Let This “1” Be

Written By Christian and Arawyn Love

So, the first thing you must know, I am not a “1” on the enneagram; but I do know one.  The “1” I know is my co-author on this blog.  I am the proud father of one of the most beautiful, amazing, and sometimes terrifying, “1” there is.  And she has agreed to work with me on this project (if only to make sure I get it right).  I will write a few observations, and she will chime in to clarify from her point of view.

“Don’t put me in a box” or “I should not be pigeonholed” are two of the most common reactions when a “1” is first presented the notion that they are a “Type” on any scale.  In their world view there should not be any need to classify one another.  To be sure, there is truth in that view; it should not matter who we are-we should be able to get along.  However, we are not perfect.  Which is why the “1s” struggle with it so much; they love to strive for perfection.  Often, they are not just looking for their perfection; they seek to move towards what they see as God’s perfection, which includes making everyone around them perfect as well.

Here are a few scenarios which might help to understand a “1” a little better:

  • When growing up and learning to be a good classmate, the healthy “1” had to learn the difference between the rules and not tattle-tailing. I struggled with the fact that just because there are rules, it doesn’t mean that everyone will follow them. This made me extremely frustrated and I had to learn that not everyone has the same values as me and I had to be okay with that.
  • Dealing with Siblings, shared spaces (even with other “1s”) can be frustrating due to unmet expectations. I still have a hard time with this one because I have a certain way, I like my spaces organized and when they are changed or flat out disregarded, I feel overwhelmed when I walk into that space. I feel I must fix everything back in its proper place before I can relax or even continue to be in the space. For example; I share a bathroom with both my younger brother and my older sister. Both of which seem to radiate the term “organized chaos”. Every time I go into the bathroom it looks like a tornado spun through it. With clothes on the counter and toothbrushes on the floor I feel like I must fix it and put everything back in its proper place. This obviously gets quite tiring every single time I walk into the bathroom.
  • Friends and Family alike will have challenges with interacting with any of the “1s” personal belongings or spaces. This is where quite a lot of internal conflict starts for me, I know that my family is not intentionally trying to make me angry by being messy but it still hurts that they don’t seem to notice that I have organized a space or simply don’t seem to care enough to leave it that way. I don’t want to seem like a clean freak who never wants anything used and to just stay where it is for all eternity, I simply want things to be put back where they belong so I don’t feel like its my responsibility to do it later. The difficult part for other people I believe, is that they don’t seem to understand the overwhelming feeling I get when I see even a small mess. They also may not understand my organization system and see all the small components they have to them which confuses them, so they simply think it’s okay to put things any old place (surprise: its not okay to “1s”!).

Anger is the deadly sin associated with the “1” type personality.  They can become so stressed and frustrated with what is not “right”, they blow-up and take it out on everyone and thing within range.  It is also important to know that the aftermath of such a blow up is just as bad for the “1”, because now they are angry at themselves for being angry.

The rest of us truly need the “1s”, despite how much they may annoy us with all the “should” and “shouldn’t” commentaries.  Their sense of rightness helps us stay on course and be better as a community.  It is also important for us to remember for a “1”, the person they are hardest on is themselves.  “1s” are the driving force in our society to be better. They are idealistic, noble, and conscientious.  “1s” will be the leaders that show us how to be thorough, hardworking, and how to persevere. 

We all need to recognize the “1s” and love them for all they bring; their perseverance is what will carry them Home.  And as for the rest of us, the “1s” show us what 2 Thessalonians says: “As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good” (NIV).