Creating Control Among Chaos with the Enneagram
As the election and the conclusion of 2020 draw near, so many of us are struggling to find a sense of control in the middle of the chaos that this year has become. During a year where the majority of us had no choice but to be at home with our thoughts during quarantine, it has offered an opportunity for deeper self reflection. And in this space, therein also lies the opportunity for a deeper understanding of what you can control - and where the source of this control resides: within.
Although we may not be able to control a global pandemic, social unrest, and an election (though we can all try by voting!), we can control our reactions, emotional state, and resilience. While leading a joyful, mindful, and balanced life can accomplish internal control, it also requires practice and resources. One resource that I have found useful is the Enneagram. Understanding my Enneagram type allowed me to recognize how I best gain and maintain inner control.
What is an Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a system of personality types named after its structure below.
Enneagrams are designated by numbers one through nine. While each person can only have one Enneagram type, it is possible to embody aspects of all of the numbers. You can take the original test (or a free one) and receive a result that details your number alignment. You might be skeptical about how a number can tell you anything about yourself, but I was amazed at how true the results of my test felt to me. As a result, I do feel the Enneagram is a useful tool to better understand myself and engage with others.
The Enneagram and Living a JMB Life
Enneagram results list prominent traits of each number and explain fears, desires, motivations, instincts, and more. I have found that one of the most important steps in working toward living a joyful, mindful, and balanced life is being self-aware. Recognizing and understanding yourself, your reactions, and your thought processes is crucial for self-awareness. The Enneagram can reveal some things we do or think, but are not consciously aware of. This is what makes the Enneagram such a helpful tool to navigate life, interpersonal relationships, and introspection.
I am an Enneagram Type 7 - the Enthusiastic Visionary. As a 7, I have a natural tendency to focus on what brings joy, happiness and pleasure in life and generally have an attitude of gratitude and optimistic focus forward. Sharing the perspectives and tools that have helped me work through the challenges in my life in the hope that someone else will benefit from them is something that I love focusing my energy and attention upon. So, starting JMB Living is truly a great fit in my life.
My quest for new experiences and forward momentum as a Type 7 can sometimes present a challenge in my mindful living journey. I can easily lose interest in things and if something no longer holds the same excitement it once did, I could easily “move on” before fully appreciating a situation or learning all the lessons that may be present for me within it. By knowing and acknowledging this natural tendency, I can remind myself to dig deeper to find the resolve to stick with something when I find myself becoming bored.
I also find it easier to be present with joy than to experience pain or suffering. This is where a practice of yoga and mindfulness has helped me so very, very much over the years and I am ever so grateful for the practice, as it helped me “breathe through” and be present during some very tough and painful experiences.
Another area that can be a challenge for a Type 7 (self included) is in recognizing the tendency to assume I know what other people are going to say. Sadly, I am also quick to criticize others for this same fault. Recognizing this tendency, I need to strive to focus on slowing down my desire to jump in and comment in an effort to be more open to listening and understanding from the other person’s perspective as opposed to solely my own viewpoint. I’ll be honest, that the skill of mindful listening is something that I need to continue to actively and intentionally practice on an ongoing basis.
The wealth of personal information that the Enneagram provides lends to how your number relates to your conflict responses, behaviors from childhood, and how you process emotion. I recommend applying your Enneagram results when examining your lifestyle and behavior to look for areas for improvement and personal wells of solace. We can gain control in our lives by understanding these aspects of ourselves and using this understanding to control how we navigate through the chaos of external conflicts.
JMB Living for Your Enneagram
Now that you know how to use the Enneagram to have a JMB life, on the flip side you can also find out how JMB Living can work with your Enneagram! The planner journal that we are launching in the next few weeks has so many facets that you will find there is an aspect of it that caters to each Enneagram type. I have had so many questions over the last few weeks about the journal, I thought it might be fun to explore what is inside in this manner. Scroll to your number and see how the JMB Living Journal can work for your type.