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Guide to Human Design Not-Self Theme and Signature

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Learn about the not-self and signature theme of each aura type and profile in Human Design.

What is the Not-Self in Human Design?

Not self theme Human Design | Woman looking in a broken mirror.

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According to the complex Human Design system developed by Ra Uru Hu, we are all susceptible to conditioning. Conditioning is when we allow social expectations and cultural norms to govern and dictate our behaviour, and manifests as living out of alignment with our true purpose.

This state is known as the false self or not-self theme, and prevents us from experiencing the signature of our own energy type.

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What is Signature in Human Design?

In order to experience the signature theme of our unique Design and avoid the not-self, we must follow the authority and strategy of our aura type.

Signature in Human Design is a positive feeling which indicates that an individual is living the correct role for their type. The not-self and signature can be imagined as a spectrum, with the not-self theme being one extreme, and signature being roughly the opposite.

Human Design theory states that in order to experience the signature theme of our unique Design and avoid the not-self, we must follow the authority and strategy of our aura type.

Not-Self Theme and Signature by Energy Type

Themes are based around the energy centers, specifically an individual’s open centers and defined centers, as well as strategy type and authority types. This information can be categorised according to energy field type.

Each aura type has their own specific not-self and signature theme, as follows:

Manifestor Not Self Theme – Anger

Manifestors are pure energy beings with a clear channel from one of the motor centers to a defined Throat center. Their motorised Throat gives them the ability to initiate, in a way no other energy aura type can.

The Manifestor aura can ‘rub people up the wrong way’.

Manifestors living out of alignment with their strategy and authority experience the false self as anger. 

This tends to come about as a result of their Manifestor energy ‘rubbing people up the wrong way’ when initiating activities or projects without first informing those around them of what is going to happen. Which, given their creative energy, occurs often!

Signature – Peace

By using their strategy to smooth the process of taking charge of situations, simply by informing others of their intentions, the Manifestor type experiences their signature of peace.

Generator Not Self Theme – Frustration

It’s important for the Pure Generator to lean into the Sacral response of their defined Sacral center. Generators are the type of person for who, failing to do this, can lead to being carried along in the plans of Manifestors and Projectors.

They’re ultimately swept up in activities which do not light them up. And because Pure Generators have a very hard time walking away from incomplete projects, if they find themselves pushed into a venture that does not speak to them, they will experience intense feelings of frustration. 

Leveraging their inner authority also helps Generators to avoid situations which lead to the false self theme of frustration.

Generators has one of three inner authorities – Sacral, Splenic, or Emotional. They manifest in slightly different ways, but each is associated with an inner knowing:

  • Defined Sacral / Sacral authority – manifests as sounds and feelings from the gut
  • Defined Splenic center / Splenic authority – tummy butterflies
  • Defined Solar Plexus / Emotional authority – gains emotional clarity over time

Leveraging their inner authority also helps Generators to avoid situations which lead to the false self theme of frustration.

Signature – Satisfaction

By listening to their Sacral sounds and tuning into their powerful Sacral energy, Generators can instead be governed by their own wishes and have agency, resulting in their signature life theme of satisfaction.

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Manifesting Generator Not Self Theme – Frustration and Anger

Manifesting Generators need to pay close attention to their defined powerful Sacral motor.

As a blend of Manifestor and Generator aura, MG’s have a combination of their traits. Note they possess abundant sustainable energy from their defined Sacral motors, just like Generators (Manifestors have an open Sacral center).

As a Sacral being, Manifesting Generators also need to pay close attention to their defined powerful Sacral motor, especially if they also have Sacral authority. 

Those with Emotional authority (defined Solar Plexus) should ride their emotional wave rather than simply going with their gut response.

Signature – Peace and Satisfaction

MG’s adopt a sense of peace from the Manifestor in themselves, and satisfaction from their Generator energy traits.

Projector Not Self Theme – Bitterness

Bitterness is the Projector’s false self theme. It tends to stem from attempting to force an invitation (instead of waiting in accordance with the Projector strategy).

Following the inner guidance of our strategy and authority enables us to decondition.

Additionally, absorbing too much energy flow from auras of other types is always going to be hazard for Human Design Projectors. Unfortunately, it’s simply a fundamental part of the true nature of our life force energy, and we must learn to navigate life with our Projector aura in mind (I’m a fellow Projector myself!).

Following the inner guidance of our strategy and authority enables us to decondition and experience our signature Projector energy.

Mental Projectors with external Environmental authority should be careful to surround themselves with the right people, perhaps choosing a trusted friend to act as a sounding board.

Signature – Success

The Projector’s signature theme is success, which makes sense in the context of the not-self theme:

The false self is experienced by the Projector who tries to force invitations; when this strategy inevitably fails, Projectors are consumed by bitterness.

It follows then, that success is what lights a Projector up and allows them to be fulfilled.

Reflector Not Self Theme – Disappointment

Representing just 1% of the world’s population, Reflectors are the rarest Human Design type – the only type with all of their centers open (note the white areas on a Reflector’s Human Design bodygraph). 

By following their strategy and authority to wait a lunar cycle before making a major decision, Reflectors can begin to recognise and embrace their authentic selves.

Given their proclivity to try on masks and imitate the energy of others, Reflectors are at risk of failing to properly connect with their own true self. This trait can lead to intense disappointment for these non-energy types.

By following their strategy and authority to wait a lunar cycle before making important decisions, this type of person can begin to recognise and embrace their authentic selves.

Signature – Surprise

When Reflectors are able to avoid conditioning and tune into their true desires, they’re able to experience a sense of surprise and wonder at the world.

Profile Not-Self Themes

Below is a quick overview of not self themes for each conscious line.

When it comes to profiles, it’s only the consciously expressed personality line which is vulnerable to the not self theme. (The unconscious design line representing the physical body cannot be influenced by conditioning.)

Below is a quick overview of not self themes for each conscious line. For a more thorough understanding of the false theme associated with each individual profile, I recommend further reading of each of the Human Design profiles.

Line 1, The Investigator – Manifests as impulsiveness and a step away from conducting research.

Applies to profiles 1/3 and 1/4

Line 2, The Hermit – Manifests as discontent with life.

Applies to profiles 2/4 and 2/5

Line 3, The Martyr – Manifests as disillusionment and despondency.

Applies to profiles 3/5 and 3/6

Line 4, The Opportunist – Manifests as fear of rejection and excessive effort to influence others.

Applies to profiles 4/1 and 4/6

Line 5, The Heretic – Manifests as a lack of faith in own authority.

Applies to profiles 5/1 and 5/2

Line 6, The Role Model – Manifests as pessimism and lack of confidence.

Applies to profiles 6/2 and 6/3

Ready to Order Your Report?

Curious to find out more, or order a reading for yourself or a loved one?

A comprehensive report can be an excellent tool to help deepen your relationships. And, newly unique to the market, child reports are now also available to help strengthen your connection with your child, and support their wellbeing.

Hot tip: Use code HD963K2 for a 25% discount when you purchase two or more reports!

Unlike the free reports typically available online, the offering from Supernatural Coaching is a 120+ page comprehensive deep-dive into your unique Design and type, also covering profiles and themes and providing a quick reference guide and workbook.

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Just getting started with Human Design? Get your Essential Human Design Report for just GBP 10.00!

What Does the Science Say?

According to research1, specific traits develop as a combination of the influences of genetics and environment. These can be both positive and negative.

In terms of negative traits, these tend to be maladaptive coping strategies, brought about as a result of trauma2.

With this in mind, it seems somewhat shortsighted to suggest that specific ‘types’ of people will always default to the same inherent characteristics – it’s more likely that a person’s upbringing and experiences will influence their traits.

Further to this scientific framing of the not self and signature themes, on this occasion I’m going to also offer my personal opinion on the matter.

To suggest that the negative emotions linked with the false self theme is always indicative of a problem is shortsighted and potentially harmful.

It’s important to recognise that the human experience necessarily means feeling the full spectrum of emotions – we can’t appreciate the light without the dark, etc.

It’s not realistic nor healthy to expect to be and feel positive all of the time. In fact, there are certain situations in which ‘bad’ feelings are appropriate, for example grief when experiencing a loss or hurt when experiencing a betrayal.

To suggest that the negative emotions linked with the false self theme is always indicative of a problem is shortsighted and potentially harmful.

While it can be useful to use these ideas as prompts to look within and evaluate where we can perhaps make positive changes in our lives, it’s important to be mindful that the world is not black and white. And it’s the shades of grey which make life rich and interesting.

Signature reading Kate, with a heart.

Sources

  1. Baker LA. THE BIOLOGY OF RELATIONSHIPS: WHAT BEHAVIORAL GENETICS TELLS US ABOUT INTERACTIONS AMONG FAMILY MEMBERS. De Paul Law Rev. 2007 Spring;56(3):837-846. PMID: 26702156; PMCID: PMC4685725.
  2. How Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms Develop

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