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Understanding the Four Arrows in Human Design

If you’re familiar with Human Design, you’ve probably noticed four arrows hovering by the sides of the “person” in the middle of the chart. You’ve also noticed that each arrow may point to the left or to the right. 

That’s not random, nor is it on purpose. Each arrow expresses four different ways of interacting with the circumstances in our lives. These are digestion, awareness, environment, and perspective

When it comes to the direction they point, the arrows (which may also be called “variables”) are strongly connected to the right and left side hemispheres of the brain. 

As you probably already know, there’s a theory that states people can either be left-brained or right-brained. One side will be dominant, depending on each person’s characteristics. 

If you’ve seen illustrative representations of both sides, you might remember how the right side is displayed as colorful and “explosive”, while the left side is often monochromatic and features numbers and equations. Something similar to this:

There’s a reason for that. 

Right-brained people are thought to be creative, artistic, and spontaneous. The dominant traces of left-brained people, on the other hand, are analytical thinking, attention to detail, and logical pursuits. 

When it comes to the arrows themselves, here’s an example of what they could look like in a chart: 

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Of course, the direction each of them faces will vary. If we were to try every possible direction each of them could point to, we’d reach 16 distinct combinations. That’s how different people are from one another in terms of Human Design! 

What’s more, whether each of these arrows points left or right, every direction bears a different outlook, a different approach, and a different response to circumstances and events in life. 

Below is a thorough explanation of the meaning of each arrow, as well as what each direction represents.

The Digestion Arrow

This arrow symbolizes digestion in various ways: digestion of food, thoughts, and digestion of any outside stimuli. It also relates to the way you go about our day and responsibilities (such as eating and working) and whether you prefer to follow a strict routine or see where the day leads you. 

If it Points to the Left...

A regular schedule is your best friend. If you can plan meals and follow schedules to a “T”, you will. When you stick to consistency, you feel better about yourself. That means you still have control over a few things in life, and the more you can control, the better. 

If it Points to the Right...

You’re spontaneous. Your meal schedule is flexible. To you, planning is suffocating and would make you feel less fulfilled and productive whether it comes to meals, activities, or anything else. You follow your gut instincts and that works perfectly for you. 

The Environment Arrow

This arrow is about the way you relate and connect to the environment around you. The “environment” in question encompasses the place where you are physically, together with the people in this area. It can also mean the place you are at mentally or in a relationship, for instance. One’s personal environment is what people mean when they say “I’m in a really good place right now”. 

If it Points to the Left...

You benefit from being in the same spot every day, it doesn’t matter if it’s your usual lunch spot or your desk at the office. You like being connected to familiar places and being “grounded”. Traveling and going to different places may not be an issue to you, but it’s the thought of returning to the place you call home at the end of the day that gives you strength. 

If it Points to the Right...

You find beauty in diversification. You’re adventurous. Even if you don’t know where you’ll be from one moment to the next, that excites you instead of making you worried or irritated. Without travel and change, you feel incomplete. Changing environments is something you enjoy, even if that only means you’ll be working or eating somewhere different every day (or every week). 

The Perspective Arrow 

Your perspective is the way you see the world. Think about this arrow as a filter through which you look at life. Someone might see it as grey and hopeless, whereas others might see it colorful, in a more optimistic way. While this doesn’t directly relate to hues, it relates to someone’s point of view.

If it Points to the Left...

You’re the type of person who loves envisioning your future in detail. You take in every small nuance, and you focus less on the big picture and more in individual facts. You’re usually eager to know if things will pan out as planned, which may sometimes give you a need to control things.

If it Points to the Right...

A broad, unattached view of the world is more important to you. You even bask in the detours and delays of life, knowing that things may not eventuate as you thought they would, and that’s okay. It doesn’t really matter how you get there, as long as the big picture remains the same. 

The Awareness Arrow 

This arrow refers to how your mind takes in knowledge. Think of it this way: our minds act as a filter. Outside information won’t enter the brain as is--instead, it’ll pass through each person’s particular beliefs and pre-existing notions. Finally, each individual will apply their own judgement to acquired information. But for that to happen, they first need to use their own learning methods.

If it Points to the Left...

You like to memorize things, and you learn better that way, regardless if people tell you that “memorizing isn’t learning”. Remember: details are important to you. You have a tendency to enjoy subjects that are  mainly exact and don’t wander between possibilities. If 2 + 2 = 4, it’s because there’s a solid explanation for it, and no one can say otherwise. 

If it Points to the Right...

You have no problem reading between the lines, and you actually search for truth and the “why” behind everything, even if that means looking at a hundred different possibilities. Creativity is the connection between unrelated things, and that’s your preferred way to remember important things: by connecting one thing to another. You don’t agree with traditional learning methods, and think everyone should have their intelligence valued. 

The Takeaway

While reading this, you might have identified with some of these arrows. That’s amazing, and indicates you’re on the right track towards getting to know yourself better. Still, you could take your self-knowledge to a new level. 

You could be living in exact sync to who you’re supposed to be, and making the right decisions without constantly wondering “am I doing the right thing? Will this bring about terrible consequences?”. Imagine knowing yourself to the point of no longer worrying about such wonderings, because you’ll be certain of the outcome at all times. 

That’s what Human Design is about, and hence the importance to bring awareness to this elaborate study of the self. 

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