Meet the Enneagram One “The Perfectionist”

Hi! This is a guest post from a friend who identifies as an Enneagram 1 or “Perfectionist.” This is her story to help others to identify their own kind. If you’d like to guest post on your experience with understanding your Enneagram, please let me know in the comments, below. Even if your “number” has already been shared, I feel that the more, the merrier! Namaste. Here are other posts on the Enneagram series. 

 

Over the last couple of years, I have learned to accept and appreciate the fact that I am a one. At first sight, the thought of being a perfectionist is cringe-worthy even for a one. But in true one fashion, I had to first pick apart all of the unhealthy aspects of being a one and judge myself to see where I stack up to those characteristics. “I’m not so bad anymore”, I thought as I was reminded of several phases of life where I used to be more critical, more harsh to myself, and less emotionally connected to life and others. When I look back at all the lessons I’ve learned as a one, I am now able to see how my times of stress have guided me to be a much stronger, healthier, and happier person. It is through recognition of this growth that I am able to reflect with a forgiving and accepting heart.

Ones, like other types, often have body image issues. It’s important to find out where this stems from in order to reduce triggers and promote healthy behaviors. I can’t remember the last time I took a week off from working out since I started working out as a teen. I have always been very cautious of what I eat and prefer to have control, routine and predictability when eating. Healthy ones stay loyal to their work-out routines, work out for health rather than aesthetics, and have a thoughtful yet forgiving diet. Stressed ones can get stuck in over-exercising, ridden with anxiety when they are unable to work out due to injury or illness. Over the years, being more grateful of what my body does for me and not what it doesn’t do has helped me to be less stringent and negative.

Over time, I have learned to channel my one tendencies into my strengths. I remember one of the first staff meetings held at my current job. I had only been there a matter of weeks and our bosses were going over ways to reduce the busyness of the clinic. They mentioned expanding clinic hours, staggering clinician’s shifts, etc. As bold as it was being the new person on the job, I volunteered to rearrange the clinic’s equipment. I knew the day I interviewed that the space was not used wisely. As a one, we instantly know how to make a situation better as soon as we walk into a room. Over the next few days, I designed a poster board made “to scale” of the clinic. I designed cut outs of all of our equipment, that I arranged and re-arranged until I got it just right. Although the change at first was stressful to ones and non-ones alike, after everyone adjusted, I have to admit the layout works very smoothly now. In fact, it hasn’t been changed 2 years later.

As a one, I feel that I have a tendency to “zone-in”, especially at work. While I am attentively catching up on paperwork, I often find that I do not physically see anything else going on around me. I have had coworkers go so far as to dance in front of me to prove to other that it will take me a while before I notice (they were so right). As ones, we feel this “zone-in” ability at work allows us to be more efficient, more productive and therefore, better. Luckily, I started to realize how damaging this can be with my work relationships, and often must disconnect from what I am doing in order to be present in my communication with them. Tuning into three senses can help reduce this extreme focus and welcome present-mindedness (what do you see around you, what do you hear, feel your toes, etc). It’s also comforting as a one to know that yes, the work will still be more than satisfactory, even with a few happy distractions. We do have the efficiency of ones, afterall!

Overall the best strategy I have found for happiness in my life is to disconnect and become more fully present in daily life, leaving room for whims and desires. Yes, this means prioritizing people and things that bring me joy and not strictly abiding by my do-list.  A healthy one resembles a more “go with the flow” attitude, relishes in spontaneity, and is more enthusiastic about everything life has to offer, like a seven. I find that when I slow down, I am able to relax the rules I have set for myself and feel so much lighter in life. Yes, this includes feeling and appreciating any emotions that may arise- the good, bad, pretty and ugly. I am at my best when I am hosting spontaneous or themed get-togethers, trying a new activity for the fun of it (and not to perfect it), and getting a little messy- whether it’s mud on my boots or dirt on my hands. Finally, being grateful for what I do have and not what I lack has helped me in all aspects of life including my relationship with myself, my family, my friends and my coworkers.

The Enthusiast! Enneagram 7 Guest Post

This is a guest post from G of bone&silver, who shares her experiences of discovering her Enneagram as a 7, which is described as the Enthusiast by the Enneagram Institute. If you would like to share your experiences with self-discovery through the Enneagram, please message me through gmail at “Tiffanybeingfree.”

Thank you, G, for sharing with us your journey as a 7!!!

Namaste 

~~

‘Do you know what Enneagram number you are?,’ I was asked. ‘Because I’m an Eight, and if you’re going to date me, you need to know what you’re dealing with, so take this book home today.’

Thus began my in-depth exploration of the Enneagram, which firstly saw me read the chapter about Eights and think ‘Phew, they’re a bit intense, I’m glad I’m not one of those.’

I skimmed through a few other numbers, got a bit bored, then asked a smart friend who used to teach Enneagram classes what he thought I was?

‘I can’t work out your number clearly G; you could be a Four, or perhaps a Two…’

I rolled my eyes, got super busy in my social life for a couple of weeks, then returned one quiet afternoon to that thick book.

Nope, not a Four (although perhaps my Mum is?). A Two? I don’t think I’m that “needy”- I’m a bit too selfish really. An Eight?? Surely not. But yes, I’m definitely self-driven and assertive/bossy.

I diligently decided to read each number, seeing facets of myself in each one, but nothing completely resonating… until I finally read about Sevens.

And then I almost heard a bell ring! There I was: easily distracted, a bit lazy, a happy social butterfly, superficial sometimes but bringing joy with me as my gift to others- it was oh so clear.

I was so impressed with the revelation that I attended a 3-day course with the Sydney Enneagram Institute, and easily recognized my fellow Sevens in the group: the ones who’d moved around a lot/changed careers more than once/not yet been long term happily married/made us all laugh/had interesting or unusual viewpoints/were a little impatient with the slow navel-gazing of some other numbers/were enthusiastic about going out for dinner afterwards/were at their best when grateful or generous.

With horror, I looked back on my 5 decades of living, and could see all the times where I’d run away, as a Seven determinedly fleeing a feeling of being ‘trapped’, including parenting, leaving deeply wounded hearts behind me.

In sadness, I reflected on my restless search for the next shiny toy, be it a lover, a new home, or even a whole new lifestyle. Variety please!

In humility, I learnt that I’m at my best when I practice gratitude for what I actually have, where I actually am, and with who I’m actually with, rather than always projecting forward into the fabulous future I am about to create, thereby missing the Now I’m truly in. That was a big revelation.

I also learnt that the bossy assertive side of my somewhat lazy nature comes from my Eight wing, which brought me back to thanking the original Eight who got me into this fascinating world in the first place.

I’ve since ‘tested’ most of my friends, using an online quiz if interstate, or my course notes if they live nearby, and am now pretty good at working out what someone’s number may be, based on how they tell some of their life story; or attitudes to events.

Knowing I’m a Seven, and that my teenage son is a Three, has smoothed many domestic clashes at home, while also providing an understanding of romantic challenges I will face if dating a Nine for example, or another Seven.

The Enneagram is fascinating; without doubt, it’s made me a better person, and given me greater compassion for the struggles and idiosyncrasies of my fellow travelers through this Life. It gave me the tools to catch myself in my patterns of reaction, whether positive or negative, and gain a little insight to allow a different choice; for this, I am profoundly thankful.

Guest Post: “The Defender” Enneagram 6 Wing 5

This is a guest post from a good friend of mine, Loreto, who showed me the power of understanding both the overall Enneagram System and my own number. He also showed me many of the tools included in the post “Understanding Personalities with The Enneagram“.

After reading the written description of my own number, I initially struggled with identifying with my Enneagram and doubted it. Needless to say, Loreto was confident and “called me out” on my Type 4, Wing 3. It was not until hearing a panel of other “fours” speak that I finally felt the connection. After this experience, I felt it best to have guest posts for each Enneagram type. Fortunately for me, Loreto was more than happy to oblige.

If you would like to share your own Enneagram experience through a guest post or a repost, please write me in the comment section!

I was introduced to the Enneagram at the start of a new relationship with a brilliant, poised woman whose self-awareness piqued my interest. While I’m typically untrusting of all things numerological, astrological, and anything that isn’t clearly backed by modern-day science, this new system was different. Personalities tests such as Myers-Briggs identify personalities as unchangeable while serving as a means to better understand oneself “as is” without change. As much as the Enneagram labels different personalities, the Enneagram also provides an outlook of what the best version of your personality can become. As a growth-oriented person, I was excited to see what my best self looked like. Enthusiastically, I took the 120 question online test and was labeled as a Type 6 wing 5, “The Defender.”

I immediately began pouring over podcasts and books trying to learn as much as possible about my newly labeled personality. A type 6 is described as a security-oriented, hardworking, skeptical yet loyal individual who is motivated by an irrational fear that their environment is inconsistent and unsafe. Sixes typically seek approval from different authorities, and struggle with trusting their own inner-guidance system. Sixes can embody the extremes of different characteristics. Sixes can easily go from courageous to fearful, from angry and sad to happy.

I could easily identify with these descriptions, and was immediately overwhelmed. I could clearly recall countless situations where I was too afraid to take action, where I was indecisive, and did everything I could to please those from whom I desperately wanted approval. If a 20-minute test was able to describe my characteristics with such clarity, what did my friends and family think of me? Did people actually respect me and enjoy my company, or was it all out of pity? Was every compliment, affirmation, or expression of love that I had received genuine, or was I too naive and needy to see that I was just being taken advantage of?

I felt a crushing pressure in my chest, and a cold-sweat dripped down my wrists. I had originally taken this test in an attempt to find a path towards enlightenment. Instead, I was left with more anxiety than I had ever experienced. After several weeks of this anxiety, I woke up one Sunday morning laughing at how ridiculous these insecurities were.

Then I sat down and folded a piece of paper into three columns. In the first column I wrote down my past successes, in the second I wrote down my decisions which were not influenced by others, and in the third I wrote down times where doubt and fear prevented me from taking action. For each item, I also noted my successes, failures, or whether I was too afraid to take any action at all.

The inaction category was the largest, followed by successes and then failures. As I went through my successes, I began discrediting my past wins by finding ways to improve.This skeptical mindset was exhausting, and I hadn’t gained much from it. Room for improvement doesn’t signify failure, and certainly doesn’t take away from success. By persistently picking things apart, I was wasting time by not taking action to see what would or would not serve me.

I finally ended this exercise and enjoyed the rest of my day. I felt care-free, laughed more than I had in months, and had fun. I went to sleep that night feeling confident, knowing everything I did that day was of my own accord. I had no doubt everyone with whom I spent time enjoyed my company, too.

As quickly as I fell into my downward spiral, I was also able to pull myself out of it by focusing on my values, and spending time in a community full of nonjudgmental, well-intentioned people.

Unfortunately, the plight of the Six is the ineffective habit of questioning the world around them. While it exposes different viewpoints, and allows for empathy in excess, it also creates an unproductive spiral of anxiety. Sixes have the potential to change the world, as long as they can drown out all of the fears and uncertainties around them.

Today, I have ended the relationship which taught me about my Enneagram number as it quickly became unhealthy and toxic. However, instead of feeling sad, I am grateful for gaining a new awareness that my skeptical, analytical, and fearful nature is also my greatest strength. With courage, I am able to create an environment which I desire; one of calmness, laughter, support and loyalty. I empathize with those who think differently from me, and care enough to find the goodness within them. For those I trust and care about, there is no doubt I am supportive, and have the potential to become their greatest champion.

Learning about my Enneagram number has also given me a sense of peace knowing my default anxiety is more of a quirk than a defect. So, while I may always wonder if the chandelier will fall in the middle of dinner, or if the careless alter server will light the entire church on fire, I can also learn to laugh at its absurdity. As for when tragedy does occur, I’ll be able to relax knowing exactly what to do, because I’ve already planned for it at least half-a-dozen times. While I may have more fear than others, it’s nothing new to me. It’s just another every day thing to adjust to.

Coming So

Milady (in Gratitude)~ Guest Post

“Milady” (In Gratitude)

Thank you Milady,
For helping me unlock my heart.
I had locked it up in fear and fright
afraid to feel, to even move,
afraid to lose what I didn’t have
But mostly afraid I didn’t have what it took to fight
To win back the love I had lost, my wife.
You have inspired me to take on the fight of my life
To win her heart again
When the darkness had come again
And despair was overwhelming
You were placed in my path,
to shine a light behind the façade
I presented to the world
You shone your light high,
Revealing the rocky path you are traveling,
Baring your soul, your heartache, unimaginable despair
Pain and suffering
Most importantly
Your fierce will, your courage
and your desire to live
I thank God for you!
We are all but single candles
Burning in the night
Together we burn braver, brighter, stronger
So I say simply,
Thank you, Thank you Milady,
I pray your light always burns bright!
❤ Ken

~~~~~

This is a guest post by my friend, Ken. He has been very supportive of my work here on & off WP. When we met, I hesitantly gave him the address to this blog. I’m grateful that I did, as it has helped him to see his own light and to take up the fight to save his marriage.

Ken, thank you so much for this! This came to me at a time when I needed it the most. You are part of why I didn’t take this site completely down…yes, I almost did! And yes, I do believe you need your own blog! You can do it! 

Namaste

image: Google

 

 

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