In Human Design there is an invitation to discover how we are unconsciously designed to operate in this lifetime. We are designed to be an individual and unique expression. There are approximately 2 billion different ways that the body graph / chart can be expressed in Human Design. Which reinforces just how unique we actually are. At the same time we are here to have the experience of being human and everything that goes along with that. We are here to experience the pain and suffering of being human, along with the joy and wonder and everything in between. The experience of being human brings us conditioning.
I like the analogy of layers of an onion. The core of the onion represents the essence of who we are at our core (our unique design) and all the outer layers of the onion represent the conditioning that we have picked up during our life experience. At some point in your life you will experience a call, a tap on the shoulder, or a deep knowing that there is more to this life and a part of you begins to search for answers. That call may be what has brought you to Human Design. Once you receive the information about your design, you may feel a clarity that aligns with the suggested ways of being that are shared. You will also likely notice that you have not lived in alignment with those ways of being. This is where conditioning comes into play. There may be a need to look at and peel back all the layers of the onion after the core of the onion has been revealed. So let’s have a look at the ways that conditioning becomes a part of our lives. You will notice that many aspects of these 5 ways are inter-connected.
One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” - Aldous Huxley
Environment - There are a several parts to environment. The first place that we take on conditioning is in our family systems. As children we put all of our trust into our parents and we are told how to be in the world and what is appropriate. Some of this is important information which allows us to lean valuable social skills. Other parts of this information are not as helpful because they stifle our uniqueness and our creativity. However, our parents are passing on their conditioning which may not be relevant any longer. Our parents want to keep us safe and happy and yet this can also be limiting and out of alignment but because we rely on our parents for reasons of survival we make an agreement to abide by these agreements. Other places we receive conditioning are school, friends (and their parents), work, media, and society. We are designed to be in community with others so we take on conditioning in order to feel a sense of belonging and safety.
Trauma - This is actually a vast topic but is important to mention as it has a big impact on who and how we are in the world. The experiences we have during our life that cause our nervous systems to become dis-regulated (create the fight / flight / freeze response) create the way we attune and align with the world. These experiences cause us to go through life asking ourselves “what do I need to do, or who / how do I need to be in order to be and feel safe. This causes us to look outward instead of connecting inward. We actually hide our true essence in order to feel safe. Ultimately, this limits the depth that we experience in the world. The good news is that we can heal from these experiences and get back to our original design.
Comparison - In an attempt to fit in, and have a sense of belonging and safety, we attempt to align with others. We create a story that we need to be a certain way. We compare ourselves to siblings, friends, co-workers, personalities in media, and we create personas based on these experiences. We see others being recognized for their ways of being and make up the story that we need to be like them in order to get the same recognition. All of this comparison can create a feeling of emptiness or lack and motivate us to continue searching outside ourselves for fulfillment. This perpetuates the cycle of continued comparison. This is also fuelled by platforms like Instagram that continually show us imagery that causes us to compare
While the traditional ways of creating success might work very well for some people, for some of us the rules simply don't work. But society and our conditioning have a powerful hold over us, and we can often feel that our personal definitions of success are lazy, weak, silly, or even ridiculous by society's standards. Continuing to follow this one path when it's not working will only bring frustration, bitterness, burnout, and exhaustion.” - Karen Curry Parker
Beliefs - This one really ties into the previous examples. All of our experiences form a data bank that is intended to keep us in alignment with the journey of being human. It is all the imposed and suggested ways of being. All of the narratives we hear growing up. Boy’s don’t cry. Girls don’t get dirty and all the others that are flowing through your head as you read this. All of these beliefs form a kind of filter from which we view and judge the world and ourselves. The funny thing about this is that we rarely challenge these beliefs or question them because of the purpose they hold. They support the illusion of belonging and safety. Yet, again there can be an underlying feeling that this isn’t right. Eventually, we may begin to challenge these beliefs and gradually return to our essence.
Self-judgment - Our internal critic is fuelled by the above examples of conditioning. This causes our inner critic to judge us every time that we step away from how we are told to be. The inner critic judges you in order to keep you safe and keep you stuck in the name of safety and belonging. The volume can be quite loud and reinforces the fear, guilt and shame that we are feeling under the surface. This voice of judgment creates many of the feelings that we struggle to be with. Feelings that are actually indicators that something is out of alignment, that we have gone off our path or that something actually is unsafe. There is also tension between the voice of self-judgement and the voice of our soul that quietly speaks and nudges us back to our true essence.
Okay, so there you have it. 5 ways that we take on conditioning. This topic has been on my mind for quite a while now in relation to Human Design. However, it has been the driving force in my work as a life coach for the last 16 years. This morning, I got up out of bed and a voice said “Write a blog post on the 5 ways we are conditioned” So here it is! My hope is that it has stirred or affirmed something within you and reinforced your journey back to your essence and inner knowing.
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