Do you even Enneagram? Episode 7
Hi friends! We're back to the Enneagram today, talking about the Life of the Enneagram Party - Type 7, the Enthusiast!
If you're reading this post and you're not sure what the Enneagram is, read through these posts first. It's fine. We'll wait...
Episode 1 - What even IS the Enneagram?
Episode 2 - The Nine.
Episode 3 - Wings and Arrows.
Episode 4 - Type 9 - the Peacemaker.
Episode 5 - Type 8 - the Challenger.
Episode 6 - Type 1 - the Perfectionist.
Okay, we are now moving out of the Anger Triad and into the Fear Triad (sometimes also referred to as the Thinking Triad). Remember that for Types 1, 8 and 9, Anger is the primary emotion driving their behavior and interactions with the world. Each type experiences that emotion in a different manner - Type 1 will internalize it, Type 8 will express it, and Type 9 will "fall asleep" to it. In the Fear Triad, 7s fall asleep to their fear, meaning they feel fear on a very deep level, but subconsciously believe it will be too powerful or overwhelm them, so they forget it, opting instead to feed an insatiable appetite for fun, enjoyment and thrilling experiences. Think Pollyanna on steroids. Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire. Or Aladdin. Or the last 45 minutes of Hook. Or pretty much any Robin Williams movie. Except Good Will Hunting. He was super chill in that movie.
Type 7 on the Enneagram is one of the most energetic of the 9 types. They have a thirst for adventure, fun, and new experiences. They savor the anticipation of the experience almost as much as - if not more than - the experience itself. When in an unhealthy state, this thirst for experiences and adventure can lead to poor choices (7s are slightly more prone to addictive behaviors than the other types). Motivated by their need to avoid pain or unpleasant feelings, 7s can become almost compulsive in their need to leapfrog from one activity to the next, or from one extravagant purchase to another - always seeking to fill a void or ward off painful thoughts or memories.
7s are a joy to be around, and their enthusiasm and vigor can be contagious. They are experts at reframing anything negative and somehow turning it into a positive, and are often the ones to lighten a tense moment with a joke or silly behavior. Of course, this makes them attractive in a relationship but can also make them challenging and frustrating. Imagine trying to have a serious talk about your feelings with someone who will barely sit still long enough to finish their Cheerios before they are off base-jumping or learning Tai Chi. Because 7s so deeply fear any kind of negative feelings, they will often remain in denial about relationship issues rather than deal with them.
The Fear Triad is also called the Thinking Triad for a reason. 7s are often bright, intuitive and visionary with strong analytical skills. In work settings, 7s can be creative, inventive and impassioned about a project...for a while. Once that project is up and running, it's best to find someone else to keep it going because your 7 is already moving on to the next new idea.
For 7s who are interested in personal growth and development, here are a few practices to incorporate into your daily routine:
1. Stop. Take a deep breath. Look around you. If you are in the middle of some event you've been anticipating, be intentional about being present in that moment. Listen to the sounds. Mentally catalog the sights. Breathe in the smells. Allow yourself to savor the moment and resist the urge to start planning your next adventure when you're still in the middle of the current one.
2. Meditate. Give yourself the gifts of solitude and silence to help build your mental endurance and stability and ward off the tendency of your thoughts jumping from one idea to the next.
3. Exercise every day. It will help dissipate some of that nervous energy.
4. Journal. I know, it sounds boring. But life isn't pain free for any of us, and those hard memories and hurt feelings are just going to fester down there in that deep well. Let some of those memories come to mind during your journal or meditation time. If you've been hurt, choose to forgive. If you've hurt someone else, make amends and forgive yourself. Let yourself feel - and if you need to, find someone you trust that you can talk through those feelings with. No man is an island - even though it might be fun.