now. I have been acting like a generator/manifester for most of my life which has gotten me nowhere. Now I am trying to implement my HD but it is a big learning curve.

  • Lynn June 19, 2013, 4:19 pm

    @Linda, One of the keys to Projector freedom and success is to focus your attention where you are an expert; comparing yourself to someone else, especially a different energy type, is “comparing apples to oranges.” Being proud of who you are and how you serve Humanity is not hubris — that authenticity is how we Generators find you when we are ready for your insight. 🙂 Of course, being “visible” is where you start (and I recommend finding a Generator to help with all the web/tech/marketing/admin stuff), and “recharging your batteries” is critical to manage your energy level. As you “practice” you will be able to more easily distinguish when other people’s energy is receptive to you and when not — their words might not match their energy — and you’ll get a lot smarter about what feels happy and good to you. Remember, IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU if someone else is not ready to hear what advice you might want to give them. You can trust your instinct, and if it is their Divine Plan to make a mistake so they can learn from it, so be it. It might be that later, when they are ready to reflect on that mistake, THEN they might ask for help to gain insight, it’s an in-the-moment thing … like for all of us. Smile! I am awaiting the special presence you are and how you are making the world a better place for all of us.

    • Evelyn June 19, 2013, 6:18 pm

      Well said, Lynn. Thank you for contributing!

    • Michelle Reid October 29, 2018, 10:29 am

      Thank you for the clarity. It’s helpful to better understand our own natures.

  • Chris August 11, 2013, 12:01 pm

    I’m a pure generator, and my not self theme is definitely frustration. I’m so confused, though. I’m told to just wait for things to happen, wait to respond, how do I know whether I’m responding with my gut or with my head? And, if this is the “easy” type b/c I just have to wait, what do I do while I’m waiting? I’m not supposed to use willpower, either, b/c my “ego” is open. How am I supposed to get anything done and how am I going to keep from getting fat???!!! 😉 I force myself to the gym b/c I know that afterwards I feel good, but it never gets easy. I use willpower to keep from gobbling up desserts b/c I know they’re not good for me. I’m lost…

    • Evelyn September 3, 2013, 11:46 pm

      Hi Chris, thank you so much for writing to ask. Waiting for “something to respond to” means not taking action on an IDEA until it has somehow shown up in your outer reality (not just in your mind) so you can know what your Sacral response is to it. Your response will indicate whether you should pursue the idea or not. But once you respond….take all the action you want/need to pursue it.

      For example, if you receive an email about a course or program, your Sacral will have a response to it. You don’t need to wait for anything further (unless you are Emotionally Defined–large triangle on right is dark gold–then you need to wait through your emotional wave and see if your Sacral response changes as your “mood” changes). It’s just when you have a purely creative idea that pops into your head that you need to wait for it to show up in your reality so you can respond. The Sacral needs the external stimulus–like Pavlov’s dogs responding to a ringing bell.

      Re: going to the gym and food intake, your Sacral obviously responds positively to feeling good after your workout and looking good by not eating too many calories. So even though you may not “feel” like going (or feel like refusing a dessert), your Sacral life-force energy is drawn to the reality of the results those will produce and that energy makes it possible for you to follow through on those things. As you said, you don’t have inherent will power (Open Will Center) so you’re either borrowing other people’s will power temporarily OR you’re actually following your Sacral guidance by going to the gym and saying no to desserts. At a deep level, your being wants the results–even though it may not feel easy at the time.

      I invite you to release the struggle about it and ALLOW your deeper Sacral guidance to “win” without having to “force yourself” to do these things. It doesn’t feel good to “battle” ourselves all the time. Learn to trust and follow your deeper commitments and directions. I hope that helps. Please let me know how it goes! ~Evelyn

      • Lillian May 22, 2014, 9:25 am

        Hi Evelyn,

        This is a very helpful analysis of how a Generator should apply the “wait to respond” strategy. Is it the same for Projectors and their “wait to be invited” strategy?

        For example, I’m a Projector and I have an idea about what job I should switch to. Do I look for this kind of job and apply for it (i.e. look for an external manifestation of my idea) or do I wait for something to come to me?

        Thank you!

        • Evelyn May 26, 2014, 5:29 pm

          Hi Lilian, the Human Design answer to your question is that you should wait for an invitation or something to be facilitated for you that feels WONDERFUL to you, then you can step into it. But I’m also a pragmatist and don’t believe in holding yourself back if something feels correct for you to do. Just know that actions that other Types take, like applying for a job, may not work as easily for the Projector… so don’t take it personally if what you try to make happen doesn’t happen. The best IS for it to come to you. But you can be visible (in a non-pushy way) and let people know who you are and what you’re looking for–so the people with the invitations can find you! Hope that helps. Please keep me posted on how it’s going.

  • carolyn chew November 9, 2013, 6:54 pm

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