Self-help books are a dime a dozen. In the world of the Enneagram, self-improvement begins by moving against the stress arrow of disintegration and into the direction of growth (integration).
By identifying the exact area(s) you should focus on to improve, many—if not all—facets of your life will naturally begin to play out swimmingly. To grow, each Enneatype must navigate their own obstacle course of the psyche in order to rise to their full potential. This is a challenging yet highly rewarding feat.
Let’s begin your journey to self-improvement in the Enneagram!
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Table of contents
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Here’s What You Should Focus On for Self-Improvement, Based on Your Enneagram Type
Practice being present and accepting each individual, including yourself, as they are. The next time you begin to feel irritated at how ‘incorrect’ someone else’s lifestyle or way of thinking is, pause and relax. Forgive. Repeat. Loosen up your judgments. Soften your comments towards others. Most importantly, let go of the constant comparisons and consider the wide range of possibilities and stances of the world.
Self-care is an absolute priority for your wellbeing. By constantly attending to others’ needs, you will eventually lose a sense your identity and deplete your energy levels. Treat yourself to some retail therapy, a scoop or two of some ice-cream, or a night in with your favorite shows. It’s an ongoing balancing act—a critical one. Rejuvenate your senses, and go all out. You deserve it.
Self-discovery and forgiveness will open new doors for you. Because you’ve worked up curating an image or persona for so long, you’ve since parted ways with the authentic self, deep within. Your core mission is to dig deep to find the child in yourself—the carefree, energetic soul. Re-discover what makes you feel whole and alive, and keep going, even when the waters are murky.
Stay humble. We’re all unique and given special talents for different reasons. By consciously being more open-minded and tolerant of others, you can begin to appreciate the wonderful imperfections which make us all human. Read into books on philosophy, history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and the like. This will help broaden your scope and open your eyes to new perspectives. (Bonus points: it may also serve as inspiration for some incredible creativity.)
Remember to reach out and ask for help when you need it. Your friends and family do care about you. It’s okay to admit when you’re feeling down in the dumps. By actively seeking help rather than resorting to a familiar introspection spiral, you can find the confidence to take charge of your emotions. Also, acknowledge the importance of fueling your body with healthy foods (and personal hygiene).
Recognizing when your thoughts start looping or when your doubt gets the best of you is the first step to getting your mind under control. If you can name what you’re feeling—then you can actively change it. Get a journal and try writing morning pages or brain dumps. This way, you’ll be able to release the heavy weight of any outstanding emotional baggage and gently move on.
Time management is your key to balance. You have so many fun and exciting plans ahead that you’re easily burned out. Schedule a day in-between for recovery. Host a staycation. Check out some local events and support the arts in your community. Once you’ve got a solid grip on your intense craving for adventure, you can make realistic short- and long-term plans. Reflect regularly, and remember to appreciate the past and present as much as the future!
Learn to schedule down-time to simply “be” and reflect. Your go-getter self naturally pushes for more challenges by the day. Live in the present. This could mean meditation, journaling, or going on a long, leisurely nature stroll. A fully-booked calendar of meetings may lie ahead, and that’s okay. There’s a piece of the pie to go around for everyone. Practice generosity and gratitude. A little kindness goes a long way.
To actually make things happen and get the ball rolling, you should prioritize taking action. Time can be your friend, if you let it be. Focus on finding a method for your madness, be it the Pomodoro technique, consecutive power naps, or using an aesthetically-pristine bullet journal. Get yourself a nice calendar or planner and streamline your days. Momentum is built on action, rather than thought.
Here’s a virtual toast to your lifelong journey of growth and integration in the Enneagram. Have you tried any of these focuses? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Lily Yuan is a personality psychology writer who has a knack for just missing the bus. She tests as INTP and constantly questions her type. Learn more at www.lily-yuan.com or follow her on Twitter @LilyYuanWrites.
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