who were you before you learned to protect yourself?

Enneagram wisdom teaches that our personalities developed early on in our lives as a way for us to cope with hard things. No matter how ideal childhood may have been, we all enter a messy, imperfect world where we hurt and are hurt by others. Our personalities were good and helpful gifts that helped us protect ourselves.

As we mature, we begin to find that some aspects of our personalities are no longer serving us well. We can have gratitude for how personality helped us in the past while recognizing the benefit of allowing parts of it to fall away. 

Spiritual practices that increase our awareness of the presence of God (“infusing the secular with the sacred,” as Reverend Joseph Stabile says) teach us the art of surrender. We begin to allow the work of the Holy to pull away the layers of false self so that more of our true self can be revealed.

Our work is to surrender. The rest is up to our Creator. 

Who would you be now if you could allow these coping skills to fall away? Think back to times of innocence in early childhood. 

Who were you before you learned to protect yourself by:

Enneagram 1s – avoiding mistakes

Enneagram 2s – avoiding your own needs/neediness

Enneagram 3s – avoiding failure 

Enneagram 4s – avoiding the ordinary 

Enneagram 5s – avoiding dependence on others

Enneagram 6s – avoiding uncertainty 

Enneagram 7s – avoiding limitations/commitments 

Enneagram 8s – avoiding vulnerability 

Enneagram 9s – avoiding conflict 

Try practicing in the context of safe relationships and see what—or whom—you discover, hiding beneath the layers of personality that were developed to keep you safe but may no longer be serving you.

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