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  • Writer's pictureThalien Colenbrander


I first came across Human Design about 5 months ago and it has been such a tremendously helpful source that I decided to dedicate a blog to it. While I'll briefly describe what Human Design is below, I mostly just wanted to share my personal experience with it and how it has contributed to my understanding of how to technically navigate life. If you find it interesting you can check out the links at the bottom of the post to read more about Human Design and how it may help you out.

Human Design (HD) is a holistic synthesis of Western Astrology, Chinese I-Ching, Tree of Life from Kabbalah, chakras, Vedic philisophy and quantum physics. It uses birthdate, time, and place of birth, to indicate how each person is best suited to exchange energy with the world. Personalities are divided into the following five energy types:

  • Manifestors

  • Generators

  • Manifesting Generators

  • Projectors

  • Reflectors

Each of these main types have subtypes, further laying out the details of your blueprint, e.g. your Strategy (how to use that energy to thrive) and Authority (your decision-making process) and many more. On the most practical level, HD provides a detailed and personalised users manual that outlines how you are uniquely wired to thrive in your lifetime.

When we live in alignment with our unique wiring, we begin to experience a level of flow, comfort and acceptance for who we are, instead of chasing who we are not—and we’re able to live out our real purpose in the world.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of what HD has done for me is that it has given me an intense sense of PERMISSION to be me. It gave me a language for things I’ve always known in my heart to be true about myself, but have never given myself permission to fully own or step into. I resisted them because I judged them as tendencies from my lower self. For example, my impulsivity. My bursts of fascination for a certain subject, only to see them wane or be dropped altogether some weeks/months later. My emotional nature. My busy monkey mind and the fact I often change my opinion on matters. My jack of trades profile. My tendency to respond to external stimuli/input rather than be a self-starter.

Turns out, I had been getting in my own way simply because I was trying to be something I was not. Giving myself permission to operate in a way that uniquely works for me is making all the difference and giving me major pointers on how to keep in alignment with my true north.

One of the biggest reliefs has been shaking off the limiting belief that I should become an expert in anything I proclaim to practise or aspire to teach. I’m able to absorb a lot about a certain topic in a relative short amount of time and then integrate it in a creative ways to enrich the body of knowledge and lived experience already within me. As my awareness expands, I become more susceptible to pointers and live way more from the gut than the head. I’m finding more and more that if it’s not a “fuck yes”, it’s probably a no. If I’m having doubts about something, there’s a reason.

While I started living more aligned with myself long before I found HD, the system is helping me to further fine-tune my inner compass and giving me a solid system of reference.

Looking back, the problem with resisting my own nature had been that I attracted people and situations into my life that supported self-dismissal. I'll use my last relationship as a backdrop and example for how this dynamic played out. I found myself a partner who ‘kept me on the rails’ (I remember literally describing him like that to a colleague). Someone with a very stable background, raised in a family that ticked all the boxes of the typical Western conformist, capitalist and patriarchal mindset. He didn’t like taking risks or unexpected events, didn’t change his mind often. Dependable, responsible, honest. A great guy. If he was the steamboat keeping course no matter what, I was the speedboat bouncing off the waves, experimenting in all directions.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t recognise or embrace my 'design' and judged myself for my inconsistencies. His background and foundation was very different from my own then shaky sense of self, which amplified not just my self-dismissal but also the dismissal of my heritage, my roots. What I know now, is that I wanted (needed?) a partner who could celebrate our differences, who could instill confidence and encourage me to do me, even though it was wildly different from how he would handle things. But ofcourse, what was most needed was my own recognition and ownership of who I am. Which was lacking.

The relationship started out as equals, but gradually changed into a situation where his way to navigate life became the norm. It was never said out loud, but we both agreed his upbringing and status quo were superior to mine. There was no bad intent on his side, he was really so loving and genuinely trying to help me, but simply operating from his limited frame of reference. As was I. I wasn't living my design. We teach others how to treat us. If I was treating myself with self-deprecation and always looking at myself as somehow lacking and falling short, how could I expect him to treat me any different?

It was in that relationship that I mostly clearly remember my intuition speak loudly to me in the form of a stomach churning realisation of "it's over". I even remember the exact moment, the look on his face, and my jarring dissonance and confusion. The truth was so inconvenient that I swept it under the rug, but it kept resurfacing. On paper, we were great, and we vibed so well on many levels, but at some point I just couldn’t do it any more. It was another year before I acted on my intuition, instigating what would be the demise of my first (and to this day last) long-term relationship. It came to a point I didn't even care whether we stayed together or split up, I just needed the inner turmoil to cease. I’m still so proud of the courage it took to do this, and it was the onset for what turned out to be my spiritual revolution. This relationship (which ended in 2018) and the journey I subsequently embarked on, has taught me the importance of refraining from giving people unsolicited advice. We are wired differently. What works great for me and seems like the most logical, efficient, effective way to get from A to B may not work for somebody else.

The journey taught me that sometimes (often?) one needs to get out of alignment with the rest of the world to get back into alignment with oneself.

Taught me that the most important relationship is the one I have with myself. This relationship should always be my #1 priority and guide all my other relationships. The only person’s respect that I should constantly be striving for is my own.

Taught me that when the mind and body are in conflict about an issue, trust the body.

Taught me that if I look at my partner or people in my circle and I feel uninspired, it means I don’t have a circle, I have a cage.

Taught me that when I practice my gifts, they become my calling.

Taught me that what I’m looking to find is what I’m meant to create.

Taught me that life changes for the better when I stop being subtle about what I want.

Taught me that whatever wants I have, the universe only has 3 answers: (1) Yes. (2) Yes, but not yet. (3) No, I have something better for you.

Taught me that negative thoughts will not manifest a negative life (but unconscious negative thoughts will).

Taught me the importance of lifting people up and instilling faith and confidence that all their little quirks and mystifying ways of doing things are put in place for a reason. They are living their blueprint. And if they aren't (yet), let them find it out for themselves.

Taught me that I have a lot of answers. In fact, I’m a frigging oracle. But they match my life questions, not yours. You have your own answers (and you will find them if you do the work).

Taught me to share my experience, yes, but don’t give advice.

Taught me to not interfere, just hold space for others because I have no way of knowing what their soul’s task is in this lifetime. Someone may to fighting a battle I know nothing about. This could be someone very close to me. I learned not to judge what I don't understand.

This journeying is sacred. And grass won’t grow faster when you pull it. Imagine seeing a butterfly struggle to get out of its cocoon. You love it, so you want to help it and decide to slice open the cocoon, supporting its release. The butterfly dies. Because it needed the struggle to become what it was meant to be. The obstacle is the way. Stand back and witness the sacred unfurling.

I feel like cursiosity doesn't get enough credit these days. In my opinion, curiosity is a divine mechanism put in place for humans to find their purpose and superpower. I never hush my curiosity because it's a trailhead. Whenever something sparks my interest, I feed it. Even when it doesn't make sense. Hell, ESPECIALLY when it doesn't make sense. I used to self-censor my interests. Accepting or dismissing them based on my rational discernment of how ‘useful’ I thought it would be or to what level it matched what I already had going on in my life. Today, I know that my curiosity isn’t random. Here's some advice (to be fair, I did mention I change my mind a lot ;-)) : If you’re new to intuition and not sure how it feels, follow your curiosity. Curiosity is intuition on steroids. Curious side note: curiosity that arises in agitation is more aligned with your ego. Curiosity that arise in stillness is more aligned with your soul. The same rule applies to desires, in my experience.

Human Design in and of itself is a great example of this. I’ve never been much interested in astrology, it just never lit me up, despite being quite immersed in other things spiritual. But HD just grabbed me from the moment I gave it my slightest attention. I was immensely curious about it from the get go. It was the same pull I felt with psychedelic plant medicines, with IFS therapy, with Thai Yoga Massage, sound healing, organising retreats, Buddhism, Bramacharya, meeting certain people and other things that have proved pivotal in my life. The practices/situations came on my path seemingly randomly and lit me up viscerally, the memory of the first encounter seared in my being. Ignition on. I couldn’t explain why I felt this weird pull towards them, but I just followed my curiosity, and they have allowed me to grow and integrate in the most perfect and organic way, allowing me to become who I was meant to be.

HD gave me permission to release the urge to fit into social norms of success. In terms of lifestyle, money, career, romantic relationships, productivity, appearance and more. And by letting go of trying to fit it, I found the security I had been looking for all along. I found true security in an embodied sense of belonging to myself, first and foremost.

When I am lit up and excited by an idea, I seem to have an ability to powerfully bring that idea to life, often faster than most people. I move between different projects in a fluid fashion and am a multi-passionate creative force. I notice when I'm feeling satisfied or frustrated and adjust accordingly. I embrace my impulsivity but try to wait till emotions settle before making important decisions (I find this very difficult haha). "Respond, don't react" is one of my mantra's. I'm an experiential investigator and knowledge seeker at heart and therefore supergenerous with my time and money to satisfy that insatiable thirst. Trainings, workshops, seminars - I'm either enrolled in them or have several lined up. I'm currently signed up for 170 hr of education (divided over 6 different trainings) happening between June and October. Wiiehoooo!! :-)

If this blog sparked your interest in Human Design, and you want to find out more about it, here are a few sources I’m currently using:

Getting my personalised chart (shown in the figure above) was immensely insightful in and of itself and I also really benefitted from receiving a deep dive professional reading IRL a few weeks ago. If you're familiar with HD, I'd love to hear your key takeaways and how it's impacted your life. Let me know in a comment below!

xx Thalien

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1 Comment

Rika Martinez
Rika Martinez
Apr 24, 2023

Thanks for sharing Thalien! 🌞

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