(approximate reading time 10-15mins)
14. Chief Negative Features (obstacles)
The concept of “chief negative features” refers to habitual ways we learn to protect ourselves and defend ourselves from experiencing that which we fear.
We learn these fear-based, self-protective habits during childhood and “lock-onto” one or two ways of protecting ourselves by the time we reach young adulthood.
Fear is very natural and useful! This instinctive mechanism is used to help keep the body and personality from harm’s way. However, by the time we reach young adulthood, most of us are using these chief feature mechanisms far more than is actually useful. We learn to use them in anticipation of threatening experiences, rather than in the midst of a truly threatening experience. We use them due to many more imagined fears than actual, real, in-the-moment threats to our survival.
Also, it is true that we may have needed some of these protective strategies when we were younger and less equipped to handle some of the complex challenges of life. But as we grow in age and consciousness, we have much more capacity to meet the challenges and complexity of life with creative response instead of reactionary defense.
As we grow and mature, the chief features become more and more of a stumbling block or obstacle to experiencing wholeness an fulfillment.
They block our experience of wholeness and fulfillment by keeping us locked in narrow ways of processing and interpreting the events of our lives. In Michael-speak, they keep us locked in our NEGATIVE POLES.
In and of themselves, the negative poles of personality are neither “good” nor “bad”. They are simply the parts of us that can focus, dissect, narrow-down, make distinctions and focus on more of the concrete reality and details of life. Our negative poles allow us to deal with the “nitty-gritty” of physical plane reality, but they also emphasize a sense of exclusion and separation.
The problem is not with the negative poles. The problem is getting stuck in the negative poles so that we have little access to the bigger picture, which is represented by our POSITIVE POLES.
The positive poles are the parts of us that are always open to receive new information about experience and continually update our perspective. These parts of us see the bigger picture and tend to be far more expansive and abstract. The perspective here is broad and amplifies a sense of inclusion and unity.
The chief features keep us stuck in our negative poles and distort our perception of reality. They block new information and keep us locked in the maya and illusion of our own fragile reality. Ego is one term for this part of who we are. Michael more often uses the term FALSE PERSONALITY to describe this state of fearful consciousness.
The compliment to false personality is on the other side of the spectrum: TRUE PERSONALITY. We experience true personality when we are experiencing life from our positive poles. And this is also how we are able to experience and “manifest” our essences. To manifest essence means to experience TRUTH, LOVE and ENERGY, as well as every other inner resource we could ever need in order to navigate life with security, enthusiasm and confidence.
Judging by the above descriptions, it might seem as though we should always aim for being in our positive poles as much as possible! But Michael teaches that we are not designed to only experience our positive poles. We are designed to experience a spectrum of experience. They teach that the positive poles actually INCLUDE the negative poles. So, when one is balanced in ones being, one has constant access to their higher perspective while they tend to the mundane realities of life. The WHOLENESS comes from the capacity to be fluid and able to navigate both ends of the spectrum from negative to positive and everything in between.
All this is to say that the chief negative features inhibit our awareness of our essence or higher self. When we are totally entrenched in these fear patterns, we have little access to our essences’ wisdom, insight, love, creativity, encouragement, comfort, healing, inspiration, enthusiasm, forgiveness, clarity, vitality, etc.
For those that seek to be less unconscious/reactive/asleep and more conscious/responsive/awake in life, the only pathway is through becoming aware of, understanding and being able to set-aside the chief negative features.
The chief negative features tell LIES, and to live a more fulfilled life, you have to get beyond them to the TRUTH.
There are 7 chief negative features and they all want to protect us from life experiences that are quite natural:
Chief features that seek to protect us from the natural realities of EXISTING/BEING (self-esteem issues)
SELF-DEPRECATION (-self-absement/+humilty) defends against fear of being invisible or not being seen clearly/fear of being seen and judged as inadequate
ARROGANCE (-vanity/+pride) defends against fear of being seen too clearly/fear of being seen and judged as too much
Chief features that seek to protect us from the natural realities of DESIRES/HAVING (self-worth issues)
SELF-DESTRUCTION (-suicide/+sacrifice) defends against fear of having too much/fear of not being worth what one has
GREED (-gluttony/+appetite) defends against fear of not having enough/fear of never having enough of what one wants/needs
Chief features that seek to protect us from the natural realities of the PHYSICAL PLANE (control issues)
MARTYRDOM (-victimization/selflessness+) defends against the fear of losing control of space and the environment
IMPATIENCE (-intolerance/+audacity) defends against the fear of losing control of time/fear of wasting time
Chief feature that seeks to protect us from the natural realities of CHANGE (fear of the unknown)
STUBBORNNESS (-obstinancy/determination+) defends against the fear of change, new experiences and the unknown
I will use one of my own chief features to help explain how they work.
My primary chief feature is IMPATIENCE. This protective mechanism seeks to defend against my fear of losing control of TIME.
I could immediately validate this chief feature! In the past, I could drive myself and everyone else crazy with my impatient explosions.
Until I did some investigation into the lies of this chief feature, I always had this vague fear of losing control of time, that I had to do everything NOW, or else I would soon run out of time. The slightest delay or breakdown could send me into an inner rage that I could barely keep from erupting all around me.
And my goal in life is to FLOW and experience PEACE and FREEDOM. This habit of reacting with impatience to every unexpected delay effectively distorted the reality of peace and freedom that was always available to me.
Impatience would lie and make promises that never came true, making me believe that there was always a clock to race against and that if I would just rush and hurry enough, then I could somehow get it all done and free up my time to experience that peace and freedom for which I longed. But I could never get it done fast enough, as there would always be something else to do!
The impatience promised that somehow I could control time. It was a lie.
The truth is that I can only control how I choose to relate to the passing of time. Another truth is that the impatient reactions actually increase the time it takes for me to do things. Yet another truth is that the impatience feels awful inside my body and makes everyone around me very uncomfortable.
It is very difficult to extinguish a chief feature completely, and when you remove yourself from the grips of one, there is a tendency to take on another! Still, one can become aware of the chief features and learn to set them aside so that one can respond more consciously to fear.
Though I still experience impatience, I am very much aware of whenever it rears its ugly head, and I am able to breathe through it and set it aside so that I can get back to experiencing my flow, peace and freedom.
I have been able to see the truth that most of the time when I am not able to accomplish a goal as quickly as I would like, my life is not actually in jeopardy, and the only thing keeping me from experiencing the fulfillment of flow, peace and freedom is my own reactions in the moment.
Validation of your chief features is quite an empowering step towards freeing yourself from unconscious and reactionary behavior. On the other side of this is the growing capacity to consciously co-create a more fulfilling life with essence, a life that is full of love, peace, joy, security, prosperity and every other good thing you can imagine.
I hope you have gained some useful insights from this basic breakdown of the information that you will receive in your Michael Profile. In time, I will go into much more detail about every profile element mentioned in this 4-part series.
Be on the lookout for my next blog on choice, a concept that is the foundation of The Michael Teachings.