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The Enneagram and Relationships - Learning to Receive - Part 2

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Image of a Christmas gift. Image of a Christmas gift.

This is a continuation of the previous blog about how the Enneagram can help us in our relationships with others.  The previous blog introduced the idea of learning to recognize, acknowledge, and receive the gifts and good intentions the different Enneagram types bring to the table.  This is one of many ways the knowledge and understanding of the different types in the Enneagram can help us as we seek to improve specific relationships in our lives.  It’s not a new idea, learning to see from the other person’s point of view, or walk a mile in their shoes is a time tested approach to improving relationships with others.  With the Enneagram, however, we can see a much broader view of others’ perspectives.   Adn the Enneagram helps us see that differences between people can go much deeper than just what is visible on the surface. The last blog discussed Enneagram types One through Five, so I will begin here with type six. 

Flowing from their essential nature of loyalty, Enneagram Sixes are often extremely committed to people, organizations, and systems or structures.  The flipside of this strength, however, is that they can have a difficult time trusting and being confident in themselves, and, because of the depth of their commitment, they are slow to trust and give support.  The end result is fear, distrust, and doubt regarding almost everything. Enneagram sixes have an intuition for what can go wrong in a project or plan.  Without taking time to consider the perspective of sixes, their caution and doubt can be interpreted as indecision, pessimism and shooting down ideas.  But when we recognize that their caution and doubt come out of an earnest desire that things work well, that organizations run fairly and well, and that difficulties and issues are avoided, we can be grateful for their concern and join them in trying to anticipate problem areas, in looking before we leap.

The essencyial nature of Sevens is joy, they value experiencing and enjoying life to its fullest.  Sevens often bring joy, fun, and enthusiasm with them wherever they go.  They are often the life of a party or a team.  Yet, with too much emphasis on fun and enthusiasm, sevens can avoid or seem to be avoiding the parts of life that don’t fit as well with those notions – hard work, responsibility, conflict, pain, grief, and loss.  Sevens may indeed need help to go to such places, yet others can relate better with Sevens by being willing to go to the places that Sevens invite us to.  Every life needs a little “singing in the rain.”  The infectious smiles and enthusiasm that Sevens desire to share can be a precious gift for all to receive.

Power is something Enneagram eights are familiar with.  It is the center of their essential nature, and their desire is to use it in the help and protection of others.   Eights are often a natural fit for leadership, yet these strengths can seem too aggressive, threatening, or intimidating to others.  Eights naturally move against people, pushing back or challenging them, and many people don’t enjoy being challenged.  Yet, like Threes, the gifts of Eights are often obvious in our lives and the world.  We benefit from both the production and protection of their leadership, Eights are often the ones that break new ground and provide a safe path for others to follow or a safe place for others to live and work.  And, while we may not like being challenged, we can still appreciate the Eights desire to see us grow and improve.

It can sometimes seem that Enneagram Nines focus on losing focus.  The essential nature of Nines is peace, they have an intuition for seeing all sides of an issue and bringing people together.  Of all the types, this idea of walking in another’s shoes is something nines may be most naturally adept at.  The flipside of this strength, however, is having trouble seeing from their own point of view and a tendency to be settled with the status quo, uninterested in change.  Change always has the potential of disrupting peace.  Thus, it can seem a long time waiting for nines to take initiative or be willing to change.  Yet, we can appreciate the peace that they seek and bring.  Nines are comfortable just being, hanging out and slowing down.  Other types can lean too much into change and activity, nines help us see and be present to the moment, to receive and be open to ourselves and others.

These ideas are only the beginning of how the Enneagram can help us in our relationships, and it is always important to remember that our relationships are usually helped the most when we start with our own inner-work – learning to love and accept ourselves.  The Enneagram is, of course, a great help in that area as well.

Read 1683 times Last modified on 23.11.2017
Sam Drew

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