In my twenties, I worked full time, went to grad school at night and still managed to maintain a wide circle of friends, participate in the Austin social scene and begin a new relationship. A factor that supports me in this lifestyle is that I tend to be extremely positive. I find negativity limiting and uncomfortable; I’m the master at reframing something to see the lesson learned or the potential for growth.
I have thrived on my enthusiasm, endurance and positivity and these traits have led to many great successes, but my greatest strengths have also contributed to my downfall, resulting in disappointment and burnout. When a friend cancels on our dinner plans last minute the momentum of my frantic life is suddenly slowed.
Without something to fill my time I’m forced to be still, connect with my emotions and realize that I am exhausted. I will positively reframe something, rather than actually processing the pain and hurt. In that moment I’m avoiding dealing with the painful feelings, which means I’m missing out on the full range of emotion.
Luckily, I found a tool that ushered wisdom, awareness and a tremendous amount of personal growth. This tool is the Enneagram of Personality.
The Enneagram is an ancient system describing nine distinct and fundamentally different personality types. A circle with nine numbered points symbolically represents the Enneagram, which is from the Greek ennea, meaning nine, and gram meaning a figure or drawing. Once you discover your type, the Enneagram becomes a roadmap that provides insight into your growth areas and helps you become a more authentic version of yourself. It shows how we are wired, both negatively and positively, and helps you manage yourself and how you interact with the people around you. Master Enneagram teacher Suzanne Stabile says it is “nine ways of seeing, nine ways of being and nine ways of responding to what you see.”
Unlike some personality typologies, knowing your enneagram number doesn’t box you in; rather, it helps you understand the box you are in and insight on how to get out.
The Enneagram is a dynamic personality system where the nine types are all equally valuable and no type is better than another. Some people may find only nine types to be limiting but it is best explained like a color wheel. While there is one color green there are an infinite number of shades of green just as each person in this world is unique.
You will find yourself within one of the types, which are fluid and adaptable focusing on the healthy, average and unhealthy range of personality.
As helpers, the first step to a therapeutic relationship is joining with the client to understand their worldview and the Enneagram is another tool in your toolbox to understand yourself and others in relationship. It helps us connect with our clients and become more loving and compassionate to our differences. The Enneagram is tremendously helpful for self-care and helps you watch for the red flags that you’re slipping into unhealthy behaviors.
Can’t wait to learn more about your Enneagram type?
Join me on Friday, June, 16 12 pm-1:30 pm to start your journey with Exploring the Enneagram: The personality tool that will take your practice to the next level. Reserve your seat here.