Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Enneagrams


I also met this middle-aged shaggy-haired hippie last night who talked to me about enneagrams, Buddhism, and going vegetarian. Enneagrams are some sort of personality profile thing, a little like the MBTI thing. There are 9 profiles, according to different 'deadly sins'. You can read it up on wikipedia, I'm lazy to go into detail. My best bud was there, and the hippie asked him to identify which profile I fit. He said that I'm a 4, an "individualist," a tragic romantic. The hippie then asked me if I have considered suicide as a valid option in life, and I said yes. He then said, "okay yeah you're definitely a 4."

It surprised me because I thought everyone thought about suicide. I read the book that they had on enneagrams, and there was a checklist to see if I fit the type 4 personality. Every single one of them was a huge tick. I often feel alone and lonely even when I'm surrounded by people who care about me. I often conjure up/rehearse scenarios or conversations that haven't happened yet (I said it out loud that I do this, and my friends laughed at me and said omg who does that. Lol I thought everyone does that...) I can forgive almost anything except bad taste, which is so fucking true ahah.

Basically I felt really odd because this book was describing the way I think about everything, and it painted a very bleak picture. My friends also told me most gay people are number 4s. I'm not sure what's the point of identifying one's personality, but it hit me pretty hard. I shall ruminate over all these, and hopefully try to correct a few of these wrongs. I included excerpts of Type Fours below:

  • Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity.
  • Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
  • Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an
       identity)
  • We have named this type The Individualist because Fours maintain their identity by seeing themselves as fundamentally different from others. Fours feel that they are unlike other human beings, and consequently, that no one can understand them or love them adequately. They often see themselves as uniquely talented, possessing special, one-of-a-kind gifts, but also as uniquely disadvantaged or flawed. More than any other type, Fours are acutely aware of and focused on their personal differences and deficiencies.
  • Nevertheless, Fours often report that they feel they are missing something in themselves, although they may have difficulty identifying exactly what that “something” is. Is it will power? Social ease? Self-confidence? Emotional tranquility?—all of which they see in others, seemingly in abundance. Given time and sufficient perspective, Fours generally recognize that they are unsure about aspects of their self-image—their personality or ego-structure itself. They feel that they lack a clear and stable identity, particularly a social persona that they feel comfortable with.
  • While it is true that Fours often feel different from others, they do not really want to be alone. They may feel socially awkward or self-conscious, but they deeply wish to connect with people who understand them and their feelings. The “romantics” of the Enneagram, they long for someone to come into their lives and appreciate the secret self that they have privately nurtured and hidden from the world. If, over time, such validation remains out of reach, Fours begin to build their identity around how unlike everyone else they are. The outsider therefore comforts herself by becoming an insistent individualist: everything must be done on her own, in her own way, on her own terms. Fours’ mantra becomes “I am myself. Nobody understands me. I am different and special,” while they secretly wish they could enjoy the easiness and confidence that others seem to enjoy.
  • Fours typically have problems with a negative self-image and chronically low self-esteem. They attempt to compensate for this by cultivating a Fantasy Self—an idealized self-image which is built up primarily in their imaginations.
  • In the course of their lives, Fours may try several different identities on for size, basing them on styles, preferences, or qualities they find attractive in others. But underneath the surface, they still feel uncertain about who they really are. The problem is that they base their identity largely on their feelings. When Fours look inward they see a kaleidoscopic, ever-shifting pattern of emotional reactions. Indeed, Fours accurately perceive a truth about human nature—that it is dynamic and ever changing. But because they want to create a stable, reliable identity from their emotions, they attempt to cultivate only certain feelings while rejecting others. Some feelings are seen as “me,” while others are “not me.” By attempting to hold on to specific moods and express others, Fours believe that they are being true to themselves.
  • One of the biggest challenges Fours face is learning to let go of feelings from the past; they tend to nurse wounds and hold onto negative feelings about those who have hurt them. Indeed, Fours can become so attached to longing and disappointment that they are unable to recognize the many treasures in their lives.
  • As long as they believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with them, they cannot allow themselves to experience or enjoy their many good qualities. To acknowledge their good qualities would be to lose their sense of identity (as a suffering victim) and to be without a relatively consistent personal identity (their Basic Fear). Fours grow by learning to see that much of their story is not true—or at least it is not true any more. The old feelings begin to fall away once they stop telling themselves their old tale: it is irrelevant to who they are right now.

2 comments:

  1. I've thought of suicide only in passing but never as a valid option. As unsatisfied as I am with my life right now, I believe that it does get better(cliched I know) and that there's many things to look forward to in the future.

    Anyway, I'm shit at personality tests because I'm either not being honest with myself or I don't know myself well enough. So the result will be somewhere between what I am and what I think I am. haha am I even making sense?

    -jw

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    1. So the hippie said exactly that about personality tests. I do that too. So he suggested asking a (few of my) really good friend(s) of mine to read through the headings for each personality type, and within 10 seconds identify which personality type I fall under. My friends that I'm not as close to misidentified me as a 3, only my best bud knew how fucking emo I am.

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