| Kim Parker |
When I first began learning about the Enneagram and its nine personality types, I hadn’t yet taken any sort of test or assessment. I learned about all nine types within a two-day workshop. So, on my own, with all the new knowledge I had gathered, I identified my type – or so I thought.
I was fairly confident I was a type 3; but, when I took the test, the results indicated I was a type 9. My immediate thought was, “What?! I am not a sloth!” (Sloth, as you'll learn in the coming weeks, is a type 9's passion or sin, the primary way 9's become trapped in ego or lose c/Center.) So, obviously, not everything in the results immediately rang true for me; but, the more I read over time, the more I realized 9 was, in fact, my type.
I had always liked being known as a laid back, “go with the flow” kind of person. These traits came so naturally and were often admired by others. Never had I seen being easy-going or “keeping the peace” as my need to avoid life – all of life, including myself. Average to unhealthy 9s are known for seeking peace at any cost, even if it means withdrawing from the world and themselves. (Within the Enneagram, this is the true definition of sloth, not traditional laziness.) It was humiliating to realize what I had treasured as one of my most positive attributes was, with a more honest look, slothfulness on my part.
It is not uncommon for this to be our experience as we begin learning about the Enneagram. A rule of thumb in this work: you will experience some level of humiliation, and if you do not, you probably haven’t found your number. The Enneagram shows us the shadow side of our gifts and reveals the games we often unknowingly play. Although these can be difficult to face, doing so is part of a path that leads us toward freedom. Taking an honest look at ourselves, through the lens of the Enneagram, provides us with the awareness needed to let go of our unhelpful tendencies and patterns of behavior. Furthermore, as we begin to practice “letting go”, we are set free to be a more whole and loving p/Presence in the world.
This is the grace, the gift, of our shadow side. May you be gentle and patient with yourself as you walk toward it this fall.