Observing the Shadows of Not-Self Generosity


Have you been indulging in Not-Self generosity?

“What exactly do you mean by that?” you may be wondering.

The “Not-Self” can be seen as your shadow-state. Like a shadow may be yours, yet is not you, so too are the adaptive strategies derived from the white areas of your Human Design. Conditioning happens here, and these are places where your mind can cause you to make decisions that are not in alignment with your true nature.

“Not-Self” has a sinister sound to it when you don’t know what it means. Sometimes people get confused and think that anything coming from the openness is bad—as if the openness is not part of the totality of you.

You cannot separate yourself from your openness. This receptivity is an integral part of you. It is where you experience life, where experiences nourish you. Here is where you can learn, grow, and develop wisdom. Here is where you have the flexibility to experience life in many ways, and ever learn to master making money in these places, depending on your overall design.

Boy, am I familiar with the suffering (bitterness and resentment, for me) that comes from Not-Self decision-making! As a 3/5, Emotional Projector, overdoing it in many areas of life with awareness now, is how I have learned my deepest lessons.

For example, let’s take my undefined Heart’s Not-Self generosity:

  • Saying I would when I wasn’t quite clear that I could, then not being able to keep a promise and ending up feeling like crap.

  • Thinking I have to go above and beyond what is needed, constantly overcompensating to prove my value.

  • Not stopping at the specified time for a session, for example, even if I was tired and it was enough.

  • Not being satisfied with a good enough piece of writing, but spending ridiculous hours stressing over perfectionism.

  • I remember in school—if I couldn’t do a homework project perfectly to my liking, I wouldn’t even turn it in and preferred an F to getting a B!

  • Settling for whatever (or whoever) came my way, expecting less than I know I deserve in relationships and business because my mind didn’t believe I was worthy of anything more and was afraid that if I asked, I would either be turned down or miss out on an awesome opportunity.

From mothers to service professionals to athletes to people working in the corporate world, approximately 65% of all humans are dealing with this Undefined Heart Center conditioning in their lives. How much of an effect does the open Heart have on the professional landscape where so many of us are trying to prove ourselves all the time? Stomach ulcers, gall bladder issues, heart conditions, and immune system malfunctioning are symptoms of misusing your willpower, whether you have it defined or open.

Thanks to discovering Human Design, I recognized mentally that the Not-Self adaptive strategies of my mind had a firm hold on my life, yet still, I was powerless to stop them from influencing me. However, in the course of my five years of experimentation, the decisions have slowly stopped coming from a place of Not-Self automatic reflex. I began to recognize what it felt like when decisions started coming from what my Solar Plexus was telling me, once I got invited to the big things in life (for a Projector, this is critical).

I know I can’t help undergoing my trial and error process of making personal mistakes, as a 3rd line Personality. In the first year of my experiment, the overwhelming realization of it all hit me like a ton of bricks. The magnitude of the apparent difficulty of getting to live out my true nature discouraged me. The Not-Self cry, “why me?!” of my 3rd-line Martyr Personality was in full effect.

Though it has gotten easier over the years, there are still a lot of adaptive strategies of the “Not-Self” going on over here in my life movie and of the people I’ve seen come to me. Read on to discover how Not-Self generosity has shown up in my life, and perhaps you can recognize it in yours.


Here’s a little keynoting along with my experience of my undefined Centers, and the Not-Self generosities I recognized:

Head Center: Inspiration

Not-Self Themes: Occupied with questions that don’t matter
I recognized that discovering inner truth and what is truly inspiring through collaboration with others in relationships is what I’m driven consciously to learn (Personality Moon in 61.3 Interdependence)
Not-Self generosity: Trying to provide answers to other people’s questions without being invited first
BG5 Signpost: Losing Focus
If it were completely open: Not knowing what is interesting

Ajna Center: Conceptualization

Not-Self Themes: Pretending that I am mentally certain
I recognized early on that my completely open Ajna simply can’t get enough of the concepts in Human Design. Is this something that works, that I can finally be confident about? Through my experimentation and repeated feedback over the years from others; so far, so good.
Not-Self generosity: Doing things like taking in other’s concepts in conversation and pretending to be confident about what’s going on without first being positive that I am and that the concepts are right for me.
BG5 Signpost: Conceptually defensive
My Signpost as it is completely open: Not knowing what to think

Heart Center: Willpower

Not-Self Themes: Trying to prove/improve myself
I recognize that my undefined ego dances between wanting to be in control and feeling out of control. I tend towards withdrawing from the material path (Personality Venus in 21.3 Powerlessness) with a lifelong habit of endless education, because I love to learn new things as someone born in the Quarter of Initiation, with my purpose fulfilled through Mind. I walk a fine line here, though, because that little center longs for continuous self-improvement and loves certifications that show I’ve accomplished something that proves my value.
Not-Self generosity: Doing things for others just to prove something I think I want to be (a good person, smart enough, and worthy, for example).
BG5 Signpost: Overcompensating
If it were completely open: Not knowing what is worthy

Sacral Center: Power of Fertility

Not-Self Theme: Not knowing when enough is enough
I recognize that my undefined sacral center is a HUGE source of conditioning and Not-Self generosity. With eight dormant potentials, this has been one of my hardest challenges. Thankfully, I can say I’m getting over the workaholic addiction, not thanks to my mind, though. My body got to the point where it no longer tolerated overwork. No longer can I push through the fatigue or pain of overworking myself, no matter what my mind wants to prove. This body does not want to sit at the computer for hours on end anymore! It won’t.
Not-Self generosity: Doing things (work/sex/play) without boundaries around my time and without honoring my body’s fatigue levels
BG5 Signpost: Over-Zealousness
If it were completely open: Not knowing what to use energy for

Splenic Center: Body Consciousness

Not-Self Theme: Holding on to what isn’t good for me
I recognize my mind rigidly holds on to people, places, and things long after they are no longer right for me. Knowing who/where/what is healthy for me and worth holding on to is something I’m here to learn to be wise about.
Not-Self generosity: Doing things that help me hold on to who/where/what, even when it is time to let go of them because they no longer serve my highest good.
BG5 Signpost: Lack of flexibility
If it were completely open: Not knowing what to fear

Here are the other Centers:

Here are the other Centers:

Throat Center: Communication and Manifestation

Not-Self Theme: Trying to attract attention
Not-Self generosity: Doing things to communicate or manifest
BG5 Signpost: Trying to be the Star
If it’s completely open: Not knowing what to say

G Center: Love, Identity, and Direction

Not-Self Theme: Trying to find direction and love
Not-Self generosity: Doing things in alignment with others’ direction or for their love
BG5 Signpost: Role confusion/Lack of direction
If it’s completely open: Not knowing what to be

Solar Plexus Center: Emotional / Spirit Consciousness

Not-Self Theme: Avoiding confrontation and truth
Not-Self generosity: Playing nice (and not standing up for your truth when it’s time to do so as not to disturb others)
BG5 Signpost: Touchy and nervous
If it’s completely open: Not knowing what to feel

Root Center: Physical Adrenalized Pressure

Not-Self Theme: Always in a hurry to be free of the pressure
Not-Self generosity: Getting things done super fast though it may be stressful for you and others around you
BG5 Signpost: In too much of a hurry
If it’s completely open: Not knowing when to hurry

*BG5 is the career and business application of the Human Design System. Click for your free Intro Report!

Laveena Lovick

Laveena Lovick

In a split definition (two areas of colored in Centers disconnected from each other) like mine, the Not-Self strategies have a focus in the bridging areas between my two areas of Definition. In my case, the channel of Transitoriness (Gates 36-35) or being a “Jack of all Trades” is one way I have been keen on bringing my Definitions together.

With a wide-split definition like mine, in relationships, my conscious psychology will tend to see the problem with the other person, never with myself.

I had a hilarious yet tragic flash of insight while team-teaching Rave Cartography with Darshana Deborah Mathews today. The Channel of Transitoriness is the strength of the Experiencer in BG5, and the Channel of Sexual Talent in the Not-Self. 

I recognized that I left my first husband (1995-2003) because I was dissatisfied with the repeating redundancy of experiences – wanting new experiences other than the same-old routines. Though it was amazing to work on the dive-boat and take people on underwater adventures, I desired new adventures he wasn’t willing to go on with me.

I recognized that I left my second husband (2003-2010) because I was dissatisfied with our sex life – I have a rich imagination and again, wanting new experiences led me away from intimacy with him into adventures that he wasn’t willing to do with me either.

Both times, my mind found “fault” with them, not myself and I broke those bonds to seek out new ones.

Now through my Human Design education, I know I’m here to be a specialist at advising others using my recognition of feelings and imagination, not the one having all the experiences at the spontaneous invitation of another. I know now that rather than trying to be all things to all people and do everything myself, that I can’t do it alone. Now I am content to wait for everything in its right timing, through the recognition and invitation of others, along with my emotional clarity.

Those whispers of the Not-Self mind that are always wondering and worrying, scheming and planning are now drowned out by the clarity of my emotions. No matter how loud my mind gets inside, I know to wait for the invitation and to move forward when I feel clarity. And I know that even if things appear to go “wrong” or I’ve made a mistake, I’ve gained valuable experience that brings wisdom to my process and for others to draw from.

Nowadays the Not-Self machinations of my mind are sometimes quite funny, and they are easier to recognize with detachment and not act on. I know I’m helpless to go through the Deconditioning process just like everyone else.

My mind became obsessed with looking at and trying to figure out other people through this new Human Design lens right away, and now years later I still feel awe knowing how much more there is to know. I know it’s not about taking more and more classes—which I still can’t get enough of yet! It’s about putting that knowledge into practice, taking it to the streets, where the rubber meets the road, and using it—not only in my life but other people’s lives as well. This is one reason why I run regular study groups open to all my students and clients.

As a 3/5 Emotional Projector, slowly I’ve come to recognize how my body “Talks” to me, and gradually I have learned to listen, and obey. When I don’t, I get exhausted and sick, generally “trying to keep up” with the busy work-work-work frequency that values accomplishment in the external world.

The summer of 2017 semester I experienced this, plunging myself into an exhausted state, between playing the single mom role, puppy-dog momma and running my business. Through the help of a dozen Bodytalk sessions, 5 months of Soltec Lounge use and Non-VIolent Communication education, I discovered what is alive in me. In deep transformative moments over the years, I have experienced intense breakthroughs in being able to see with my personal perspective, and really being aware when I am being skewed to power. 

Imagine finally being able to connect the patterns of your life’s lessons and accept every single thing that has happened to you and every single mistake you ever thought you made.

These recognitions of what life has taught me has lead to a profound shift in my awareness and direction. I took a break from my assistant teaching and marketing position at the BG5 Business Institute to become their Digital Marketing Consultant instead. That break gave me time to learn how I wanted to support my clients and students’ in our journey together in the name of Daring to Differentiate, and encourage more children and parents using Human Design.

Laveena Lovick

Laveena Lovick

Hopefully, me sharing my story with these centers can help empower you in your own experiment. How do we end the suffering caused by Not-Self generosity? Through practicing with our Strategy and Authority in decision-making. Yes, easier said than done. Yet it is so worth the effort, my friends. Discovering what you are truly designed to takes time and trust in life’s process.

I hope your experiment is helping bring your shadows to light so that you can find the wisdom potential. I hope that you find the freedom from suffering from the Not-Self mind controlling your life. Thank goodness for Human Design to help guide our decisions!

by Laveena Lovick 

An earlier version of this article was published as the Tribulations of Not-Self Generosity on JovianArchive

Laveena Brianne Archers

Laveena Brianne Archers

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