As we bring this Enneagram series to a close, it’s worth noting a couple of things once again:
- No matter how accurate it might be, the Enneagram personality system is neither inspired nor scientific.
- It’s greatest service is helping us understand and love one another better.
- We all exhibit some aspects of all 9 types from time to time.
That having been said, the 9 is the one type with which I share almost no qualities. 9’s are consistent. Calm. Good natured. Not easily perturbed. Steadfast and reliable. I have spent not a few hours contemplating the fact that both of my daughters chose awesome men as spouses…both of whom are 9’s…in direct contrast to the emotional, sometimes demanding if not artistic and highly opinionated father they grew with. But I quickly remember that only 2’s are capable such self-importance as to think they played any role in their child’s choice of a mate, and I’m able to just be proud of all 4 of my kids.
The fact remains…there is very little NINE in me…
It’s not that I don’t like my comfort! Heavens knows I do. And it’s not even that I don’t want peace. It’s just that comfort and peace sometimes only show up in my world through hardship and conflict. Paradox is something that is deeply attractive to those of us in the Heart Triad (2,3 &4). There is endless enjoyment, a kind of comfort, in mystery, in the twilight margins where things are not always clear, not always predictable. Peace is often found for me, not when tension is eliminated, but when a balanced tension is achieved.
The great strength of the 9 lies in the “primary color” nature of their worlds. Sure, it’s as colorful as anyone elses’ world, but the colors don’t easily blend. When they’re tired, they sleep. Hungry? Time to eat. On roller coaster? Yahoooo! In a mountain meadow? Ahhhhh. This is the nine at their best. It’s uncomplicated. Predictable and stable. They’re desire for this kind of peace really drives them. They pursue it. This is why they are labeled “peacemakers”. They long for this kind of peace to such an extent that they will work hard to establish and protect it for the rest of us.
Two sides to every coin…
But there are un-wanted consequences for those 9’s who fail to recognize that, though they may want it to be otherwise, life is not just primary colors. There are in fact paradoxes, shades of gray, complexities and nuances. When a 9 refuses to be stretched into these areas of nuance, it can create the opposite effect of the peace they were longing for: conflict. Have you ever become angry at someone because they simply refuse to share their opinion on where to eat dinner? Yep. A 9 who doesn’t want any controversy sometimes creates it.
It’s like a paradox inside a paradox: the 9 who refuses to budge in an effort to avoid conflict, creates conflict – but this paradox is sometimes so difficult to for them to embrace that an un-healthy 9 becomes pathologically frozen, immovable, creating an entire culture of conflict around themselves. They can become swamped, paralyzed and overrun by the turmoil they so desperately wish to avoid.
However, healthy 9’s have learned where to stand and fight. They know that short-term turmoil, with God’s help, often results in the peace and stability they long for, and the rest of us so often need.