The enneagram has helped me embrace spontaneity a bit. I am a 1, often called a perfectionist. It was one of those things where I really wanted to be a 5 (because I like to know things) or maybe a 9 (Because peacemakers might fix the world), but alas, I am a 1 to the core (because I want to be perfect. and know things, and fix the world). I want to get things right and to be sure I am doing things right. I have a quick shame trigger if I mess something up, even if it’s minor, and an automatic aversion to spontaneity.
If you aren’t familiar with the enneagram you can read a book or check out the enneagram institute (once their site is back up…). It’s a 9 type personality system that gauges how we interact with and look at the world. It’s different from MBTI in that it outlines healthy and unhealthy pieces of our personality with proactive ways to engage further and become more whole.
Knowing the enneagram helps me creatively engage with my life. I tend to entrench in known things, but the Enneagram challenges me to look at my own tendencies, acknowledge differences, give words for habitual behavior, and allow room for improvement. It makes me feel more sane to have all my quirks outlined – in a “other people act like this too and here’s why” kind of way. It’s encouraging.
I am not very spontaneous naturally. I like to have things planned. And that isn’t really a bad thing in the long run, but there is definite benefit in spontaneous living as well.
But there is hope. On the enneagram circle on of my “arrows” is a 7. The arrows on the enneagram circle can give insight into how our behavior/tendencies change when we are engaging the world in more and less healthy ways. For example my type 1 has an arrow pointing to type 4. That means when I am moving in less healthy ways, I take on the negative characteristics of a 4. I, personally, become more withdrawn, obsessed with being different or being the first to try something, and being overly introspective in negative ways.
Versus when I am moving in a healthy direction, I take on some of the positive characteristics of 7s. Healthy 7s are known for being more spontaneous, jumping into new things, risking for the sake of enjoyment, doing whatever floats their boat, and engaging more actively in the world.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Israel is a 7, as he challenges me and makes my life better in many many ways.
It’d be easy to get on my high-horse and claim that making plans is the best way with no room for spontaneity, but thanks to the enneagram and my adventure loving husband I am taking note and leaning into spontaneity when I find it or, more accurately, when it finds me.
These days it looks like asking my sister for some sourdough starter and learning to bake bread (It’s so easy), jumping into a summer of pool-visits and hiking, pulling a book off the new books shelf at the library, and learning how to say yes when Israel suggests something new. And every now and then suggesting something new myself.
I’m hoping it will find me in the woods soon.
What about you? Do you know what your Enneagram type is? Any other 1s struggling with spontaneity?
Where is spontaneous finding you these days?
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