Four ways of being insufferable, or four ways of being brilliant? Only you decide…

Photo by Andrew Nicholson. Everything we do creates ripples around us...

In this article I’m writing about facebook posts, and how the Enneatypes can often come through so clearly in social media updates.

I love the differences between people in the human race. I’ve made it my life’s work to study them, appreciate them, teach them and see the magic in people. Those of you who follow our work will know that we are very passionate about the unique way in which we teach the Enneagram, because of the immense awareness it brings to an individual’s perception, not only of themselves, but of all those they have relationships with – intimate, family, friends, work colleagues. The awareness of the 9 different motivations held by the human brain allows an individual to perceive without judgement, replacing it instead with understanding and awareness. The Enneagram is not just about surface level behavioural traits, it is about a whole way of being, an energy, an entire way of experiencing and perceiving self, life and others.

It’s a fascinating concept, because we’re not taught any of this at school, or indeed throughout most of our lives. Yet we seem to spend a great deal of time feeling offended or upset when we’re perceived negatively. We also spend a great deal of time fearful of taking action in the direction of our dreams, for fear of how others may view us.

One article created mayhem…

Last year I saw an article which went viral outlining the main ways individuals can be ‘insufferable on facebook’ (their words, not mine). The post was written anonymously, and I can understand why, because the writer would have lost most of their facebook friends had they declared their identity. It was liked and shared by close to a million readers, but what was interesting was the many thousands of comments the post received in response, which I’ll mention later in this article.

You see, without mentioning the word Enneatype, or indeed any knowledge of it, the writer had outlined the main ways in which individuals write their updates, labeling them as insufferable. Now although their facts were absolutely correct, in that some were narcissistic, some were boastful, others were attention seeking, image crafting etc, these are in fact the natural traits of some of the Enneatypes, and simply the way their behaviour unfolds through their motivating drive. For most individuals, this is a subconscious way of being, running on autopilot. However, Enneatypes will often notice others Enneatype patterns as being different to theirs, but without seeing their own, and will tend to find them somewhat annoying, thus without understanding them we tend to judge instead.

In other words, we tend to experience the world by looking outwards at it, without going within and noticing how we are actually observing it through ourselves.

Let me explain a few of the Enneatypes so you have a clearer picture, along with just a few of the traits that were labeled as insufferable. It’s important to understand too that Enneatype behaviour goes far deeper than I am able to go into in this article, and that all I’m discussing here is how they generally tend to post on social media.

Success driven type…

One of the Enneatypes is driven by success and achievement, and they are some of the greatest sales and marketing people in the world. This is in fact their innate gift and natural talent, and in order to be successful, they have to get on with people. As a direct result, their posts are generally very sweet and loving, sometimes very gushy in their love and expression, and they will never post anything that others will find offensive. Their desire is to be loved by their audience, which in their model of the world, makes them successful. Their profile photos are always very ‘clean’ and shiny, containing a well dressed photo of them with a very big smile. They will often state how much they love their audience, and wish them a beautiful day. They will never post anything that will ‘prick’ their audiences’ egos. To do so would simply never do, as it would not be in their interest to upset anyone, or to be seen as anything other than the seemingly egoless people they portray. They will talk about their successes, and expect acknowledgement for them. This contains within it a desire to be loved and admired in return. These kind of posts were described as narcissistic and image crafting by the writer of the article. However, if you want to learn about success in business, these are the best people to learn it from.

Justice driven type…

Another of the Enneatypes is driven by justice, and will post, often quite defiantly, about their beliefs, and what they consider to be right and wrong. Generally their posts will be about diet, politics, anti-bullying or similar, but ultimately, if it’s wrong, they will want to talk about it and put it right. They generally provide useful tips and advice on what they consider to be the right way to live. Their lives will be prim and proper, and they have a slightly ‘taught’ energy about them, resulting from their constant striving to be right, to do things the right way. From my own personal perspective, the individual who wrote the anonymous article, clearly pointing out the wrongdoings of many, was most probably this Enneatype. These individuals have been known to become some of the world’s greatest reformers, as they have the passion to stand up and take action on what they clearly see as wrong. In fact, to these Enneatypes, not speaking their mind is wrong and inauthentic. However, others often perceive this as criticism, as did many of the readers of the article. Funnily enough, these kinds of posts weren’t faulted by the writer. If you want to learn about new ways of doing things, these are the best people to learn it from.

Now, can you imagine how the success driven individual felt reading about their narcissistic nature in the original article, when the justice driven one wrote about them in a way which had the potential to make them become not liked?

Relationship driven type…

One of the Enneatypes is driven by relationships. Depending on which types of relationships they focus on, they will talk a great deal about their partner, their children, their family, their pets, or all. For them, success means success in their close relationships. Their posts will contain many updates on their partner, their children, and their friends. Yet many times it’s been written that relationships should never be discussed publicly (why is that I wonder?). It was stated in the article that saying things like you have just received a beautiful bunch of flowers from your partner, or that you have an amazing partner, or indeed anything which is complimentary to your relationship, is boastful. Yet these people are simply in love with love and want to share it openly. If you want to learn about great relationships, these are the best people to learn it from.

Pain driven type…

One of the Enneatypes is driven by their pain and is on a constant quest for inner-truth and to have others actually acknowledge their pain. Their posts, depending on how they feel on any given day, will have an energy of ‘why me?’ about them, drawing others in to acknowledge their immense suffering which never seems to end. This was described as ‘attention seeking’ in the anonymous article. Their profile photos will often clearly demonstrate their pain, showing them in a dreamy far off state, with sad eyes which almost plead for you to feel their suffering. Many profile photos are black and white, almost as if they have removed the colour from their own lives, and want to show only the darkened side of themselves as a way of sharing their pain. They are also some of the most creative people in the world, and when they learn to harness their pain into creativity, they are able to create music, poetry, writing and art which touches the soul. Their pain and emotion can be clearly felt in their work. This is their innate gift to the world. But when we sit in judgement of them, we send them further into their pain, bringing their creative energies to a standstill, and instead bringing forth even more ‘why me?’ as their experience of life becomes a constant battle to defend and protect themselves. If you want to learn about expression and creative art, these are the best people to learn it from.

Some give, some take… and that’s exactly how it’s meant to be.

With the Enneatypes, you can see that, energetically, some give and some take. When you look into the eyes of the relationship driven Enneatype, you will feel a sense of being given to. They want to give in order to establish a relationship with you. With the success driven individual, there is almost a pleading for you to love them back as much as they love you. They need acknowledgement and are masters at attaining it. With the justice driven individual, they don’t really mind who likes them, so long as no one attempts to make them wrong, because then they will vehemently defend their corner. Being wrong is their worst nightmare, just as being un-liked is to the success driven individual, or being dumped is to the relationship driven Enneatype. With the individual driven by their pain, you will feel a sense of being taken from, as they draw you in to acknowledge their pain, and also attempt to make you responsible for it.

Thing is, when something is your main drive in life, then your natural way of communicating is to share it and write about it. Not doing so would mean that your social media becomes nothing more than a lie to fit in with what’s considered ‘socially acceptable’. If we do not share our truth for fear of how it may be seen, then what’s the point of partaking in it at all? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a newsfeed full of other people’s lies. I much prefer people share who they really are, never mind if it’s considered insufferable to some. These beautiful differences are what make the world go around. We all learn from one another. The entire concept of non-acceptance stems from one element – two different Enneatypes, or egos, clashing, but remember that we can only ever experience others through our own Enneatype, which results directly in the way we judge them.

The success driven individual will simply not understand why others share their pain on facebook, or why others are not as driven as them to be successful in their careers. The relationship driven individual will not understand why the success driven one places so much importance on their business success, when there is so much love to be enjoyed at home… and so it goes on. The justice driven one will pick out the faults in both of them. The pain driven individual will simply be in their own emotional space wondering why the world has become such a cruel place…

I’ve covered snippets of only 4 of the 9 Enneatypes in this article, and have just touched on the surface of what it means to understand the real Enneagram. The other 5 Enneatypes also have their own unique way of expressing themselves, which others may find annoying, however, they too also each have something wonderful to teach us.

Can you see how it would simply be impossible to agree to an acceptable uniform way of posting, communicating, or speaking our voice as humankind? When we sit in judgement of how others post, the only thing we define is that we don’t know or understand these elements of human nature, and that we are a judgmental human being. Different Enneatypes simply don’t think about how it would feel to be one of the other types, because we don’t walk in their shoes. The brain function of the 9 types are all very different. Our journey is to become a more tolerant human race with this knowledge and awareness.

Social media is just not the same as being face to face with someone…

Unfortunately though, social media seems to have given us permission to become more critical and judgmental of others instead, which in turn tends to make people feel worse about themselves, thereby becoming more defensive as a result. I went to a lecture about social media a little while back, which explained that people feel safe from behind their screen, the same way they do when they’re in their car. This is why we find it easier to exhibit road-rage from the safety of our little iron box on wheels, far more so than we ever would if we were standing face to face with that individual. These supposedly safe outlets for our aggression is what facebook and social media in many cases seems to be bringing out in society, according to a professor on the subject who teaches at a very prominent University.

Why do we willingly hand over so much power to just one person’s opinion?

Now I’ve mentioned the article about the ways we post, but what was even more interesting were the comments that were made in response to it. There were thousands. The Enneatypes were showing up there clearly too. Those who had the same perspective as the writer responded with the same perspective, clearly finding the same faults with the way others post and labeling them as wrong. Other types were responding with their pain, threatening never to use facebook again. But ultimately, those who responded did so because their Enneatype patterns had been caught out, and it hurt, so they defended themselves from their protective motivating drive. This is called ‘Truthache’.

But what was even more interesting than all of that, was to witness in awe the power that one individual’s voice held to rile up and hurt so many people with just one point of view – their own. It is almost incredible to see just how much of our power we give away on a daily basis, crashing and burning because of the thoughts and opinions of others, who actually play no part in our lives whatsoever. What goes on inside another individual’s mind is not something you can control, nor will it ever be.

So in essence, the whole thing, from beginning to end, was one big egoic illusion…

Only I can grant myself permission to BE myself…

When I read the article, I could clearly see my own Enneatype being written about too. I am the relationship driven type, and those of you who know me will probably have guessed that. But I didn’t feel offended by the article. Why? Because I understand who I am, I love human relationships and have learned a great deal from mine. I also teach relationships, so of course I’m going to talk about them, share them, write about them, just as I’m doing here. To expect me to stop would be asking me to give up my purpose in life and curl up in a little ball to stagnate. It’s simply never going to happen. The great thing was that I could also see the writer’s Enneatype, so could read the article from his/her perspective, with an understanding that this is how he/she perceives the world. It’s not only OK, it’s perfectly normal. There was nothing to get upset about. But then I am lucky to have this awareness, because it allows me to see the truth for what it is. This understanding changes dramatically how I am able to filter and respond to others. Without this knowledge, I might have been upset, and perhaps even stopped talking about relationships. Instead, I allow my purpose to flow without minding whether others judge me for it. Of course they will, that goes without saying. Only one of the 9 Enneatypes’ main motivating drives is relationships after all.

I know one thing for sure, and that is that we experience the other Enneatypes through our own type and model of the world, and this happens on subconscious autopilot. If another’s motivations are not the same as ours, we often perceive their way as defective, rather than seeing the truth for what it is.

That simple truth is that this understanding frees us from the need to feel offended or judge others behaviour as insufferable. This also frees those at the mercy of our perception of them to be themselves, which means that instead of spending their lives in defense mode, they operate more from the energy of their innate gift.

Collective negative judgement simply gives us more of what we’re complaining about…

You see, our collective judgement of others keeps the human race from connecting to its own potential, and then we complain about the resulting negative behaviour of society in an attempt not to take responsibility for actually playing a part in it. The media has a great deal to answer for, because with shows like Jeremy Kyle, and the press constantly slating celebrities, we’re taught from an early age that to be judgmental of others is the normal way to be.

I know one thing for sure. If I spent my life judging my husband, criticising him and putting him down, he would spend his life having to defend himself around me, and ultimately he would walk away, and probably very angrily. He’d have every right to. My treatment of him would most certainly not bring out the best of his nature. This is simple logic. Yet so many people don’t apply this to how they treat others. Instead we rarely take responsibility for how much we judge them, or for the direct effect it has on their behaviour.

Marianne Williamson coined it beautifully…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I would draw your attention to the following line from the quote: “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same”. When we shine, we stop judging others, and they feel liberated by it. They step into the best of themselves around us. This is unquestionably true, and so is the reverse. When we judge others, we send them tumbling into guilt and shame, which brings out only their negative Enneatype traits, which in turn creates even more things for us to complain about.

It’s time to wake up…

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