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How The Enneagram Can Support the Caregiver Journey

October 20, 2020

​Guest Author: Natasha Smith

The Enneagram is a personality tool that goes much deeper than any other personality tool out there. It not only shows us what we do, but also why we do it. This is why we are able to see such a transformation by using it as a tool for personal growth on your Caregiver journey.

How the Enneagram helps support us:

Awareness
The Enneagram opens our minds and hearts to what’s really going on inside of us. The unconscious behaviors and patterns help us to understand our triggers and automatic responses. Knowing ourselves on a deeper level is the key to change and growth.
The Enneagram can help us recognize the areas where we get stuck in old patterns that are no longer serving us. Sometimes we feel like there’s more, but we just can’t seem to get to the place of more. That’s a sign that we either have a limiting belief that needs to be dealt with or that we need to deep dive inside ourselves and see what things are triggering us. Then we can deal with those things and move forward!

Identifying
Identifying who we are underneath all of our unconscious behaviors and patterns. The Enneagram helps us figure out our strengths and growth points in ourselves, so we can develop the parts that need development. This will help us not only in our personal lives and relationships but also in business. The Enneagram can help you be a better mom, wife, caregiver, communicator, boss, employee, and entrepreneur.

Compassion
Compassion is defined as, “[the] sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Compassion is loving others. I believe that the Enneagram encourages us to be compassionate with ourselves as well as with others. It helps to reduce the amount of judgment and criticism we give ourselves and others. It provides insight into others’ inside worlds, letting us understand how they see and perceive the things around them. In my opinion, this gives me a better understanding of others’ viewpoints, therefore giving me the ability to have more compassion for them.

Why you need to know your type:

Type One: To let go of the need to perfect everything, including yourself.
Type Two: To realize that you need to be put as a priority as well. You matter.
Type Three: To see and recognize when you’ve done enough and it’s okay to rest.
Type Four: To understand that you are beautifully and wonderfully made, one of a kind.
Type Five: To relax a little bit, open up to the possibility that you have all the energy and resources you need inside of you.
Type Six: To realize that you don’t have to protect and warn everyone. That you are courageous, even without knowing all of the things that could go wrong.
Type Seven: There is a peace that comes when you slow down and tune into your inner world.
Type Eight: That you are strong when you are vulnerable.
Type Nine: That your voice, presence, and opinions matter greatly!

Each type has specific strengths and areas of growth. I’m going to quickly cover them here as they relate to you as a Caregiver.

Type One:
Strengths: Trusts their instincts, wants what’s right and moral, will stand up for them, strives for excellence, and is detail-oriented.
Areas of Growth: Can focus on what’s going wrong, can become self-critical and also critical of others, rigid in their stance.

Type Two:
Strengths: Supportive, empathic, natural caregiver, relationship-focused, puts others first
Areas of growth: Take on too much for the sake of others, worry about speaking up because they don’t want to hurt any relationships, and forget about their own needs.

Type Three:
Strengths: Get it done attitude, reliable, able to multitask effectively
Areas of growth: Pushes feelings down and has difficulty opening up about what they’re feeling, can view caregiving as a project

Type Four:
Strengths: Wants to stay connected, very empathetic, and able to sit with others in tough situations, compassionate.
Area of growth: Emotions overtaking causing you to withdraw from life.

Type Five:
Strengths: Analytical mind, calm, balanced, rational
Areas of Growth: Can withdraw from personal interactions, compartmentalizes, overanalyzing

Type Six:
Strengths: loyalty, responsible, logical, protects others, clear-thinking, and problem solver.
Areas of Growth: Fearful, thinking through all the different possibilities, can be defensive, and can procrastinate

Type Seven:
Strengths: Optimistic and upbeat, entertaining, brings joy and energy to the room
Areas of growth: Avoids difficult personal interactions and painful emotions. Can live too much from rose-colored glasses and not be in reality.

Type Eight:
Strengths: Empower others, protective, takes-charge
Areas of growth: Comes off a little too strong to others, blames others for shortcomings, can become very angry

Type Nine:
Strengths: Wants everyone to get along, peacemaker, supportive, a good listener
Areas of growth: Can become stubborn, forget about themselves and what they want and need in life, difficulty making hard decisions

The Enneagram is a great tool to help you understand others and yourself. Here are a few great resources to get you started.

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