Personality, relationships, and growth

Now I know in 2022 the Enneagram is old news. But when I discovered it in 2016 it was still relatively unknown to Christianity. While browsing blog sites about theology I found a reference to it and it piqued my curiosity. So I looked into it. My two favorite websites that cover it are Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation website and the Enneagram Institute website. I eventually read Rohr’s book on the Enneagram and enjoyed it immensely.

I discovered that I’m a 4 wing 5. I am an individualist, an artist. I connect with emotion, then translate it into my thinking mind, and then finally I utilize these into action. The chief negative emotion I struggle with is shame. I want to be unique and understood. The five part of my personality enjoys diving in deep into the intellect. I am very curious and want to understand things. I have difficulty sometimes in wanting all my questions to be answered or believing that I need to totally understand something before acting or speaking about something.

These traits have influenced my spiritual journey. I see now how my journey growing up has prepared me for now. Being bullied, not being accepted or being apart of a group led me to finding validation from wise teachers and God. Its not been the easiest thing in the world forging my own path, daring to consider and accept fundamental beliefs that do not align with my religious upbringing. But it has been fulfilling and life giving to trust my inner guidance, trust that God was guiding me towards the truth.

But I still have attachments towards those I love: My family and my church family that I grew up with. The hardest part has been difficult conversations with my parents. It has taken time to heal. I have had to let go of the desire and expectation that they would go on this spiritual journey with me and that we would see eye to eye. I’ve had to give up the expectation that we could have pleasant, productive conversations. I’ve had to give up expectations of their approval or even acknowledgment of my efforts to be vulnerable and find the truth.

Although the conversations have been difficult, I am encouraged. Instead of questioning, feeling guilt and shame for days after our conversations, sort of an emotional and mental hangover, I have seen pros and cons of their position. I have been more lighthearted and not tied to their angst. I have been ok in myself and not felt so defensive. I have not responded back to them with anger or rushed to explain myself.

I am encouraged, but also sobered. I still have attachment to let go of. I have been so focused on my well-being and healing that I have not considered there point of view more. I have utilized humor and even some disdain for their views that they have seen. If I was truly healed I would love and respect myself without needing to show/utilize these other things on the outside.

My goal now is to at peace and love inside so that I may have empathy and sensitivity for my parents and their point of view. I want to convey love towards them and for them to see positivity rather than negativity from me. Relationships are messy, far messier than I would like. I’m learning to have grace for that, for myself, and for others.

What is your close relationships like? What have you learned? How do you handle disagreements with those you love?

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