Our strengths are also our weaknesses and personality types are meant to be used as a tool to better understand others and not an excuse for poor or unhealthy behavior. I hope people read this and gain some understanding and empathy for the types in their life that seem a little more difficult to understand.
Enneagram 1: I wish people understood that behind all the perfectionism and tiny flaws that I can’t seem to overlook, there’s a child that wasn’t ever fully “improved”. I improve things because I have an inner critic telling me that no matter what I do, I won’t be perfect enough.
Enneagram 2: I wish people understood that my need to be needed is subconscious and is rooted in a belief that I won’t be enough for someone to help in return. If I love and offer enough help, maybe someone will realize that I’m the one who needs help the most.
Enneagram 3: I wish people understood that behind the strong work ethic and need to succeed, is a person that longs to feel loved for who I am, and not what I do. If I “do” enough, maybe I’ll figure out who I am and will eventually be enough.
Enneagram 4: I wish people understood…period. I feel the full spectrum of emotions; not just mine, but everyone else’s, and it can get heavy. I want people to see my unique attributes because maybe if they understand me, I’ll be able to understand myself.
Enneagram 5: I wish people understood that I do have feelings. I also have a deep need to protect my energy and time and wish people understood that that is my priority, and it’s not something to take personally. Feelings and emotions can drain my energy and time, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel them or care.
Enneagram 6: I wish people understood that behind my sometimes neurotic behavior, is an innate need to help people, as well as myself, stay out of danger. I want to be fully prepared for a crisis because I’m a loyalist, and the people closest to me mean everything.
Enneagram 7: I wish people understood that I run from the painful feelings and emotions because I’m scared of what will happen if I sit with them for a while. Sitting with my feelings is like voluntarily entering into a lion’s den. I chase the adventures so I can chase the good feelings. Give me the freedom to sit with my painful feelings on my own time.
Enneagram 8: I wish people understood that behind my need to control and be against, is a need to be fought for. I fight for people because one day, I hope someone will fight for me. I’m aggressive and abrasive because I’m terrified someone will see how scared I am of showing my deepest thoughts and feelings, and they’ll use it against me. I control before I can be controlled.
Enneagram 9: I wish people understood that behind my indecision is a soul that’s crippled by too many options. I stay stagnant and lose sight of my priorities because I wonder, if at the end of the day, my opinion matters. I blend into the background because I have a deep-rooted feeling that if I spoke up, it wouldn’t make a difference.
Leah Sweeney, a resident of Houston, Texas, and has a consulting business coaching executives and teams on Myers-Briggs, Enneagram and various other personality assessments. She is passionate about development and helping people reach their potential, while gaining clarity about how to communicate well with others. Her creative outlet is her @enneamood meme account.