3. Your Persistent Part and the Three Ways to Persist

Your Persistent Part is the piece of you that is always pushing.

  • Pushing to achieve your goals in career or relationship
  • Pushing to raise your children right
  • Pushing against others who oppose you
  • Pushing to prove yourself as a real, capable person
  • Pushing against anything that seems to threaten you, your friends or your family

As a species, we have a very long history of needing to push for our survival against whatever threats confronted us in the moment. So we have evolved parts of ourselves that can snap our attention onto anything we may have ignored that could challenge our safety. And when we are frustrated by some threatening reality, we get angry. And then that anger calls up our Persistence Part to address the threat.

So your Persistent Part is programmed to press against the difficult stuff. That used to be things like animal predators, warfare, famine, or disease. These days it might be social predators, the political climate, the job market or the healthcare system.

Your Persistent Part is the part of you most focused on REALITY. It prefers to focus only on what’s right in front of you. It wants to know the truth about any situation, so it can’t be fooled. It wants you to be a strong winner, no matter what. It focuses on immediate solutions in extreme circumstances. It wants to prove that it can earn enough money and enough power to be safe from any serious threats forever.

We’re going to put this Persistence energy on the bottom of our picture frame, because it likes to ground things down into reality. This is sort of like the way gravity likes to ground things down to the earth so they don’t float off into space.

Here’s a quick summary of how all four energies show up in kids:


This kid questions almost everything, being wary of the world and warning others of potential dangers. This kid likes to study and learn everything, and can often see the big picture at an early age. This kid can be self reliant and independent, but can sometimes feel detached or separate from others. Some of these kids are easily scared by almost anything.


Intensely optimistic, this kid sees the world as full of opportunities. This kid is adventurous and free, letting the imagination take control and leading others in imaginative play. This kid is often supportive and caring for others but can also be naive and easily manipulated.
This kid might be too generous or too hopeful and then get betrayed.


This kid prefers a deep sense of belonging and connection. This kid often has an uncanny sense of how people are feeling. Often with a goal of just being together, this kid loves company and free flowing fun, but can have difficulty staying focused. In wanting to stay connected, this kid can get lost and become dependent on others to make decisions.


This kid cares deeply about what is right, preferring to meet reality head on. This kid is often courageous and grounded in challenging situations. This kid tends to love action. With a strong sense of self, this kid is sometimes self-centered, and can be overly forceful and unsafe for others.

Our goal here is to expand your understanding about how you might be using your Persistence energy. We invite you to think about how you might expand and improve this tool. We’d like you to feel more comfortable with your position in reality and more confident that you can show up and count in the world.

So we are going to focus on what we call the Three Ways to Persist. These are Establishing, Contesting and Upholding. You have probably tried all these ways of being Persistent. But you have probably found that some ways feel great while others carry some kind of baggage. We know from science that people inherit different Persistence styles from their parents. We also know that life can sweeten or sour any experience for us. So you may have lost some of your appetite for some kinds of Persistence.

As you read through these, think about which of them feels the most comfortable for you, and which feel uncomfortable.

Establishing: This type of energy is about you establishing a strong identity. It prefers that you distinguish yourself as unique. Many times, this will be something external that others will notice. You might hear yourself saying, “I only shop at…” or “I don’t watch TV.” Your Establishing energy is willing for you to undergo deep, intense experiences in order to achieve its goal. It supports you to show up as original and energetic but can also cause you to be self-centered and overly dramatic.

Contesting: This type of energy naturally pushes you forward in service to a mission. You might hear yourself saying, “Just try harder! Push through! Finish it!” or “Fight for the win!” It prefers you to meet challenges head on and relishes competition and control, although it may cause you to lose perspective in the heat of battle. It ignites your courage, keeps you grounded, and protective of others, but can also push you to sacrifice safety in pursuit of the mission.

Upholding: This type of energy causes you to care deeply about what is right. It will help you stand up for what is just and fair, even if that makes connections more difficult. You might hear yourself saying, “Stand firm! Hold to what you believe.” “Work even harder!” This energy helps you believe in your duty to be of service and will have you work tirelessly. You will be motivated to do the tasks you need to do. It can make you become so devoted that you end up becoming dogmatic and judgmental.

Where do you see yourself in these descriptions? Does one describe you best? Do
others make you feel uncomfortable or bring up judgment in you?

The truth is, all three of these ways to interact in the real world can be helpful in your life, depending on the situation or person in front of you.

We believe that the more you understand these patterns, the more power you have to
create your reality with intention. You can get better at using any of the three to impact your own reality in more complete ways. We have found some great tools for
working with these patterns.

Right now, Connection Gateways is working to connect with people who want to
understand more completely the ways that we interact with the world and with each other. If that is you, please contact us to learn more about what we have to offer, and the community we are forming.

Certain Elements in this document are © Shadow Work Licensing, LLC 2023. Used by Connection Gateways under a license from Shadow Work Licensing, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Please contact Connection Gateways or Shadow Work Licensing for a list of the copyrighted Elements in this document.