While these practices are tailored to each enneagram type, embracing each of the practices helps develop flexibility and resiliency during times of transition.
Core belief: Good people don’t have anger.
Habit: Judging and clamping down emotions that seem unacceptable.
Practice: Practice remembering that emotions of grief aren’t bad. Allow feelings of anger to arise without judgment so that you can be present to yourself, giving you more ability to choose rather than react. Accept that change and loss, no matter how “bad” they seem are part of the natural process.
Core belief: I must take care of others who are hurting and ignore my own needs.
Habit: Repressing emotions to deny own needs.
Practice: Spend time connecting with yourself and noticing what you are feeling. Be aware of the tendency to expect others to take care of you and to avoid your feelings by taking care of others. Give yourself permission to take good care of you. Eat well, exercise, and rest enough. Taking care of yourself first is the best thing you can do for yourself and others.
Core belief: Doing is much more important than experiencing.
Habit: Over-working to avoid feeling.
Practice: When emotions aren’t felt and given time to be expressed, they require more and more energy to keep at bay. Slow down and give yourself permission to be still. Allow the emotions to arise and be processed. Grieving is something you feel, not something to be completed. Allow time for change.
Core belief: Something is always missing and I have been abandoned.
Habit: Indentifying with the suffering.
Practice: Notice the tendency to spiral down into the darkness of depression, believing that others are unable to understand the depth of your emotions. Spend time noticing what exits in life that is worth being grateful for and find the positive side of change. Maintain a connection with and action in the outside world.
Core belief: Feeling emotions requires too much from me.
Habit: Receding and withdrawing.
Practice: Spend time feeling the feelings (which is different from thinking the feelings). Remember that you have adequate energy to experience emotion. Express your emotions with someone you feel comfortable with. Reach out for support.
Core belief: The world is not safe and I am not prepared to deal with it.
Habit: Doubting and questioning competency to deal with change.
Practice: Sixes have a difficult time remembering their successes. Recall other times when you have faced big changes and everything turned out for the better. Remember that you are well equipped to deal with change.
Core belief: The world is too limiting and painful. I must avoid constriction.
Habit: Escaping from painful feelings by staying busy and up all the time.
Practice: Watch the tendency to escape from feelings and give yourself downtime to experience the change. Stay with the arising emotions around grief to allow the process to complete. Unfinished pain creates more pain in future.
Core belief: The world is unjust and I must avoid vulnerability.
Habit: Staying strong for everyone around me.
Practice: Practice remembering that there are others who are able to be a support to you. The more you avoid your vulnerability, the more vulnerable you will unconsciously feel. Allow yourself to express feelings with someone close you can trust. Paradoxically, others feel more supported when you show your softer side.
Core belief: I am unimportant and must avoid conflict.
Habit: Eluding conflicting emotions through avoidance and procrastination.
Practice: Be aware of the habit to either narc out with numbing activities and to become merged with another’s’ grief to sidestep feeling your own emotions. Escaping change and emotions actually increases internal stress. Spend time accessing your own feelings and opening up to someone who is a good listener. Physical exercise helps to become more in touch with what you are experiencing internally.
Dr. Deborah Ooten is the founder and director of the Conscious Living Center.