Enneagram is a personality typing that dives deep into one’s core motivations, fears, passions (tendencies that get you farther away from your authenticity), etc. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts about enneagrams (my favorites are Typology, Your Enneagram Coach, and The Enneagram Journey), but the other day, I decided to watch a YouTube video by a personality typing coach who I haven’t heard of before… and half way into it, I regretted my decision.
She started out with some great information (which I had already learned from my personal enneagram studies), but then she started to make harsh comments about a certain enneagram type. Her tone was very condescending and downright mean. She even went on to say that she knows she’s harder on Type 4s because of some character things that she sees in herself that are Type 4 characters and that it makes her mad and frustrated. I kept on watching, hoping that she would turn it around… but it just kept getting more and more offensive to me, so I stopped watching it. I was so upset that I could feel a knot forming at the center of my chest. I had to stop everything I was doing and become still to do some inner work:
1. BREATHING PATTERNS DON’T LIE
I closed my eyes and focused on becoming present: I allowed myself to become aware of the ground underneath my feet that supports my entire body up to stand. I then moved on to the awareness of my breath. I felt the cool air going in to my nostrils and then going out of my nostrils. I created an evenness in my breathing (inhales become the same length as the exhales), and then focused on the rise and fall of my belly while I consciously stopped my shoulders and chest rising each time I inhaled. (When we’re under any type of stress, our sympathetic nervous system gets activated and increases the cortisol level; these factors cause our bodies to become tense and start taking shallow breaths in the chest and not the diaphragm.) Next, I placed my hands over my heart to send it energy of healing. (The power of visualization is quite amazing.) Lastly, I breathed in God’s Words in Philippians 4:6, as I chanted silently: (Inhale) “Peace that surpasses all understanding…” (Exhale) “Guide my mind and heart in Christ Jesus, our Lord…” After several minutes of this practice, I felt balanced, at peace and empathetic.
2. DO THE INNER WORK FOR OUTER RESULTS
Once I was back to homeostasis, I was able to begin the the practice of svadhyahya (“self study”). I realized that the reason why I reacted so intensely to a comment made by a complete stranger was because I felt threatened and attacked for the negative tendencies of my enneagram type. I allowed her biases to cause within me a growing desire to defend myself and retaliate against what I saw to be an expression of her own perceived superiority. I also realized that because I hold myself to a standard of inclusivity as a Yoga Teacher and Meditation Coach, I expect others in the field of therapy and wellness to live by the same standard. In a perfect world, all Yoga Teachers, Meditation Coaches, Life Coaches, Typology Coaches, Counselors, etc. would leave their biases out of their professional platforms; but I know that we’re all in this process of growing and getting closer to our authentic selves.
The more I thought about the challenges and hurdles she might have had to overcome in her life, the more compassionate I felt towards her. With a peaceful heart, I was able to pray for her journey to bring her closer to who God has created her to be and for her to be blessed in her life.
Next time you’re in a situation where you feel offended or angry, I encourage you to go against your desire to fix them; Instead, choose to fix yourself so that you can enjoy the rest of your day. 🙏