| Anne Williamson |
I find it difficult to share a definitive opinion on controversial subjects. One reason I see as positive: I am at ease in the gray, generally believing I am one conversation away from understanding someone else’s perspective. The other reason is often problematic: I like to be liked, for others to think well of me.
Take last week, for example. I come out as a person who doesn’t like the word “blessed” or the phrase “everything happens for a reason.” That should be easy enough for me to share, but it wasn’t. Soon after the newsletter sent, I read a friend’s Facebook story about a little girl battling cancer who finds solace in a song titled, “You [meaning, God] know better than I.” And, immediately, I felt like an asshole. Then, two people unsubscribed from the newsletter, and I couldn’t help but feel a little rejected.
The good news is I now recognize this self-talk for what it is: the ego, fear. And, perhaps not coincidentally, through my own current exploration of the Enneagram, our topic this fall, I’m coming to understand this personal dynamic even better.
There are nine personality types in the Enneagram. We each have a dominant one – I’m a three. In addition to exploring a new personality type each week, we’ll also be exploring several related topics. One such topic is that each personality type has a basic fear, often stemming from childhood. A three’s fear is being without inherent value. The childhood message we needed to hear but didn’t (even if it was sent): “You are loved for yourself.” Knowing this helps to inform my reluctance to sometimes be myself – imperfections, controversial opinions, use of the word “asshole,” and all.
It’s fascinating and has helped me with a new goal: to share more openly, be more vulnerable. It’s a quality I’ve loved seeing in President Obama in his last year. On some level, when you like being liked, your life can feel similar to a politician in an election year… that never stops. (So, really, not unlike politics today, unless you’re a last term President.) Besides being deeply “unfun,” to enable this way of living keeps us threes stuck.
What I want – what you likely do too, if you’re reading this – is to keep getting unstuck and move toward wholeness. The Enneagram is yet another tool that can help. I hope you’ll consider participating in the journey this fall. And if you do, I look forward to hearing about your own revelations and next steps forward.