For a few years I’ve been choosing one word or mantra for the year instead of making New Years Resolutions. This past January the word I chose was enough. I wanted to begin to truly believe in my own worth. That I don’t have to please everyone or act a certain way or do certain things to be a person of value. That even though I have flaws and screw up and am imperfect, as a human being I am enough, and I am worthy of love.
I’ve been trying to learn about the Enneagram, which is a personality typing system based on 9 different types of personalities. I’ve taken a short online quiz a couple of times, but I’m still figuring out exactly which Enneagram number I am. I think I’m probably Type 2 (“The Helper”) or Type 3 (“The Achiever”). Either way, the basic fear of both types is the fear of being unloved or unworthy, and the basic desire of both types is to feel loved and valuable. That describes me.
Also, types 2, 3, and 4 make up what is called “The Feeling Center” (others are “The Instinctive Center” and “The Thinking Center”). I think the feeling center describes me as well. I spend a lot of time thinking about feelings – my own and others’. I like to notice people’s strengths and think about how people get along. I also tend to be people pleasing in order to not hurt others’ feelings.
Each center sort of has an underlying emotion that drives them, and Shame is the feeling beneath types 2, 3, and 4. Though I don’t think I go around feeling shameful about things I do, this description of Type 2 does describe me: “Twos attempt to control their shame by getting other people to like them and to think of them as good people. They also want to convince themselves that they are good, loving people by focusing on their positive feelings for others while repressing their negative feelings (such as anger and resentment at not being appreciated enough).”
This description of Type 3 sounds a bit like me, too: “Threes learn to cope with shame by trying to become what they believe a valuable, successful person is like. Thus, Threes learn to perform well, to be acceptable, even outstanding and are often driven relentlessly in their pursuit of success as a way of staving off feelings of shame and fears of failure.”
(Source of quotes: www.enneagraminstitute.com)
At any rate, my point here is that feeling like I’m not enough may just be an inherent part of my personality. I am starting to think that I don’t need to focus on feeling enough on my own, but I need to pay attention to ways that my family, friends, and colleagues affirm me. That affirmation can help Twos feel valued. Just today a respected colleague told me she thought my presentation went well this morning. That is feedback that is affirming and positive that I can come back to when I get to feeling unworthy again.
I guess I’ve been thinking that I need to get rid of this part of my personality that sometimes doesn’t feel worthy. Like it’s something wrong and I need to fix myself. I think part of me also has been blaming this on religious baggage or my upbringing as a PK/MK. Perhaps those things have contributed a bit, but based on the Enneagram, this is just a normal part of who I am, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
There is a great sense of peace that comes with realizing that you don’t have to change who you are.
That’s why I want to change my One Word for 2015 to Peace. I guess that sort of sounds hippie, but I honestly want to seek opportunities to develop inner peace and a peaceful approach to my busy life. My experience at Collegeville really convinced me that as a human I need peaceful moments in order to create, in order to connect with others, and in order to handle the tasks of home and work. I need that quiet spiritual connection to my inner self in order to be more content with my outer self.
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My poetry chapbook, Evening Body, is now available for pre-order through Finishing Line Press. I am running a giveaway drawing for anyone who pre-orders the book! The drawing has been extended to August 20. Thank you for your support!