In the height of the #loveyourself movement, this is really hard to admit. But here goes. I have really struggled to like myself. For my whole life. This is a common thread I can see going all the way back to childhood.
Just like you, I got self-esteem classes in elementary school. My parents (and other people who love me) told me how great I was. And I’ve pumped myself up in the mirror before try-outs and interviews many times.
But no amount of pysching myself up or positive self-talk has ever been long lasting. The nagging feeling that my inherent personality was flawed always resurfaced.
I’ve done some hard work discovering where this self-criticism comes from, and that has certainly helped. (P.S. Go to counseling if you need to go to counseling. And pretty much everyone needs to go to counseling.)
But coming across the Enneagram has been eye opening because I’ve discovered that the things I see as my weaknesses are actually my superpowers.
I (and many Enneagram experts) do not recommend taking a test to find out your Enneagram number. Instead, I recommend reading the book The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. In my opinion, this book is the strongest introduction to the Enneagram out there. As you read, you will discover your number. The self-discovery is part of the process to self-awareness.
Ignorance is definitely not bliss when it comes to self-awareness.
According to Cron and Stabile, “the Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively.”
Through the Enneagram, I’m able to realize when my behaviors show me that I’m in an unhealthy place. When I start seeing those unhealthy tendencies start to surface, I know it’s time for some changes in my life.
So it turns out, I am an Enneagram 9, the peacemaker. On the most basic level, that means the need to find internal and external harmony motivates me.
So how has this realization helped me find my superpower?
Well, it’s helped me realize I’m not alone. There are a lot of other people out there who see the world the way I do and exhibit the same character traits.
It’s also helped me to recognize that some of my traits I see as detrimental are actually a gift to the people around me.
I have a hard time making decisions. Simply put, I need more time to come to a conclusion than most people. I used to hate this about myself. However, now I realize that because type 9s are the crown of the Enneagram, we see everyone’s perspective. This is a gift, not a curse! I see every side of everything, so of course, I can’t make an immediate decision. I have a lot of perspectives to weigh, and that’s OK.
Also, I can easily get lost a dream world and forget reality. This used to enrage me. Why can’t I just buckle down and get stuff done? But I’ve realized that as a type 9, I have a heightened sense of spirituality. I see connections and meaning in everything. I think one of my purposes in life is the help others see the “why” in life, too. Of course, I have to be careful not to escape into the “white light” and forget about the real world. Gotta keep living life. I’m not a Buddhist monk, after all.
I trust easily and believe the best of people. In the past, people have described me as gullible. This isn’t really true. I just genuinely care about people. How ridiculous that I’ve sought to harden myself over time. Of course, being overly trusting can be dangerous. But also it makes me an outstanding mediator and a great person to have around in times of conflict, tragedy, or emergency. (Once again, I can see all perspectives.)
I’ve been made on purpose. My personality is not an accident. I have inherent worth because of my humanity. My personality is a gift to the world and those around me. And I’m so thankful the Enneagram has helped me discover that.
These findings are just scratching the surface of what I’ve discovered about myself. The Enneagram has helped me in my work, marriage, parenting, friendships, and extended family relationships so much. I can’t recommend enough diving into the discovery of self.
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