Today I discuss the concepts of blueprint versus imprint as they relate to dating and healthy love. Many of us start out approaching our dating life from a place of “imprint,” so in this episode, I explain how to distinguish your “imprint” state from your “blueprint” state. I also explain how you can use the power of your “blueprint” state to find and nourish healthy love.

Listen to this episode to learn the concept of imprint versus blueprint, how to move from imprint to blueprint, and ways to know if something is a false blueprint.

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Show Notes:

 

  • How to move from imprint to blueprint
  • What is the concept of imprint versus blueprint
  • How to define the concept of blueprint
  • What happens when you live from your imprint self
  • What is the difference between blueprint and imprint
  • Ways to tell if something is a false blueprint

 

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Blueprint vs. Imprint: The Key to Great Love

 

One of the greatest shifts we can make in our entire intimacy journey is moving from the place of imprint, all the shoulds that tell us who we’re supposed to be, to a place of blueprint, where we are our essential self. And that changes our search for love and our entire relationship life in the most profound ways. Stay tuned to this episode to find out how you can learn to differentiate between your imprint state and your blueprint state.

Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating® Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, I’m the author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating, the creator of the Deeper Dating® Intensive and your host on this podcast. And today I’m going to talking about this profound concept of imprint versus blueprint and how that affects our entire intimacy lives.

But first, I want to say that in this and every episode, my commitment is to share with you the greatest tools and insights that I know to help you find healthy love and keep it flourishing in your life and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy, which are the greatest skills of all for a rich and meaningful life.

And if you want to know more about this work, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list and get some really wonderful free resources there, as well as get to hear transcripts of this and every other episode. Thank you for that. So now I’m going to jump in.

 

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When I first heard this concept of imprint versus blueprint, it blew my mind and I found it so exciting and still do and speak about it all the time. I want to say that this construct was originally created by Ray Castellino, who is one of the great thought leaders and founders of peri and prenatal somatic psychology.

And the concept is that our imprint is the way that life experiences imprint themselves upon us. They don’t have to be negative, but they often are. They are imprints upon our being that come from trauma, that come from violence, that come from small T and large T trauma and the wounding of day-to-day life.

And then there’s blueprint, which is our original, authentic operating system. And the goal is to teach ourselves more and more to live from blueprint versus imprint. And I’m going to discuss these ideas as they relate to intimacy and dating and your search for healthy love. So let’s jump in and talk about this.

 

All of us are afraid of the power of our blueprint self. Share on X

 

So I want to talk about this concept of blueprint first. Blueprint is the way you feel when you are connected to your heart, to your being, to your body. There’s a feeling of truth. It may be scary, it may not be easy, but there is a sense of an expression of your authentic self.

And in more integrated states of being in our blueprint, we feel like we’re in flow, we feel connected to our heart. There may be a sense of peace, a sense of richness. There’s a sense that we deserve to be here, that we have something to contribute, and there’s a vibrancy and aliveness to that space.

That’s the space when we are being who we are. We are radiating that, we are living it, we are expressing through there. And it’s a rich and wonderful space. And it’s, God knows, not always easy. But we know it, we feel it because there’s this richness in it. It is not flat and one-dimensional.

The imprint state, as powerful as it can be, has a flatness to it, a one-dimensionality, a sense of the world pressuring us into being that we don’t feel as rich and three-dimensional. But when we’re in our blueprint, there is this wonderful sense of richness and connectedness. We’re in our power, we’re in our hearts, we’re in our authenticity, we’re in our vulnerability. It is where we want to be.

The imprint space is the space, kind of what the world tells us we should be. The imprint space is when we’re afraid to be us, so we become some kind of airbrushed version of who we really are.

 

Blueprint vs. Imprint: The Key to Great Love

 

Dating from your imprint self

 

And you could think about this and how it applies in your dating life. We are taught to date from a place of imprint. We get this mixed message, “Be authentic, but be feminine. Be masculine, be confident.” Whatever the things are that we’re supposed to be. And you can feel it. I think all of us can feel those imprints on ourselves, those voices that cripple us or stop us or mute us or make us timid, make us frightened, make us angry, make us hide, make us go into hiding.

Those imprint voices or they’re really seductive and they pull at us like, “I’m supposed to be this. I’ve got to lose this weight. I’ve got to act more confident. I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that if I’m ever going to find love.” All of us know those voices.

And it’s a powerful, powerful thing that we can do, that I’m going to ask you to do right now as I speak is think, what are some of the imprint voices in you? Messages about who you’re supposed to be that you know and you can feel don’t really feel like the authentic, rich expression of self, but feel more like shoulds.

 

Sometimes what feels like blueprint is actually addiction. Share on X

 

Dating advice is inundated with these imprint messages of how we’re supposed to look, how we’re supposed to act, how we’re supposed to express our gender identity, how we’re supposed to handle conflict, how we’re supposed to have sex. All of these things, imprint, imprint, imprint.

And I think all of us can stop and just think, okay, what are those imprints on us? I know that some of the imprints on me that I’ve lived with in my life have been imprints of that I have to be more masculine, that I have to be more confident, that I have to be less intense, that I have to lose weight, that I have to be less needy. These are just some of them.

So stop and think about that for a minute. What are the imprints that put pressure on your being and take you away from that rich state of being you? Now, here is something absolutely amazing that I talk about a lot, but it’s so hugely important to the degree that you present from imprint, that you present a self that is colored, hobbled, limited by all these imprint messages.

To that degree, you are more likely to find someone who does not treasure you for who you are. The degree to which you in your search for love and in your love relationships come from that place of blueprint, the more chance you have for finding love and keeping it flourishing.

When you live from your imprint self, you are essentially playing a game with yourself because you’re looking for someone who’s going to be drawn to you by the imprint self-presentation that you’re doing. But ultimately the secret goal is that they will be able to love you for your blueprint self, who you really are.

But it’s not so easy because your blueprint self, our blueprint self is our genius. These are our Core Gifts. They’re the places we feel the most. So they’re the most charged. So they’re the most complex and they can often be really challenging.

 

Blueprint vs. Imprint: The Key to Great Love

When you live from your imprint self, you are essentially playing a game with yourself because you’re looking for someone who’s going to be drawn to you by the imprint self-presentation that you’re doing: ultimately the secret goal is that they will be able to love you for your blueprint self, who you really are.

 

And so much of our journey is to sink into our blueprint place and live from there. And that is scary. That is scary. Think about that for a minute. Think about being in a relationship with someone and thinking, okay, so here I am… Let’s say you’re dating someone. Maybe you’re dating somebody now. You could think about this with them right now. And you could think, what are the imprint messages?

I know for me in my relationship, imprint messages are usually around toning down. I can’t show this love. I can’t show this need in the fullness of the way that I feel it. I can’t do my asks. I can’t really ask for what I want. Now what’s amazing though is that when we suppress our authentic self, we create a pressure inside and there’s a backfiring of our energy that occurs.

So if I’m doing any one of those things and following that, in my relationship with Greg, there’s going to be payback. I’m going to get resentful, I’m going to get irritated or I’ll get suppressed. My emotionality will become limited and muted. My sexuality will become limited and muted.

And I won’t be able to achieve the full beauty of connection that I could have when I live from blueprint. Blueprint is a pulsing space. It pulses with your humanity. So next question for you. What are some of those blueprint places that are scary for you to show in intimate relationships? Just take a minute to think about that.

 

The power of our blueprint self

 

Now, all of us are afraid of the power of our blueprint self. Our blueprint self is challenging. It changes the game all the time. It’s like there is a constant newness and a constant mystery. It’s always leading us somewhere new. There is a flow. There’s some kind of an amazing flow that happens that asks a lot of us.

One of my blueprint selves that I’m really wrestling with now being able to show is a quality of slowness. I feel like if I really connected to the slowness that I experience in my meditation and in my life…

And actually interestingly, when you watch Ray Castellino’s videos, he is in such a deep state of slowness and he talks about how the blueprint state only can happen when we slow down. And there’s an expansion and then a gathering. An expansion and then a contraction. But contraction is a negative word. There’s a flowing in and a flowing out that is part of the blueprint experience.

So the other piece about our blueprint place is because it’s so alive, our core gift place is another thing that we can call this or living in the gift zone, which are words that I use. Because it is so consistently mysterious, moving us to places that we don’t know, asking us to go to the, Allen Ginsberg when he talks about writing poetry, he says, “Go to the shoulder of the road, not just the road.”

Our blueprint self brings us to the shoulder of the road. It makes us admit constantly things that might not be so easy to admit. So when we commit to our blueprint self, there’s a huge unorthodoxy. Our intimacy journey is very much like the creative journey because the stuff you notice and you feel that you think you’re not supposed to say or do, you dive into that and that’s what you express. That’s so much of the artist’s journey and it’s so much of the intimacy journey.

 

The imprint state, as powerful as it can be, has a flatness to it, a one-dimensionality, a sense of the world pressuring us into being that we don't feel as rich and three-dimensional. Share on X

 

All right, so when we do this, we’re going to be asking for things emotionally, sexually, interactively, asking things of ourselves, living in ways that are very scary, they’re more vulnerable than we’re used to. So when we do this, there’s going to be an adolescent awkwardness that is at once, it makes us feel very fragile, maybe dependent, maybe embarrassed.

But it is so tremendously empowering as we become beings who can more comfortably live in those zones. And that is why we need our tribe. We cannot really cultivate blueprint without our tribe, I believe. And your tribe are the people who your blueprint self feels at home with, feels invited with, feels like the other person appreciates and is excited by these qualities.

And this is how we shift our search for love in a powerful way. We just look for those people who welcome and invite our blueprint self, who don’t judge, who don’t criticize. I mean, we’re all imperfect, we all do that to some degree. But essentially your people will beckon you to come out of the shadows and love and express these parts of yourself. That is one of the great definitions of self-love is being able to do that.

And that’s why the true intimacy journey is not about grafting on qualities that we are supposed to have, but an embracing of the qualities that we do have and helping those qualities grow into wholeness and into adulthood. When we are so worried about the imprint messages, and you could take a moment again and think, what are your imprint messages? Because God knows dating advice is filled with them, but our culture is filled with them too.

And how do we know what they are? They’re the things that don’t really feel like the true us, but we think we’re supposed to do them.

The more we live from that imprint persona, the less our nervous system will register abuse, will register red flags. The more our, “Picker,” will feel broken. The more we live in our blueprint, there’s a deep honoring of our nervous system that comes with that.

And the more we do it, the more we can sense what’s off and build the skills to be able to either do repair when there’s that rupture or get the hell away if it feels like it’s not a safe place or it’s a manipulative place.

So I want to ask you again, where have partners in the past, unhealthy relationships in particular, grabbed you in your imprint place, made you feel like I should be more this to make this work, I should be more that, I need to be this, I need to be that, as opposed to letting you be who you are?

 

Blueprint vs. Imprint: The Key to Great Love

The degree to which you in your search for love and in your love relationships come from that place of blueprint, the more chance you have for finding love and keeping it flourishing: when you live from your imprint self, you are essentially playing a game with yourself because you’re looking for someone who’s going to be drawn to you by the imprint self-presentation that you’re doing.

 

Now, I want to talk about something else here because some of you might be thinking, “yeah, but what if I really do have to improve? What if those are real areas that I have to fix and improve?” And of course, as we live in our blueprint self, it’s very humbling because we see all the ways we have clay feet when it comes to love.

We see the ways that we have to be more truthful. We see the ways that we maybe have to be kinder, less judgmental. And so we grow, but it’s an organic growing from our own intuition as opposed to these kind of crippling imprinted shoulds. Sometimes though, what feels like blueprint is actually addiction.

So I remember when I quit smoking cigarettes and I wanted a cigarette, that desire for the cigarette, the experience of what the cigarette would be was like the truth of my being. It wasn’t just something I wanted, it was my truth that I needed that cigarette. That was an imprint, that was an addiction, but it felt like blueprint to me.

So how do we know what’s imprint and what’s blueprint? Well, Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this so beautifully. Thich Nhat Hanh was a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King. One of my great heroes, an embracer of the queer community in the Buddhist community way before other people were. He was glorious. He was just glorious.

Anyway, he talked about this concept of seeds of suffering and seeds of joy. And he said, “We could look at the people we love and we could see when they’re behaving in a certain way that they’re sowing the seeds of suffering.” We know that they’re going to pay for that choice they’re making dating this person who is an asshole or a jerk or abusive to them. Or we know they’re hurting themselves by doing whatever the behavior is, drinking too much.

And there’s seeds of joy. Which are the things that we can do and we see them do that we know even if these things are hard, this is going to bring them joy, this is going to bring them meaning. This is a good thing. So a way to tell if something is false blueprint is in the long run, is it seeds of joy or is it seeds of suffering?

Does it lead to more grabbing, to more addiction, to more uncertainty, to more disconnection of self? Or does it lead toward healing and empowering and strength and integration? Does it endlessly feel like a carrot on a stick or does it feel like our heart and soul are being nurtured by continuing with this?

And it’s not an easy question and we need help to think about that. But this is such a rich thing to think about. And the more we live from… I mean, that’s happiness in intimacy, is to be with someone where the two of you are living from imprint and cherishing each other.

 

Moving from imprint to blueprint

 

So final thought. In your dating life, in your intimacy life, keep asking yourself, how can I refine my being and my expression so that I’m living more and more out of my blueprint operating system? Where am I stuck in imprint? What would it be like to live in blueprint?

And of course, you need to be with people that are going to embrace that blueprint self and you need to embrace it first yourself. These are the places that I call our Core Gifts. So live with this question. What’s imprint? What’s blueprint? What does imprint feel like in my nervous system? What does blueprint feel like in my nervous system? And play with this in your relationships. And this is how we turn our intimacy journey into the richest possible wisdom journey.

Thank you so much for listening, and I look forward to connecting on the next episode of the Deeper Dating® Podcast. And if you like what you’re hearing here, I’d love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thanks so much.

 

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