Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Enneagram and ME: The Good

Yesterday I shared the dark side of being a Four, according to The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective.  And if you're still back for more, thank you.  As I mentioned yesterday, I was a bit anxious about being so vulnerable and focusing on my more negative traits.

Today, thankfully, I get to talk about the gifts and benefits of being a Four. I hope that people experience this side of me more often than not. 

1. They are motivated by the need to understand themselves and their feelings.  They search for meaning in life
Maybe this explains my penchant for personality tests and self-analysis?  I've also written in a journal since I was in 6th grade.  The things I have learned from reading through those old entries- yikes!  I view this as a positive trait.  Understanding myself helps me understand the people around me.  Searching for meaning draws me closer to God.

2. Fours like to have long conversations over wine or tea. They have exquisite taste!
I love these random things!  Totally me.  I adore sitting in a coffee shop talking away the day with a good friend- or over a glass of wine at night.  When I travel, I look for unique pieces, jewelry, etc. to bring home.  I'm not opposed to mass market clothes but there's a definite look or style that I have and it must conform to that.  Resale shops are my friends.

3. They tend to be artistically gifted.
Well, this one certainly makes me happy.  I always loved art and English class best.  I still love to paint and draw when I have time, as well as work on other crafty projects. I will never be a famous artist but I am creative and talented.  More importantly, I derive great joy from creating! Writing is my true first love.  My childhood dream was to be an author.  Anytime anyone compliments my writing, I am over the moon.

4. Fours avoid ordinariness.  They like to be different.
I have eclectic taste.  I am opinionated.  I enjoy that I am not a "typical" Christian.  I don't always like to be singled out but I don't like being lost in the crowd either.

5. Fruit of the Spirit for redeemed Fours: Balance. They understand the human soul better than anyone, as well as the range of emotions.  When they are redeemed, Fours can distance themselves from their emotion, thus purifying it.
I am able to be more objective about my emotions now.  I have an idea of my triggers and how to better care for myself.  When I'm going into a potentially tough situation, I try to prepare myself for how I may respond, which helps.  I have become so much better at self-care in the last decade.  I feel that being emotionally balanced, as well as balanced in all areas of life, has helped me to be a more effective counselor. This is very much connected to #6.  I have a calming presence and a go-with-the-flow personality, which is tied into balance as well.

6. They are able to access a depth of feeling that few others can.  Because of this, they are better than most at understanding and advising people going through difficult or calamitous experiences. They're not afraid of complicated, dark feelings as they've already gone through it.
Going through depression and suicidality, experiencing several losses, and more...these things have greatly enhanced my ability to walk beside people through their darkest hours.  Whether working for hospice or my current position, I am able to listen to and advise people who face the unfathomable and still retain my compassion.  Does this tire me out at times? Yes.  But I often feel that my life experiences make me the best person to sit in that space.  I'm OK with not knowing the answers or having the perfect thing to say.

7. Invitation: call to originality.  They find who they are in terms of who they are in God.
Viewing myself through God's eyes has been huge!  Accepting that He created me fearfully and wonderfully in His image has done wonders for my self-esteem. Knowing that nothing escapes His notice, that He works all things for good, has helped me immeasurably.  Reconciling my political beliefs to my faith led to me to make my faith my own. I was able to be myself before God and know that I was loved unconditionally.  I finally accepted His grace.

8. Life tasks: develop a healthy realism and convert longing into actual goals.
The realism developed when I saw a counselor in college.  Converting longing into goals, this is something that I push myself to do.  Now that I think of it, that was somewhat behind my move to Nashville.  This has something to do with my 31 Things and 32 Things- giving purpose to each year. A current way I'm doing this is sitting down each week to work on my book.  The dream I've had since I was a little girl is coming closer to reality.  I have no idea if I'll be published but I'd never know if I just continued to sit around dreaming about it. Are there other dreams that need to be converted into goals?  Absolutely but let's just take it one at a time for now!
My inspiration board
Those who know me in real life, does this seem to be a good explanation for me?  (I'm guessing that some of these things could be detected in blogland as well!)  Anyone else think they're a Four?

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  1. I haven't read this version, yet, but I did do my MA in political leadership. As a result, I took tons of these kinds of character exercises and I'm pretty sure this description fits me, too! Now let's go have a glass of wine together and discuss how artistically gifted and fabulous we are. : )

  2. I have just found your blog and are so glad that I did. I love finding other Nashville Bloggers. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

  3. @JJ, just name the time and place and we'll make it happen!

    @Alicia, glad you found me!

  4. hi friend! i think...i think this may be me, too? i've never heard of an enneagram until you but i do love taking personality tests.

    thought it was funny what you said about the m-b test. i'm NEVER the same. actually, i'm always and NF but i waiver between an E/I and P/J, depending on the day.

    or the mood.

    or the situation.


  5. Great things Leigh! I am super excited for you! I hope that your dreams become reality. I think that I qualify for whatever number says "cannot finish tasks". Unless it is work related, I start a project and don't finish it most of the time.

  6. @MK, I am the exact same way! Maybe that's why I can never remember my results. I just got back my Myers-Briggs report at work (they made us take it for some team-building thing but I couldn't go to the actual retreat) on Thursday and it said I'm an ENFP. I was a moderate E, huge N and F, and then a slight P- just 2 answers over. Then I read the report, for much of the E section, I thought, that's not really me. So I'm guessing if I took it again, I'd flip flop into "I" again. Or maybe I'm more of an "I" at work? Who knows!

    @Teresa, thank you for the encouragement! I'm not sure which number that would be but I'm sure there's a type that tends to have unfinished projects:)


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