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SITE: Enneagram Types & Tips for Happiness (iTunes) Jackie Wells Smith
CORE qualities = our GIFT
● The flip side of each Type’s ‘defect’ is the characteristic which allows us to self-actualize – our Virtue / Strength. These exist in immature form when we’re born, & are supposed to mature over the course of a lifetime (like an acorn), but can only do so IF planted in good soil – ie. a safe, loving family.
> If Nurtured, the Strength will allow us to grow into something grand
> If Hindered – it will be used incorrectly, to everyone’s detriment.
We know that a damaging childhood environment stunts the healthy development of our specific core quality – so it doesn’t turn into a mighty oak – which is what happens to most ACoAs – before Recovery. SO an essential part of our process is to find healthy people-places-things (PPT) that help us undo the damage & allow our precious acorn to RE-grow correctly. “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood” – NOW.
● The reverse of the “defects” are the 7 Heavenly Virtues:
Charity, Faith, Fortitude, Hope, Justice, Prudence, Temperance + 2
The coordinating Enn. Strengths are: (#1 – #9) : Serenity, Humility, Truthfulness, Equanimity, Detachment, Courage, Sobriety, Innocence, Action
— These positive qualities can also be used as PROCESS, starting at #9, which represents “The Whole” – for planning a trip, making a meal, running a company, pursuing our Recovery…
● To find our Type, we start with the exaggerated expression of the self – the defect – & trace it back to its original state. Our harmful ‘Habits of Mind’ (CDs) come from over-using /mis-using the Strengths, which are our most natural positive tendency – what we’re best at & our fundamental way of approaching the world. Therefore, the positive quality hidden in the flaw is our GIFT, with both the characteristics of Divinity & of human personality, which we bring into the world to share with others.
EXP: 2s love to help people, but damage turns it into co-dependence.
Healthy 1s like things to be done right, but damage turns it into judgmental perfectionism. Healthy 5s love to be quiet & study, but damage turns it into isolation or being pedantic (a know-it-all) …..
● In “Types of Men” (1928), Eduard Spranger wrote that people are best understood through the study of their values. In the 1960’s Gordon Allport, father of Personality Psychology, agreed that personal values are the basis of our philosophy of life.
Vulnerabilities come from what caused our essence to be distorted
Values come from what each Type finds most important & deeply wants
● Another way of saying all this is: At the heart of each person’s adaptation to the world are inborn aptitudes & abilities, present as potentialities in our core self. These energizing talents form our values, which we hold dear, influencing our motivations & perspectives on life. They orient & focus our vision – identifying what’s important to us, what to organize our life around, what to live for. While we can appreciate & express something of all the 9 qualities, temperamentally we favor a specific one which guides our attitudes, behaviors, emotions, energies & perceptions – expressions of our Essence.
a. From a spiritual point of view, we are told that human being were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), ie. God’s character & attributes reflected in us, such as compassion, rationality, love, hatred, anger, mercy…..
b. From a psychological view, human nature shows up in differing points of view & their accompanying ways of experiencing, evaluating, perceiving, understanding & responding to the world.
The “Primal Catastrophe”
Unfortunately most people lose touch with our specific Essence early in life. The Defect of our type is formed in response to the primal catastrophe of our childhood – the loss of connection to the Divine. In Christian terms, we’re born separated from God by our sin-nature, forgetting our birthright as children of God. In reaction, humans develop 9 different (ineffective) strategies to try reconnecting with Spirit & our deepest self.
● The Virtues/ Strengths identify the way to reconnect to Essence, out-growths of the spiritual insights called Holy Ideas (Holy = objective spiritual reality, expressed in the higher, essential qualities of the human mind). Since our Type’s Ego Desire is a mix of divine yearning & ego questing – in spite of the distortions – ‘personality’ has a sacred impulse at its core.
Ego vs. Essence ?
Essence = Our True Self, originating at birth. It’s different for each Type, & depends on the basic flavor of True Nature which each Number is most sensitive to, based on one’s Holy Idea. When we’re in touch with it, we feel an all-encompassing sense of aliveness, connection & well-being.
Ego: Not the Healthy Self from Psychology, but rather our False Self, the
‘personality’ with all its illusions, defenses & hidden features, which is only a reflection or imitation of our individual True Reality.
— It’s not accurate to think in B & W terms: ‘negative’ ego/ personality being an extreme opposite of ‘positive’ Essence, because humans are on an ego/Essence continuum all the time. Being aware of, understanding & working with both aspects are needed for our growth.
A.F. Almaas reminds us in his book Diamond Heart Book Four: Indestructible Innocence: “The personality is not something that needs to die or be thrown away…. but rather to be developed over time, to be refined & integrated with the sense of Being-ness” (p. 69).
NEXT: Enneagram – Type STRENGTHS (Part 2)