by Veronica Croft
At this time of the year most of us are busy buying gifts for the people in our lives. I’m currently racking my brains about what I can buy for a One (how will I know if it’s the ‘perfect’ choice?), a technically-minded Five (I might think it’s pretty high-tec but will he?) and a hands-on Six who loves fixing things (he’s already got every do-it-yourself tool under the sun so what on earth can I get him?)
In order to choose the ideal gift you consider all sorts of things – from their likes and dislikes to how much you’re prepared to spend. And having carefully wrapped it, you hold your breath as you give it to them, hoping this time you’ve got it right!
Giving gifts can be a great delight and we rarely consider or value the greatest gift we have to offer – the gifts of our personality type.
Each of us came into life already possessing wonderful gifts - the inherent gifts of our type. These personal qualities or talents – or whatever you might call them - are qualities we naturally possess that we don’t have to learn. We don’t need to go on a course to acquire them or nor do we need to practice them in order to improve them. They are just ‘who we are’. And because they come so naturally to us we rarely value these amazing personal qualities. Many of us aren’t even sure what they are!
In British culture, most of us were brought up not to say positive things about ourselves. In fact, it is considered normal to put ourselves down or to deflect a compliment given to us. Those that do ‘blow their own trumpet’ are usually considered arrogant or bragging. (It is worth noting, however, that the need to brag always stems from feelings of low self-worth.)
Suppose you were asked to write a list of your best qualities - what is amazing about you and what others value about you - and then you were asked to write a list of what’s not so great about you, the less-than-good stuff.
Why not do that right now? Get a piece of paper and write 2 headings:
What’s great about me. What’s not so great about me.
Now write as many as you can in one minute.
Done it? So which of these 2 lists did you find easiest to write?
Unless you have done a great deal of personal growth you probably found the second list easier than the first. Perhaps, like many people, you struggled to think of more than one or two positive qualities about yourself but could easily write a fairly long list of the negative.
How the Enneagram helps
The Enneagram can teach us about our wonderful inherent gifts in such a way that we not only value them but also feel good about the way in which they impinge positively upon others. These gifts, (which are particular, although not exclusive, to our number) are the way we intended our light to shine on the world in this life. The Enneagram enables us to understand that THIS is who we really are and that the ‘less-than-positive’ stuff is just that – ‘stuff’. (I’m sure you know what your ‘stuff’ is – it’s what's triggered within you when you are in a not very good place or when something presses your buttons and you react negatively.)
Sadly, much has been written and taught about the Enneagram that stresses the less-than-positive aspects of the nine types – with the result that there are many people who know their type but still see themselves in a negative light.
However, the Enneagram should be written or taught from the positive perspective, not the negative. This way we can all embrace and value what is amazing about our number whilst we work on letting go of our negative stuff. (This is exactly what we do in our courses.)
Here are just a few of the positive qualities of each type (there are many, many more). Find yours, try to add to the list and value who you really are!
Ones are diligent, honest, fair and discerning
Twos are warm, nurturing, appreciative and attentive
Threes are focused, charming, motivational and pragmatic
Fours are empathic, expressive, imaginative and individualistic
Fives are objective, insightful, self-sufficient and cool-headed
Sixes are committed, loyal, warm-hearted and vigilant
Sevens are gregarious, uplifting, generous and spontaneous
Eights are enterprising, protective, big-hearted and dynamic
Nines are patient, level-headed, unpretentious and egalitarian
By honouring and valuing your own natural gifts you can speak well of your talents and best qualities to others without any need to show off or brag. You can be yourself with confidence and high self-esteem and rest easy in the knowledge that what you have to offer is of value to all of the other eight types.
Each of the nine types brings a different set of wonderful qualities to the world. All are amazing and all contribute to the rich tapestry of our lives - after all, imagine if all the parcels under your Christmas tree contained the same gift!
Your own brilliant and amazing positive qualities are already valued by others (ask them!) so perhaps you should give yourself a gift and begin to truly value yourself this Christmas.