Every one of us has a flaw, or a defect of character. This is known as the CHIEF FEATURE, since it tends to dominate your entire personality. If you can identify your chief feature, and handle it, then you are doing well in your personal growth.
Your chief features are blind spots. This simply means that many people cannot see their own flaws.
A chief feature is a dominant negative attitude — a defensive and potentially destructive pattern of thinking, feeling and acting.
We all have at least one. We create it during adolescence, and thereafter it manifests as a lifelong character flaw or personality defect.
We forge this bit of our personality initially as a weapon, or at least a shield, to “protect” us as we emerge into the adult world.
Throughout adulthood it just interferes with our lives by blocking aspects of our true nature and stifling our true character, usually without us even knowing.
Your chief feature is your primary ego defence and your main stumbling block in life.
The seven chief features
In the Michael teachings there are seven types of chief features
Here they are listed from the most introverted to the most extroverted:
- Self-Deprecation (belittling/diminishing/undervaluing oneself)
- Self-Destruction (sabotaging/punishing/harming oneself)
- Martyrdom (reacting as if persecuted/victimised/oppressed)
- Stubbornness (resisting change in one’s life)
- Greed (selfish overindulgence, over-consumption)
- Arrogance (inflating/exalting/overvaluing oneself)
- Impatience (reacting as though being sabotaged/obstructed)
Impatience and martyrdom are both about our actions. It is as if there is a battle of wills going on between ourselves and others, or life, or even ourselves.
- In the case of impatience, we feel a need to act quickly — and hate it whenever anything interferes with our will or slows us down. “Why do people always stop me from doing what I need to do? Everybody should just get out of my way.”
- In the case of martyrdom, we feel a constant need to blame others for our own misfortune, as though we never had a will of our own. “Don’t blame me. Everybody else is imposing their will upon me.”
Greed and self-destruction are both about our personal relationship to life. In both cases, there is an underlying feeling about ourselves that prevents us from ever feeling OK in life.
- In the case of greed, there is an underlying feeling of lack, a hole inside oneself that needs to be filled, though it is actually a bottomless pit: “Life will never be OK until I have it all.”
- In the case of self-destruction, our very presence is already more than enough. There is a constant inner turmoil that makes us want to get away from ourselves: “Life will never be OK until I end it all.”
Arrogance and self-deprecation are both about personal esteem and self-esteem. The thought behind them is something like, “Who I really am will never be satisfactory in the eyes of others. So no-one must ever see the real me.”
- In the case of arrogance, we feel a need to be seen as flawless because exposing our flaws makes us feel unbearably vulnerable.
- In the case of self-deprecation, we just want to be seen as little as possible because we already feel hopelessly inadequate.
Stubbornness is simply about change in any form. We feel a need to keep things just as they are and resist any outside influence, even positive ones: “No, no, no! You can’t make me. I won’t have it.”
We all have, within us, elements of all seven of these negative attitudes. And we can be influenced by any of them from time to time. But whichever one of these patterns is always subconsciously pulling your strings, that is your chief feature, your primary obstacle, your Achille’s heel.
In terms of our psychological well-being, personal growth and spiritual development in later life, there is nothing good about any chief feature. In the extreme, they can develop into personality disorders and even mental illness.
What Are Your Chief Features?
I must admit to two chief features, which is arrogance and greed. I always feel like I have to be this perfect person to everyone, especially when it comes to my family. I am the leader of my family, so If I feel less than perfect at any given time, then I consider myself weak.
As far as greed, I’m into material things. I feel like I have to have certain things to feel comfortable and secure. Let’s be honest! Most people like things! But I don’t let material things define my happiness, or me as a person. It does boost my confidence. You can have all the material things in the world and still be unhappy. I believe other aspects of life are more important.
I think we all can be a little stubborn at times. A few years ago, I completely refused to work a 9 to 5 under any circumstances. I didn’t care if I had to depend on people or do unethical things, just to get by. I don’t regret this at all because I ALWAYS showed my gratitude towards the people that supported me over the years. Somebody had to depend on somebody to achieve their dreams.
Steps to Action
1. Define your chief feature
2. Why do you believe you have this chief feature?
3. What steps can you take to manage this chief feature and grow as an individual?
Since we are not perfect, we will always have chief features. I believe that we can manage our chief features if we acknowledge them, decide we want to change, and take action.