"When the Enneagram is not coupled with compassion it can become a weapon."
Read that again.
One more time.
Ok. Listen, this is true not only in how we use the Enneagram with others, but JUST as importantly, how we use it with ourselves.
Compassion must increase along with our understanding of the Enneagram, or it will wound us.
Here are a few simple ways you can practice compassion (and self-compassion) as you move along your Enneagram journey.
1) Let the Enneagram meet you (and others) right where you are at.
There is so much peace in admitting that you aren't ready for the Enneagram to be anything more than a fun tool for classifying yourself.
There is so much space for simply using it to help you do better work with your team.
If you partner doesn't care to learn more than just his/her type (or isn't even interested in that) that's ok.
Just because the Enneagram is a deeply spiritual and healing tool doesn't mean you have to be ready for that work TODAY. In the same way, your friends, family or partner doesn't need to be ready for that work on your time table. Compassion means we are honest with where we are and we let the Enneagram meet us right where we are.
The Enneagram shows us the shape of our wound, and you may have friends or family who aren't ready or willing to go there. Honor that, and remember what a vulnerable and sacred space you are asking to have access to when you want to talk about Enneagram work.
Enneagram types should never be given to someone.
Enneagram work should never be forced on someone.
And even when you or your friends or family are READY to move through this sacred work, it should always be done tenderly and slowly.
2) Growth in your type comes from a greater resting in abundant love, not from trying to dismantle the negative traits (false self) that make you uncomfortable.
"If you go after false self directly, it will only disguise itself further, while you in the mean time get to feel quite virtuous. When we live in such abundance (of love), we do not need to fight or defeat False Self, it naturally fades into the background in the presence of absolute abundance and absolute allowing." - Richard Rohr
Often times we want the bad to stop. We want to know how to not be triggered anymore. How to stop doing the negative habits we've picked up.
Compassion doesn't start there - compassion starts by healing the original wound, and all healing starts with resting in and receiving abundant love. Believing we are worthy of receiving love - just as we are.
When RECEIVING rather than reforming is the focus, it allows us to grow compassionately.
Because truthfully, to remove the foundational behaviors we have built our personality upon WITHOUT first placing LOVE as the new foundation is CRUEL and will never work. Divine love must fill us first before we have the courage and ability to release the ego self and find freedom from the instincts and pattens of behavior we don't want to see.
3) Allow yourself to be your type
The art of allowing is not something I am good at. Allowing means embracing ourselves for who we are at this moment. Allowing means making space for parts of us that make us uncomfortable. Allowing means realizing that parts of us are an inconvenience to others, and that's ok.
We often reject our type at the beginning of our journey, when we first find our type and are confronted with the brutal honestly about who we are. It's tempting to look longingly at the types we WISH we were. Wondering what if would be like to have the boldness of an eight, or the eye for detail of a one, or the warmth of a two, or the understanding of a five.
And yet, compassion gentle whispers in our ear, "You are you. You are supposed to be you. You belong. Allow you to be you."
For some of us, this will be a life-long journey, but allowing ourselves to BE our type is a vital component of compassion.
4) Sit with the parts of your type that make your ego uncomfortable, without needing to "fix" them
Have you ever....just sat with an uncomfortable feeling without trying to fix it?
There was a time when I didn't even know this was an OPTION.
Sit in discomfort? Feel pain and let it be? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? We fix that shit. We make a plan. We grow PAST it and get better because staying there is not an option.
Well....sometimes, we see parts of ourselves that make us uncomfortable (or make others uncomfortable) and it may or may not be the time to "fix" it. Sometimes the goal isn't to heal the best and the fastest. Sometimes, compassion looks like letting our humanity just be.
This point is closely related to the point about allowing, but taking it one step further because it is specifically pointed towards those parts of our ego that make us uncomfortable.
Many of us have received the message that we are loved and accepted CONDITIONALLY. We are loved and accepted when we get our act together. We are loved and accepted if we are at least WORKING ON those parts of us that are "ugly" not appropriate, or "too much".
And so the moment we see the mess (and the Enneagram often shows us just what a mess we are) that VERY MOMENT, we tend to jump into action: "How do I fix this?" "How do I stop doing this?" "How can I hide this?"
What if we just sat with I?. Got to know it? Found out what fears lay beneath the actions? Understood how this "ugly-ness" might have been necessary to help us move through life?
When we sit with these parts of ourselves with compassion, it provides us with the time and space to REALLY understand and move through the mess without judgement.
Because the only way out is through, and only when we are full of self-compassion will we find the courage to move through it all.
Enneagram work MUST be done with compassion if we are going to do it at all. I hope this has given you a starting point to consider where you can become more compassion with yourself and by extension with others.
Although compassion may seem counterintuitive for those of us who have grown up in a paradigm where we attach our flaws to grow and become better, once you embrace this as the STARTING point for lasting personal growth, the FREEDOM it brings is intoxicating.
If you are looking for a compassionate guide to walk with you along your journey of personal growth through the Enneagram, I'd love to explore that with you - click here to learn how you can book a coaching session with me.