Human Archetypes and Limiting Beliefs
One way to understand limiting beliefs better is to look at the Archetypes which make up human personality. An Archetype is simply a way of describing a certain part of your personality.
In my work I focus on four Archetypes: the Sovereign, the Lover, the Warrior, and the Magician. Each of these Archetypes will develop as we grow up and become the basis of who we are as adults.
But few of us experience our Archetypes in their ideal, fully realised, emotionally mature form. Few of us become who we were always meant to be.
Why? Simply because as we grow up, we are all emotionally wounded. This wounding is inevitable; we all suffer “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Sadly, these experiences inhibit, stunt, or completely stop the development of the various parts of our personality.
And these emotional wounds are the ultimate origin of the limiting beliefs which hold us back, as adults, from the success we crave. First, though, let’s look at a brief description of the various Archetypes in their mature, balanced form.
When you are empowered to be all you can be as a child, your Sovereign Archetype develops into your mature Adult self, the part of you which acts as Leader in your life. Read more here. This is the part of you which controls your way of being in the world. It’s the part of you responsible for making decisions in your life, for exercising judgement about where to go and what to do, and for choosing between different options.
In fact your Sovereign is responsible for finding your life’s mission and planning the vision of your future, even deciding upon your life purpose. Your Sovereign holds the energy of your self-esteem, your confidence, your self-worth, and a sense of whether you feel equal to every other human being on the planet – or not! Your sense of self-worth, power and presence in the world is directly related to the strength of your Sovereign energy. If your Sovereign energy is not encouraged during childhood, your self worth and confidence in the world as an adult are diminished.
Your Lover Archetype is the part of you which holds your ability to connect with other people, with life, with the world around you, and with yourself. This is more or less the same as your Inner Child. That’s the vulnerable, young part of you, a delicate, tender part which still lives inside of you – as do all your Archetypes. See more about the Lover here.
Lover archetype explained on video
This is the archetypal part of you which is responsible for your ability to enjoy childlike fun, sensuality, play, connection with, and love for, other human beings. It’s at the root of your connection with Nature and your spiritual sense of being at one with the universe. A wounded Lover leads to difficulty in connecting with and trusting other people.
Your Warrior Archetype is the part of you which takes action in the world. It’s all about doing rather than being. It’s about going out and getting things done, about carrying out the instructions, wishes and orders of your Sovereign, your Queen or King. It’s the part of you which is responsible for setting boundaries, making sure that you assert yourself in the world, and clearly defining your presence both to yourself and others. See Rod Boothroyd talking about the Warrior here.
Your Warrior – ideally, anyway – is clear what you want, and knows how to get it. And he or she will defend what’s yours, and what you see as just and right, with passion, even with ferocity.
The energy here is one of assertiveness, presence, action in the world – even anger when your boundaries are crossed. When a child isn’t allowed to express those qualities, her or his Warrior will be weak. As an adult this woman or man won’t have much power, presence or potency in the world. Marianne Hill has a series of articles on her blog about the archetypes.
Your Magician Archetype is the part of you responsible for thinking. That includes your creativity, your logical thinking, your rational thinking, and your intuition. See Rod Boothroyd talking about the Magician archetype here.
This is the part of you which works things out and presents options to your Sovereign. Your Sovereign will then make a decision between the different possibilities, and command your inner Warrior to take the action needed to bring this choice into reality.
The energy of the Magician is often linked to the need to make some change in life. That’s when the thinking part of you can work out what needs to happen to bring everything back into balance, to restore order to your Queendom or Kingdom. A weak Magician can lead, among other things, to indecisiveness and poor decision making.
To remind you, these Archetypes are simply representations of the various parts of your personality. With an ideal upbringing, they would all grow and mature and develop into fully rounded, truly functional mature parts of your personality.
But life isn’t like that. Many things get in the way of the healthy development of each of these Archetypes.
For example, the Lover Archetype, which you can think of as your Inner Child, faces a challenge immediately she or he is born, This is the simple existential question: “Am I wanted and loved, or not?”
When a child is born into a lack of love, is not welcomed into the world, perhaps because he or she wasn’t planned or wanted, the emotional wound that develops can be profound. The child’s Lover Archetype does not develop a healthy ability to connect with others, trust others, or open up fully to others.
Basically, children in this situation very quickly come to believe they are not lovable – even though this is simply not true. No child was ever born unlovable. But almost every young baby and child which experiences negative influences will come to believe that whatever is happening to them is entirely their fault.
They cannot understand that the way they’re being treated is simply about being born to parents who can’t cope with their needs. They don’t understand that their parents are inadequate, unable to meet their needs, or absent, physically or emotionally. Children simply blame themselves for their misfortune and assume “It’s all my fault – I must be bad in some way or this wouldn’t be happening to me.”
So in each Archetype there are specific emotional wounds which can be profound and long-lasting. And these emotional wounds are the main source of the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves as adults. These limiting beliefs stop us being successful. They prevent us being prosperous. They stop us believing in ourselves.
I’ve already described the emotional wound in the Lover Archetype. As an adult, someone wounded in this area may – consciously or unconsciously – believe they are unlovable, or that there is something wrong with the way they love, or that they can’t establish true connection with other human beings.
And in adult life these beliefs can manifest as a sense of not being liked or wanted, not trusting themselves to love fully, or being unable to open themselves to another human being in a relationship of love. This emotional wounding can also cause someone to believe they will be betrayed in love, that no loving relationship will last, or that it’s not safe to be vulnerable. In extreme cases, a man or woman may not even know what love is. So, you may ask, how can this be corrected? How can we recover our essential essence? The answer is perhaps with the only form of counselling or coaching which actually works directly on the archetypal energies you hold in shadow. This approach is known as shadow work. You can read more about shadow healing here, and find out how this approach works by watching these videos: videos introducing shadow work.
Also, you can find a list of workshops and discover what to expect in a shadow work session here. Good luck!