Heart Center or Ego Center in Human Design

The greatest distortion of the planet

Ego Center in Human Design

Ego and willpower • self-esteem and self-worth • the center of the material world

Biological correlation: Heart, stomach, gall bladder, thymus gland
Type of center: Motor

The Ego is deeply materialistic. It is the heart of the family, of the tribal community, and of any company and larger business - "I scratch your back, you scratch mine". It is a powerful motor to survive, the will to provide resources, education, bonds, and everything else that is needed for the community.

If you come from a spiritual perspective, it might be confusing as to why the ego and the heart sit in the same center when in mainstream spirituality it couldn't be further apart. Conventional as well as convictional spirituality is a bit misleading and blames the wrong suspects. To lift the confusion: neither is the ego bad, nor is the heart good. Both hold the potential to be healthy and unhealthy and they are what they are.

"Ego" in new age spiritual terms is misinterpreted as a false identity of self or as unhealthy patterns that would be good to leave behind. In the context of your natal chart, you would find those aspects both in the shadow aspects of your openness (what you are not, colored in white) and in the shadow aspects of your definition (what you are, colored in turquoise and purple).
What Ego actually means is a sense of “I” in the body and in this incarnation. The ego is physically oriented and recognizes the value in physical and material matters when it is healthy. Its mechanisms center around ensuring that we have everything that we need while we are incarnated in the body. A healthy (open or defined) ego center acknowledges that we have a body with physical needs and it values those needs. It values the things that help to fulfill the most basic needs of human beings. It values the physical realm of life. A healthy ego and heart does not let children starve to death. On the contrary, it is interested in finding ways to feed them and to fulfill their practical needs.

In spirituality, there are a lot of misconceptions around the ego, but also around the heart.
The emotions of the solar plexus center are not at all the same as the heart. The emotions are changing and unreliable in the moment, while the heart is reliable.
The recommendation to "follow your heart" in new age spiritual terms can be compared to following your inner authority - which is not the heart center for most people. Only 1/3 (one-third) of humanity has a defined Heart that they can trust in, at all. And only one in a hundred people (1%) is actually supposed to follow their Heart only. These people have an ego authority built into them.

The perception of the "I" and the ego is created by the mechanics of your body through your G center, which is your Self and your connection to totality. The "I" and the ego is nothing to overcome. Having a perception of "I" does not exclude having a perception of oneness and connectedness, it does not exclude each other. We all belong to the same huge organism, like cells and microbes in a human body do. At the same time, we are individual parts of the world that have a unique path through life - like cells and microbes in a human body each have their task to do and role to play. If all cells and microbes suddenly gave up their individual roles and tasks in the body and wanted to be merged as one entity with the whole body, the body would just stop working.
The ego or the "I" is nothing bad. Neither is materialism. It depends on what we make of it and if we handle it with grace or with disgrace toward others. A stable material situation is the foundation of being able to invest energy and resources into becoming more aware. If your butt is freezing it's hard to become enlightened.

Every large group of people operates through the Ego, even the hippies at Woodstock. It is what rules the world at the most fundamental mechanical level. When the Ego or "I" is being initiated and brought in touch with the nature of the Self, the Self can be expressed through the Ego. The higher plan can be expressed through the material plane, which leads to an evolution of the tribal structures and laws. In that process, humanity changes.

The ego center can be either defined or it can be open and amplifying the defined Egos in the environment. Most people have an open Ego, which is where the great distortion happens when other peoples' ego energy is being amplified and lived out without awareness.

Defined Ego Center in Human Design

Defined Ego (active life force, impacting)

Find a good balance

35% of humanity has a defined ego center, which means that most people do not have a defined Ego.
A defined ego center is illustrated as turquoise, purple, or both.

Someone with a defined Ego in their natal chart has consistent access to willpower. They have the power to carry through what they promise. Their defined Ego helps them to tackle things that need to be tackled, and at the same time, it needs a lot of rest. If you have a defined Ego you can tackle those undertakings really hard that rely on willpower. You can work like a berserk for a short while, even if it's an unpleasant task, but then you need to take time off to let your Ego regenerate. Rest is important, otherwise, you burn yourself out. Receiving some kind of reward and motivator for your contributions is also important, that's the bargain that stems from knowing the worth of your own work and energy.

Defined Egos often end up being the ones that are doing the unpleasant work because no one else bothers to do it and is able to pull through with it. It's vital for you to distinguish or learn to distinguish what is of real importance for you in your life and to not let others use you to do the dirty work. Do not let others enslave you.
If you have people with defined Egos close to you it’s going to be helpful to recognize that need for rest in them, and to let them have it. Also, it’s going to be helpful to meet them according to their type and their inner authority, so that they enter into promises and tasks correctly. It’s going to be helpful for everyone involved if they do not burn themselves out through committing to the wrong things and the relationship stays sustainable.

Usually, defined Egos are expected to show (prove) that what they offer is of worth and to work for what they receive. This kind of proving is natural for a defined Ego, although not always necessary. A defined Ego can have a good natural sense for when it is worth it and valuable to prove something and when it is a waste of energy to try proving something because it is the wrong battle. There can be a reliable recognition for when such proof is needed and valuable, or when attempts to prove oneself would be nonsensical, futile, or simply unnecessary.
Their own unique way of dealing with the material world, bargains, promises, and deals is fixed through the channels that define their ego center.

Shadows of the defined Ego

People with a defined Ego in its shadow state don't know how to invest their energy and they make mental decisions. Because they have the willpower to carry those decisions through, they can heavily wear themselves out. They just keep going and going, maybe because they promised something to someone, but if neither their Heart nor their inner authority is in it, it will burn them out.

They put others under pressure and they expect them to have the same willpower and energy to pull things through. They make others feel worthless when they are not.
They over-identify with the body they are in and with the persona they live out in this life. They are overly prideful instead of seeing the higher dynamics at play and instead of recognizing that they are not responsible for being given willpower. They might even think of others as lesser than them because they have this will to accomplish that many people do not have.

There is no reason to be boastful, every person fits into the big picture, so do you. It is not you personally who is responsible for being born with the willpower of a defined Ego and all the other gifts that were given to you in this incarnation. With great power comes great responsibility. The power that you have been given is willpower. Please use it wisely.

Often people with a defined Ego have grown up under a lot of pressure, especially coming from people with an open Ego who amplified the defined Ego's energy without any awareness. They might have grown up with power struggles, over-competitiveness, manipulation, and being expected to deliver more than is healthy for them. This might have led to a feeling that something is wrong with them or with the world. It's time to end that vicious cycle. Awareness changes everything. If you come from a place of having been suppressed and neglected, if this has given you a distaste for people and led you to deflate or inflate your Ego, then it is now your turn to find your true self and the value in your existence and to balance the extremes. You deserve to love yourself and to be loved. Many people struggle with recognizing what is of value and what is not of value. If people struggled to recognize your value, it does not mean that you are not valuable. Not at all. When you start to have a healthy "I", your defined Ego will broadcast this and empower others to find their own healthy sense of "I". Not only will you find your own worth, but you will also have impact in showing other people their worth. You will become less involved in willpower-struggles. Life will flow more smoothly.

If the Ego is defined unconsciously (turquoise), if it is part of a split definition, or if there is a gate 10 or other specific components in someone's chart, then they might struggle with similar issues as an open Ego. It might benefit everyone without exception to take a look at the section on the shadows of the open Ego, further down in this article.

Potential of the defined Ego

You know your worth and you do not let yourself be talked into underselling yourself. You don't give a damn what other people think about you. At the same time, you treat them with respect and you don't put yourself above others. You know exactly your place. You know that the "I", the "Ego" and your accomplishments are nothing that you are personally responsible for, but that the divine expresses itself through you, such as through everyone else.
You know what's worth putting your willpower into and being determined about. When shit hits the fan or when it's worth it, you can be determined and strong-willed. You have the willpower to carry things through and you don't mind doing the unpleasant work as long as it is what you need to do, what your inner authority tells you to do, and what simply feels right. You enjoy getting things done and delivering. At the same time, you know when to rest and you allow yourself to take that rest. Half of the enjoyment of getting things done with Ego energy probably comes from being able to get back to rest and ticking things off the list after successful deliverance and finishing the task. Working from Ego energy has a lot to do with working efficiently because the energy is limited.
In comparison to ego energy, the energy of the sacral center is quite the opposite. Sacral energy is very sustainable, but it responds to things that feel satisfying in the process of doing them. When there is something urgent and unpleasant to be done, for example, the tax report, then the Ego can power that task - but afterward, it needs its rest.

You only promise things that you can keep and that are correct for you. This establishes a feeling of trust in others.
At the same time, you do not pressure others. You can be firm and sturdy but you are aware that you can very easily pressure people to keep up with your force of will - and not everyone can, nor is it right in every situation. Regardless of unique skills, gifts, and your personal preferences, at the base level, you value fellow human beings as much as you value yourself as a human being. You appreciate the value of other people's contributions. You can really lift people up and help them find their worth.

Open Ego Center in Human Design

Open Ego (receptive, perceptive)

!! You have nothing to prove !!

65% of humanity has an open ego center.
An open ego center is illustrated as white.

If you have an open ego center in your natal chart, you have no consistent access to willpower and self-worth. You will likely have the feeling that you need to work on this and on other "issues" that you have, and people around you might have told you so - but you don't need to forcefully work on yourself. You are good as you are, there is nothing wrong with you, no change to be enforced in order for you to be better.
Rather explore yourself without pressure and see where it leads you. Problematic themes that hold you back from living your full potential will change on their own, through reflection and exploration. All that is needed is awareness and patience with yourself. Pressuring yourself to be better is counterproductive. Through observing again and again how you pressure yourself, you can slowly let that pressure go. You are good as you are, and the change that is supposed to come will come without you trying to prove that you can be or become better. Life will simply bring you opportunities to grow, such as it brings those opportunities to everyone. One of your biggest lessons in life is to let go of the need to prove your worth and to make peace with who you are. Also, you are here to learn to not give in to external pressure to prove yourself or to make commitments and promises being asked of you. If you let yourself be pressured into making a promise, you most likely will not have the willpower to carry it through anyway. Because your willpower fluctuates, it might not be there when you think that you need it to keep a promise. This can protect you from doing what is not right for you. You are not here to be reliable with willpower and to make promises. The more you make them, the more you break them – people will not appreciate broken promises, and you might end up with a relationship mess. It is best to be honest to yourself and to others. The people who are meant for you will appreciate you as you are, without you needing to promise anything to them.

When it comes to deciding what to do, you can rely on your inner authority to decide. It's wise not to make promises for the future. But if you do, go with the flow and don't beat yourself up if at some point there is no energy to do what you wanted to do. Do not beat yourself up over it, this is your protection in life to not succumb to the wrong things and promises. Believe it or not, most things that the average human being encounters in their lives are not exactly right for them. You have a kind of natural protection from that. If you are trying to judge yourself by the standards of society (false standards) it might look as if you are a failure, but you are not. When we judge ourselves by those standards, we are lost - because people who are living their true nature simply don't fit into those standards. We live in a society that signals us to become better, richer, prettier, more knowledgeable, etc. With an open Ego, you get easily trapped in a vicious cycle of overachieving. You try to fulfill these expectations and it does not work. You feel like a failure, so you try even harder. The harder you try, the harder you will fail, the more you will feel like a failure. But remember that you are not. You are good as you are. No one is here to live according to other people's expectations, we are all here to live our uniqueness.

You can see your open Ego as a blessing: you do not have the willpower to carry through what is not meant to be for you. So don't get caught up in judging yourself over it. Instead, focus on what it is that is REALLY meant for you and what gets you all excited. Be honest with people - do not make promises to them when you can not. Honest communication is the key. At the same time, do not buy the blame that might be directed towards you when you disappoint people's expectations. You are not supposed to live for others. It's your life, your body, your way. You are worthy of being loved just as you are and you do not need to prove it. The most important thing is that you are true to yourself. It makes life so much easier and enjoyable. Yet, you don't need to prove that you are true to yourself. You have absolutely nothing to prove.

With an open Ego, dealing with bargains and the material plane is not your task. You do not have a natural feeling for the value and worth of things, this is a learning theme and you can become extremely wise in it over the course of your life.
You are not here to prove things like the defined Ego does. Just enjoy the ride.
If you have skipped the part on the defined Ego, it will benefit you to read that as well, because this is the energy that you are amplifying in your open Ego, for the good or the bad, and whether you know it or not.

Shadows of the open Ego

In a shadow state, you are trapped in low self-esteem and self-worth. You are not letting in the good things because you feel like you are not good enough and you don't deserve them. You accept less than you are worth, less money or emotional reward for your work, less love, worse treatment, worse conditions. You might love to buy things and throw your money down the drain because you don't tune within before you spend it. No object on earth can make you feel rewarded and in equilibrium if you commit to all the wrong things out of a need to prove your worth.
You are giving in to the pressure to prove yourself, to prove that you are worthy and valuable. It is the pressure to prove that you are good enough, to prove that you are right, to prove that you are loyal and that you can keep your promises, to prove that you are willful enough, to prove that you are in control, to prove that you are pretty enough, to prove that you are knowledgeable, to prove that you are a good lover, to prove that you are spiritual and enlightened, and so on. Giving in to that pressure and trying to prove yourself can make you look like a fool. Also, people will perceive you as not trustworthy if you pressure yourself into promising things that you ultimately don't fulfill. Or you might just lie - either in order to hide your perceived inadequacies or to tell an exaggerated story that proves how great you are.

In a shadow state, there is always a feeling that there is work to do and that you are not yet good as you are, and you believe that feeling. But remember, you are good as you are and exactly as you are meant to be.
If you do not have a repressive nature but a reactive one, you might also inflate your self-confidence when being in the company of a defined Ego. You might easily get pumped up to a level where you seem like a dragon to others. You might get into ego fights, competition, and power struggles easily. Let it go. You have nothing to prove.

It can easily happen to you that you talk to someone with a defined Ego who gives you access to willpower and a feeling of determination. During your conversation, you come to the conclusion that you need to stop smoking and that you will stop smoking today. You feel truly determined. When you get home, the energy of the defined Ego slowly leaves your system and unwinds. The determination vanishes and you are left as you were before. Maybe it is correct for you to quit smoking and maybe you will even manage to do so – congratulations! But, more likely, you felt so pumped up and powerful next to the defined Ego that you totally forgot how you normally feel, that you forgot that you wanted to take it slow, without stressing yourself and without forcing anything. You might have forgotten all of that, and temporarily truly believed in the artificial super hero story you were motivated to believe. And then you beat yourself up over not having the power to follow through. This is what happens to open Ego people who go to Alcoholics Anonymous, self-help groups, or motivational workshops. The spiritual industry milks good money out of the open Egos on this planet by keeping them caught in the illusion that there is something to do. And so you do not follow through on quitting smoking today. You think it's time to try the next thing, maybe there is someone else who can help you, another method, another system, another person. But in the first place, you feel like a failure because you did not make it. Stop blaming yourself for that! If you put additional stress upon yourself now, you will only harm yourself and even hamper productive progress. Progressive change is encouraged and empowered by a solid foundation that feels good and rewarding in celebrating the good things and achievements, but not pressuring for more and letting things flow naturally. Progress is not empowered by punishment and by beating ourselves up over a "lack" of achievement. Take it easy, go with the flow, and analyze where you are pressuring yourself too much. Analyze where you are falling into the trap of certain self-degrading thought patterns. When you observe this pressure and these inner dynamics over and over again, they will slowly start to lose their grip on you. Just let life flow, do not pressure yourself. You need no willpower to get out of stressful things that you don't like. Observation, patience, and acceptance are enough. If you accept yourself and the current situation as it is, things will slowly start to change automatically because you take the stress out of the situation and make room for something new. Things might move slow and it might be almost invisible, but that shift in awareness that you go through carries a bigger and more sustainable positive impact than everything you could ever do by the force of willpower. Awareness is the key.

Questions for the open Ego to become aware of its shadow aspects:
- Do you feel you need to prove your worth?
- Do you sometimes do foolish things in order to show that you are brave or worthy?
- Do you make promises?
- Do you value yourself?
- Do you value yourself enough to say no?
- Do you manipulate or even lie in order to craft your own artificial value and to get positive feedback on how great you are?
- Do you act loyal and reliable in order to be valued?
- Do you feel as if you are not good enough at having things under control?
- Do you feel a need to control life, and do you have difficulties with the concept of "no choice" and with giving up the illusion of control and mental manifestation?

Potential of the open Ego

Because you take in other people's Ego and amplify the frequency, you can feel who has a healthy sense of self-worth and "I" - and who has not. You can see who is able to keep their promises, and who is just talking empty phrases. You can see who puts unhealthy expectations and demands on others. You can become very wise about survival in the material world and about who can be trusted.
You don't try to control other people and the flow of life. You don't give in to the pressure to prove yourself and to compete with anyone. You do not allow others to convince you of doing things that are not right for you. You understand that you are ok as you are. You have nothing to prove to anyone, not even to yourself. You are able to work with people without making promises. You involve yourself in work, family, and your community through trusting and following your inner authority.