Outside or Inside? {Review of The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile}

“Looking through the lens of the Enneagram makes it possible to better understand ourselves and others, increase our acceptance and compassion, and navigate the paths between us.”

The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile, p.4

My alarm went off at 5AM. My late-night goal-ful self had been planning to run hills outside before it got hot. Given recent evidence, I probably would have gone back to sleep. This time, however, I snapped awake because Israel was still up and working on assembling wires, capacitors, motors, batteries, *mumbles*… and things…  into his latest project.  I suppose those are the hazards of being married to a part-time inventor who also happens to be a night owl.

Something finding out your husband just stayed up all night can jolt you into the 100% awake zone. So now forced to act on my good intentions, I put on my running shoes. I said goodnight (or was it good morning?) to Israel, telling him I was just going to run in the garage since I wanted to make sure the kids didn’t wake up while I was running. Most of the time I (the early riser) handle the waking up madness that is three ravenous little kids in the morning. It is just what works best for our family at the moment. So I wanted to be certain I was there in case Meg pulled another early morning.

But stepping through the musty garage into the fresh, cool morning air changed my mind. The sky was a beginning light with gray-blue clouds. And it was way too pretty to run in the garage.The kids would be fine. Honestly. When I paused at the highest point to enjoy the view before I headed back down the hill, it was just glimmering the possibiliy of a colorful sunrise. Next time I will stick around an extra five minutes to see that gorgeous fuchsia sunrise that happened after I turned my back and ran home.

I am happy I got out of the house this morning and I enjoyed that morning run thoroughly. I even made it in before the kids got out of their beds.


 

“Ones frequently miss the bigger picture because they compulsively focus on what is wrong or out of place.” p.66

You might not see it, but I get stuck like this a lot: running in the garage when I could just as easily run outside. It has something to do with personality. According to the Enneagram: I am a One, sometimes called the Perfectionist or the Reformer. I want to know I’m doing the right thing and the outcome will be right. Even in these small ways. In some ways this is a strength, and in some ways it really ties me up. I’m sure my indecision can seem baffling to my people (why are you thinking so much about outside vs inside?!?)

Knowing the Enneagram helps you see where you’re stuck, and then helps you get unstuck. I’ve found personality typing systems can help give words and validation to your internal experience of yourself and the world. The Enneagram is more helpful than most because alongside pointing out strengths and habits, it can help you assess how your specific personality effects your character or decisions in positive and negative ways.

In this book, The Path Between Us, the focus is on how an understanding of the enneagram helps our relationships.  There is a chapter for each type with humorous descriptions, stories, advice, and lists. I particularly loved the charts with a sentence or two about how each type might habitually interact with each other type. I found myself flipping back and forth to see how this information might be playing in my own relationships. This book is super-useful and affirming of our human capacity to get along and understand each other better.

“When a One becomes too sober about too many things – too thoughtful or too aware – they can be hard on other people and themselves, and they find it hard to lighten up, even when they sense they should.” p.73

And it might also be telling me to sing that one disney song with Elsa and Anna.

You know the one I mean.


Enneagram books I would suggest:

Bonus, if you and a couple other people are learning about the enneagram together The Road Back to You and The Path Between Us each have a handy study guide made for exactly that.

What is your favorite personality book? My library doesn’t carry enough enneagram options for me so I’ve been eyeing this one for next time.


(Disclaimers: This post contains affiliate links. Thanks to IVPress for providing a free copy of The Path Between Us (and study guide) in exchange for a review.)

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