Category Archives: Self

What Do You Like about Being Your Type?

like about yourself

Here’s what the participants from the past three Enneagram panels said they liked about being their type. There are similarities in some of the responses, of course, but also differences in how people experience and appreciate various aspects of their type.

Several acknowledged the positive influence of their wing, which I can relate to. I often acknowledge my 7 wing for lightening up the intensity of the 8.

What do you like about being your type?

Type 1

2015: I like that I’m not a pure 1. I have a 9 wing. That also means that my closet isn’t perfectly organized. Nor is my house perfectly organized.

2016: I don’t risk more than I think I should.

2017: I like that I take time and effort to do a good job.

Type 2

2015: One of the things I like is 2s are often friendly. My husband used to say I could start a conversation with a stone. The grocery store clerk does not need to know your life history. So I go on vacation by myself and have a lovely time and meet lots of people and come home with addresses and phone numbers.

2016: I like that most people find me friendly and approachable. I never feel alone when I’m out and about or travel. I’m always able to find somebody who’s willing to become a new friend and share their life story with me. So I make friends easily. Being social and helping others makes me smile.

2017: I can be very patient. I can be very flexible…loving…forgiving. I don’t get annoyed with changes. If someone says you can’t do this or we changed it at the last minute. Eh, so what? So I rarely get upset with people.

Type 3

2015: I like being competent and getting things done. I thrive on being organized. It’s just what I am and what I do. It comes very naturally.

2016/2017: I get so much stuff done. I have boundless energy. I have been nicknamed the energizer bunny. It absolutely drives my #4 husband insane.

Type 4

2015/2016: I like having a strong 5 wing, and I think that makes a big difference. I’m open to new ideas and different kinds of people.

2017: There are times when being a 4 allows me think outside the box and be a little more creative than others.

Type 5

2015/2016: I love research! I could do it endlessly. I love being curious and exploring and always learning something new.

2017: I’m creative. I like that. (But I’m also disorganized, which can be a pain in the ass.) I can focus really well, (but sometimes I focus on the wrong things).

Type 6

2015: I like that I’m responsible and hardworking.

2016: I like being aware. Public speaking has been a very, very large part of my career and working with people and being able to guess when something isn’t lining up, and being able to ask questions. When I’m in a good space, it leads to asking questions. And that leads to a lot of neat stuff, which is why I do what I do. When I’m not functioning well, it’s me telling people what they’re thinking and feeling because it’s all in my head anyway.

2017: I like that 6s are skeptical, and that is we don’t take things at face value. We question.

Type 7

2015/2016: I like that 7s are fun-loving, controlling—we can be bossy—but we’re very dependable and responsible. We can also be self-deprecating and have a great sense of humor.

2017: I am instinctively creative and open, kind, and have a generous spirit.

Type 8

2015: I like being capable and self-sufficient. I really feel like I can handle anything that comes my way.

2016: The greatest part about being an 8 is we always have options and we know how to find them.

2017: Everything I’ve said [about being an 8]. I happen to have a 7 wing, so 7s are OK. Actually all types are OK, but the Enneagram has really helped me put my impatience with others away. Because I go, yeah, not everybody is a perfect 8.

Type 9

2015: I like the compassion. I like the ability I’ve always had since I was little to be connected with almost anybody in any set of circumstances. I like being able to recognize something in them and feel connected.

2016: I like being able to nurture people, to bring out the best in people, and to bring people together, to work well together, to be a community.

2017: I like that from childhood I could see all the different sides of an argument. It got me in trouble sometimes because I could argue both sides, too, which people found very confusing. But it made it possible for me to get along with people I might not have been able to be friends with if I couldn’t hear the different perspectives. So I really like that about being a 9.

 

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Be Yourself?

Fear of being who you are

Fear of being who you are (Photo credit: Skye Suicide)

What does it mean to “be yourself”? Do you know who that is? When someone goes on a journey to find him or herself, what—or who—do they find? And what are they actually looking for? Does a self even exist?

That last question may seem a little out there, but I think these are all good questions to ask. People end relationships because they weren’t able to be themselves. They like to have friends with whom they can just be themselves. And sometimes, for one reason or another, people are afraid to be themselves.

This train of thought was inspired by the post of another blogger, Donald Fulmer at Museical Garden. It begins:

Be  yourself!

Whoa—not me. I didn’t want the attention, the humiliation, people making fun of me. I wanted people to smile and leave me alone. Which they did.

I couldn’t just be myself. Or wouldn’t, I mean.

Don is a 9, as he makes pretty clear right off the bat (and as he’s told me). He goes on to talk about a tattoo he just got:

A large tattoo—of flowers. Lotuses to be exact. Beautiful, rich red lotuses.

And here it is:

He took a chance on doing something a bit outrageous—and, hey, it turned out OK. To me, Don’s post was like a celebration: a coming out party for a 9. The title, “It Hurts to Be Yourself,” is a double entendre. It hurts to get a tattoo, of course; and sometimes, maybe, it hurts to be yourself. While I was thinking about what he’d written, I realized that as an 8, my experience is pretty much the opposite of his. I’d say that for me, it hurts to not be myself.

OUR SELVES R US

But again, what or who the heck is that? The truth is that we’re probably composed of many different selves. In Stumbling on Happiness, for example, Daniel Gilbert says we have at least three: our past self, our present self, and our future self. Our past self has set in motion much of what our present self now wants nothing to do with. And our present self is quite confident it knows exactly what will make our future self happy. His premise is that our present self is really clueless about our future self. It’s one of the problems with the way our brains work: we equate confidence with validity when the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

But returning to the question of selves, I suspect that what we think of as our true self is really the particular set of compulsions, automatic responses, and (as David Eagleman calls them) zombie subroutines we have developed since birth. I doubt we were born in some perfect state and have been corrupted by our subsequent experiences—otherwise known as life. I think the development of our particular compulsions and autopilot behaviors is just a natural response and reaction to the joys and exigencies of life. Our unique dance with life, if you will.

The desire to locate some essential, authentic, uncorrupted self underneath all the compulsions and automatic responses seems literally wrongheaded. As Flip Wilson’s character Geraldine always said, what you see is what you get. And that’s amazing enough! We are marvelous, amusing, innovative, and fascinating creatures with astonishing possibility, not in spite of our compulsions and idiosyncrasies but because of them. We just need to shake loose from our concepts about who we are or who we think we’re supposed to be.

Don wrote that the lotuses in his tattoo symbolize enlightenment: seeing things as they really are. Right on, Don!

So, yes, by all means be yourselves. There are no other selves you can be.

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