Similar to other personality tests like the Myers Briggs, the Enneagram can inform us on details about our inner selves, grouping individuals according to their underlying needs and desires. Because the Enneagram is good at diagnosing our inner motivations, fears and blind spots, it can make a great tool for learning more about how to better care for ourselves. The longer I’ve been learning about the Enneagram, the more empathy and compassion I’ve gained, not just for others but also for my own strengths and limitations as well.
Everyone is different, and each person has different ways of coping with the demands of daily life. Because of this, we all have different paths to peace and different obstacles lying in the way. The Enneagram can help us better understand what these paths and obstacles look like for each of us as we work to provide ourselves with the version of care that suits us the best. Here are a few suggestions for what your self care might look like according to your Enneagram type.
Type 1: The Reformer
As a One, you can often find yourself tempted to prioritize checking experiences off of your list rather than being fully present in them, and can feel a deep need to do things perfectly. Spend time on a hobby or creative pursuit that doesn’t have an objective to it, like an art form you enjoy or a low-pressure craft. This will allow your mind to find a little peace while still leaning into your productive nature.
Type 2: The Helper
As a Two, you’re naturally driven to minimize your own needs and value to look after others. As uncomfortable as it might sound, try asking one loved one to tell you the things they love about you and take the time to appreciate that you are worth more to the people around you than simply what you’re able to provide.
Type 3: The Achiever
Threes are talented at sticking to their strengths and knowledge bases because they often enjoy being the most competent person in the room. Give yourself permission to get out of your comfort zone and pick up an interest or activity that you’ve always been curious about but that you might not be perfect at. Allowing yourself to act on your own desires instead of reacting to others’ input is a valuable reminder of your self worth.
Type 4: The Individualist
As a Four, you might find yourself letting everyday tasks and responsibilities slip through your fingers, either because you feel overwhelmed at all there is to do or because you find it hard to see the point to menial tasks. Today, do one thing you’ve been putting off to show yourself it’s almost never as bad or difficult as you’ve built it up to be.
Type 5: The Investigator
Because Fives value their independence so much, they exert a lot of effort to make sure they have “enough:” enough energy, alone time, rest, and resources. Take a little time to do something that challenges this mentality of scarcity: spend extra time on the phone with a friend or opt into a group chat even if you’re on the fence about it. It can be nice to push back against the anxiety that convinces you you’re in danger of running out of your stockpile.
Type 6: The Loyalist
A common Six mindset is “everything will be fine as long as I stay vigilant.” Sixes might be more talented at foreseeing and avoiding setbacks because of this, but it can be so exhausting to move through life thinking that the safety of your world rests on every choice you make. Set aside some time to turn your phone off- yes, off– and read a book, take a bath, or do anything else to show yourself that everything will be okay even if you’re not on the lookout.
Type 7: The Enthusiast
A Seven’s strength is their inspiring love of freedom and capacity for joy. But this desire for freedom means they’re naturally avoidant of pain and negativity. One of a Seven’s biggest weaknesses is a tendency to chase distraction rather than face difficult realities. It might sound uncomfortable, but dedicate some quiet time for yourself to journal, meditate, or just reflect without distractions and see what good comes from making an effort to meet yourself on a deeper level.
Type 8: The Challenger
As an Eight, you present a strong front to the world and prioritize being decisive and confident while standing up for those with less power than you. This can mean that you have an aversion to ever appearing weak or vulnerable, making it hard for you to express the ways the world affects you. Take some time, whether it’s to yourself via journaling or with a trusted friend, and be honest about hurts you’ve experienced and any exhaustion or burnout you’re facing.
Type 9: The Peacemaker
Nines are one of the most empathic types, able to relate to almost anyone and provide them with a safe space. Nines are some of the best listeners, and truest friends, in the world, but it can come at a cost. As a Nine you might have a hard time setting boundaries or expressing your own needs and instead might suppress them to avoid conflict with others. Rather than continually shrinking to provide for others, take time to set some definitive boundaries for yourself, whether it’s declining a phone call when you feel tired or saying no to an obligation.