A Change of (Enneagram) Heart

Image: Ann Gadd

A Change of Heart: One thing each Enneagram Type can do to heal emotionally

We all want to be the best versions of ourselves we can be, right? Yet we mess us frequently. Or at least I do. For example, today I was so going to exercise. Instead I justified to myself that housework was “exercise.” But who am I kidding? A quick sweep of the floor does not equate to 40 minutes on the treadmill.

During this COVID crisis I believe we were meant to emerge having made changes. Nothing will be the same. Neither will we. We have a choice. Do we adapt and flow change? Working to better ourselves, or do we resist and persist in trying to make our world the same as it was? Yet we know the universe is constantly all in a stage of transformation. We can be in the “I Ching* Moment” consciously or attempt to stall it. (That’s a bit like trying to stop a herd of elephants storming towards you on a downhill).

The Enneagram can help. In the Triad self (mind, heart, and body) we’re going to look at one simple thing you can do in the Feeling Center to change. (If you missed the body-centered approach, you can read it here.)
*The I Ching, known as the The Book of Change — is an ancient Chinese divination text.

Type 1

The punctual, precise, perfectionist who wants to reform themselves and others.

Let go of the need to avoid what it is you’re really feeling. Don’t judge. Drop “I should feel…,” for “I am feeling…”, when it comes to your emotions. Connect with what you are feeling, rather than what you think you should feel. Thinking what you should feel connects with an idealized, ego-based image of yourself.

Commonly, your most repressed feelings will be anger and resentment. When you’re honest about what you feel, you can find a channel to express the emotion. Dance, paint, polish the silver… whatever will help release anger in a non-destructive way. Beating yourself up for feeling angry and trying to repress it doesn’t get rid of it. The anger or resentment just gets expressed in other ways.

Benefit: Anger is a natural emotion we all experience. By acknowledging it without self-criticism, you can move beyond it sooner.

Type 2

The demonstrative, helping, other-centered, praising person

Learn to say “no.” When you feel that you’re giving from all sides and are becoming resentful and burdened as a result, learn to say “no.” Then express your own needs and desires. Most importantly, learn to receive from others. Receiving can be harder than giving.

Benefit: By letting others give to you, you drop the feeling of resentment. No payback is required.

Type 3

The ambitious, organized, goal-orientated person

Give up being inauthentic about how you feel. Allow yourself to feel your real feelings and to be honest to yourself and others about them. You can be inclined to feel you should be playing a role, rather than being the real you. You are also inclined to put your feelings on hold. Try expressing them in the moment.

Benefit: Others will feel closer and more admiring of the real honest you

Type 4

The sensitive, creative, original person

Let go of exaggerating or enhancing your feelings. Its possible to become addicted to certain feelings. As a result, you focus on them, giving yourself over to fantasy. Rather than drown in these feelings, take real positive action in your life.

Benefit: Your melancholic feelings can trap you in them. This keeps you as a helpless victim rather than being an active participator.

Type 5

The cerebral, logical analyzing person

Let go of the need to think your feelings. Keeping your thoughts and feelings safely locked within your head feels safer. But deeply connecting with others means being able to share your heart/feelings. Listen not only with you head, but also with your heart and respond the same way. Real living means entering the arena rather than coolly observing from the side-lines. (Watch Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability). Being overly-intellectual only engages with one of the Three Centers.

Benefit: Here’s the thing: If you allow yourself to share your feelings, others will be less demanding of your time. A short time of intimacy is worth hours of being together being emotionally distant. Moving towards others negates the need to defend yourself from them.

Type 6

The cautious, sensible, prepared person

Let go of the need to doubt yourself. Learn to trust your own inner knowing — the voice inside you that knows what to do (but feels unsure about doing it). Act despite your fear. Try it on small decisions first and build up confidence and trust from there.

Benefit: Fortune favors the brave. Become your own authority instead of looking for authority outside yourself.

Type 7

The optimistic, fun-loving, extrovert.

Let go of the need to feel you need to avoid all the uncomfortable, painful feelings that arise. Sevens tend to focus on all that’s fun and upbeat. That approach favors only one polarity. To reach transcendence we need to be able to hold and be with both polarities. The lightness and darkness of our being. Allow yourself to be with your hurt rather than try to run from it, deny or rationalize it. Part of your boredom arises from not allowing yourself to feel.

Benefit: Being with rather than running from pain, brings you into true presence with what is now. That’s when you feel real exciting joy.

Type 8

The strong, confident, assertive person

Let go of the need to always appear strong and in control. Inside your tough exterior is a soft vulnerability, which you mostly keep hidden. Part of your growth comes from allowing that scared child to be seen by others. Trying to act tough prevents this child-like self from expressed. Try sharing this side of yourself with someone you trust. (Watch Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability).

Benefit: By letting others experience your vulnerability, you allow them to support you. You truly feel that spark of being met. Dropping your guard allows deeper, juicy connection. Going against others drives them away.

Type 9

The accepting, calm and easy-going person

Let go of not feeling. By avoiding what you feel, particularly anger, you avoid being at real peace with yourself. Become aware of your real feelings and desires. Ask yourself: “What am I feeling now?” rather than what you believe someone else wants or needs you to feel. Use your anger as a guide to help you understand what you’re wanting or not wanting in life. Become aware to yourself. The feelings you don’t acknowledge, can’t be healed.

Benefit: Becoming aware of your feelings is a step towards finding your real self. It’s saying to the universe that you value who you are, rather than your typical self-neglect.

Focusing on these feelings brings awareness to your behavior. This allows you to consciously make changes. The old habits then gradually give way to new and more integrated ways of being. Try it.

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Ann Gadd is in iEQ9 Enneagram Coach, IEA presenter, and author of 4 Enneagram books (incl. Sex and the Enneagram), as well as a children’s Enneagram series.

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Ann Gadd

Ann Gadd

Ann Gadd is in iEQ9 Enneagram Coach, IEA presenter, and author of 4 Enneagram books (incl. Sex and the Enneagram), as well as a children’s Enneagram series.

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