Growth, Relationships, Self-Improvement

We Are Who We Are

Today, I want to take a few minutes to share something with you all … I won’t give you everything, because there’s too much to give … but I hope that I give you enough to get you curious … to get you interested … to get you inspired to learn a little more … 

Today, I want to talk about the Enneagram … 

*Please don’t stop reading … please give this “hokey idea” a chance.*

What is the Enneagram?

In a nutshell, the Enneagram describes nine basic personality types … nine ways of seeing the world, nine ways of explaining WHY we do what we do … 

Here’s a few basics …

Each number has distinct characteristics or qualities … these range from good … to not-so-good … to downright ugly (unfortunately). A study of the Enneagram DOES require us to see and recognize ALL the things that make us who we are (even the parts we may not WANT to see) … 

Each number has a CORE FEAR and a CORE DESIRE, and, of course, these direct our behaviours, essentially “making” us do what we do … 

Each number is described in its healthiest state, its average state, and its unhealthiest state … 

Each number has “lines” … essentially when stressed, they exhibit the less-desirable qualities of other numbers …. or, when thriving, they demonstrate the more-desirable qualities of other numbers … 

Each number also has “wings” … everyone tends to “lean” one way or another from their number, essentially “borrowing” qualities and characteristics from the numbers on either side of their number.

If you’re concerned about being “put in a box” with the enneagram, don’t worry! There’s infinite variety within each type (even though there are some strong and common tendencies). One source compares the enneagram to picking paint in your local hardware store … when selecting red, for example, there are infinite shades and tones … this is the same for each enneagram type as well.

Why (I think) the Enneagram matters … 

Honestly, being able to offer grace, acceptance, mercy, and compassion to MYSELF and to the people around me is the BIGGEST gift the enneagram has to offer … 

Knowing and recognizing my “hangups” … my tendencies … my strengths … my weaknesses … my flaws … helps me re-center … re-focus … 

Knowing when I am expressing an unhealthy or merely average version of myself focuses my attention towards being a healthier version of myself … 

Knowing and recognizing the people around me’s tendencies helps me to just name them and “see” them … but not own them or get emotionally involved with them … 

Let me give you an example … I’m a Type One … Ones struggle with resentment … I don’t have to dig too deep in the Leanne archives to see COUNTLESS examples of this … over and over and over again … I would be angry at my husband for not pitching in enough … for not being home to help … at times, I would even feel resentful towards my children … envious of their free time while I was slaving away on some household chore … it’s ugly … but it’s part of how I’m wired … it’s my “deadly sin” … and it still creeps up (though far less often) … when it DOES creep up now, I see it … and when I see it, I can simply greet it with a friendly “hello” and tell it, “you’re not welcome here today, Resentment” … and I send it on it’s merry little way … 

Ones also have a very active inner critic … knowing this, helps me recognize when my inner critic creeps in, attempting to bring me down into a pit of self-pity and despair … instead of “going there” and completely beating myself up for missing a hockey meeting or being a minute late for something, I can offer myself a little grace and carry on with my day …  

Besides extending a bit of grace and understanding to OURSELVES, the Enneagram has the potential to really alter the way we interact with those around us … anything that can deepen our understanding of ourselves and of others is going to be beneficial for our relationships … and aren’t those relationships what life is really all about? 

Instead of trying to change the people around us (or being CONSTANTLY frustrated or irritated by their antics), we can accept who they are fundamentally … of course, as a parent, we can still try to teach, to encourage … to guide and to influence, but fully knowing and understanding who your child is at THEIR core is a gift … for them and for you …. when they feel accepted and loved and understood by those around them, they have the potential to soar … to thrive … to be the best versions of themselves … 

Though profiling kids can be a bit challenging, there are things that I see in my oldest daughter that make me believe she is a Type 4 … as I attempt to learn more and understand more about Type 4s, I can try to direct her towards being the healthiest version of herself (through opportunities and experiences I provide, for example). I can also recognize that Type 4s ALWAYS see what’s MISSING, not what IS there. Knowing this and accepting this means that I can (try to) avoid getting upset when it seems that my child is acting ungrateful for what she DOES have. Instead of feeling angry that she only thinks of herself, I can recognize (and try to accept) that Type 4s CAN be selfish at times.   

How liberating for parents (for families) as we learn to accept and celebrate the people around us … to celebrate our similarities AND our differences … to truly know one another … to work WITH who people are fundamentally instead of trying to force OUR view of the world upon them … imagine how many painful arguments could be avoided! 

It seems there’s opportunity for an “agree to disagree” stance as we learn about the different types on the Enneagram, but from a place of acceptance and mercy and compassion … a place where we can leave the major emotions out of the equation … 

Finally, knowing who we are … how we’re wired … both the good and the bad … means we can focus our energies accordingly … trying to be / do something that we’re just NOT (or trying to change the people around us), is exhausting … and a waste of time and our precious resources … 

With the Enneagram, instead of trying to get others to see the world the way WE see the world, we try to see the world the way THEY see the world … 

We can work towards ACCEPTANCE … 

Towards “I am who I am.” 

Towards “she is who she is.” 

Or “he is who he is.”

Because it’s true … we are who we are … 

Sure, we can continue to learn and grow and evolve, but at our core, we are who we are … 

This is true for us … for our children … for our spouses … for everyone … 

I truly hope you take the time to learn a little more … just start googling this topic … take a quiz if you feel the urge … get to know WHO you are first … and if you do, I’d love for you to share that with me … as you learn and grow, I do too …

2 thoughts on “We Are Who We Are”

  1. I have always thought it would be an interesting thing to be involved in a setting where the enneagram was explained and I could “find” myself in the pattern. I know others who have done this and found it interesting and enlightening. Rosalie

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  2. I am excited to dig more! I am always interested in personality tests (and rarely have heard them described as hokey…), but back when I did this one , I don’t know that I dug as deep into each of the types, being exhausted with doing so for several other tests. It’s also interesting to see if the results are similar to the past; I actually don’t remember off-hand about this one. Thanks!

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