As a six, I am constantly scanning the room.
I like to claim a position in the corner where I can see everything and where I don’t have my back to someone who might approach.
I often come across as reserved and possibly judgmental (I’m rarely quiet but smiling and trying to get better about being more pleasant in my discernment) as I read a room choosing my words carefully in new groups.
Many people read this as being laid-back which is interesting as I’m generally feeling distrust and unease with myself in the situation.
It is difficult for me to jump into a situation or to change energy as a party picks up.
When I look at the other somatic postures of other numbers, these make sense to me and it is tempting to type the others I know best, especially my children.
However, what I like most about naming the nine approaches is that they all come both out of strengths and weaknesses of the personality- not out of one right way to approach people or be in a relationship.
I am working on a quiet mind, grateful expression and ending negative self-talk or judgments so that I can feel as laid-back as I may look to new people.
1 – Ones have been triggers for me due to their certainty.
However, as I get to know healthier ones I admire their desire to have a direction and their ability to stick with it.
While I will never feel as certain as they do about a single way, I appreciate their commitment and integrity in offering guidance.
2 – Twos can feel intrusive to me, and I instinctively retract.
I find I can offend a two in not accepting their help.
As I get closer to twos in my life, I’ve found common ground in that we both want to help others.
I want to give them space and security. They want to do things for me or others.
Ultimately we are both collaborators. I try to invite conversation about our approaches so we can collaborate on what is most helpful for both of us rather than either of us saving the other.
3 – I relate to the high achieving three, as I often compare myself to this type and operate here under stress.
What interests me is the motivation of a three to seek validation and their struggle to get in touch with their authentic feelings.
I often wish I could shut down my feelings and doubt, so I see how three’s immunity can both be a benefit and a hindrance.
4 – I saw four’s struggle with the insights around emotions being short-lived and the trouble with narratives we place around our feelings.
I’ve done work with this through my meditation practice and find it very helpful.
It was interesting for me to observe the drama of fours without being caught up in the drama or victimhood I have felt in the past.
5 – I’m still trying to grasp the true five as opposed to the smart creativity of the four and the anxious curious nature of the six.
I find so many of the types to be intelligent that this marker seems to be not enough to determine a five.
6 – As I said before, I appreciated being around other sixes to show how friendly they can be, even when I doubt my own likability.
7—Sevens have been another trigger for me as I have felt the “Grass is always greener” tendency of sevens close to me threaten the security I establish with them.
However, I came to appreciate the “this too shall pass” approach to life and the strength that comes in resilience when a seven doesn’t avoid pain altogether but moves through it.
I’m learning how my own longings reflect a seven energy and how I need that to push my six out of her doubts and need to cling safety.
8 – Eights have strong energy.
I usually stand back when this somatic presence comes into my field but I never leave.
When I am feeling counterphobic I relate to eights and often seek an alliance with them.
I appreciate someone who will tell me the truth as it strengthens the whole.
I find eights, ones and twos do this for me the best.
9 – This type is an enigma to me.
In one sense, I appreciate being around people who are calm and go with the flow like nines tend to do.
In another sense, I don’t like to avoid conflict and can’t understand how nines seem to be so calm and collected when things are not going well.
Hence my inability to “go with the flow”.
If something isn’t going well, I feel obligated to confront it, not ignore or avoid it like nines.
Together our spiritual longings and strengths reveal an image of God who is wise, caring, praise-worthy, forgiving, curious, faithful, joyful, just, and peaceful.
The Enneagram has helped me claim the virtue of my type – faithfulness – to a flawed but devoted institution and to the broken but beautiful individuals that embody it.
To learn more about your own Enneagram type, click here to register for the CLL’s Spiritual Dimensions of the Enneagram course.
Rev. Beth Waltemath is a teaching elder in the PC(USA) with a background in publishing at Random House and Hearst Magazines. In her fourteen years as a freelance writer, she has written for Seasons of the Spirit, Village Voice Media, and Humanities Tennessee and has served as editor of www.onscripture.com, an online lectionary commentary focused on current events and social justice concerns. She is a member of the program committee of the Decatur Book Festival, focusing on authors in their spirituality and religion track. She serves as the co-pastor of North Decatur Presbyterian Church in Decatur, GA.