In my effort to define my economy, I have been reinvestigating the results of various personality tests that I have taken. What I value, what I dismiss, what drives me, what cripples me, etc. I don’t like to be bound by what these tests say or use them as an excuse to become stagnant and complacent, but they do hold value in giving expression to parts of us that may have never been named before.
I was at this worship leaders’ retreat in November and there were several people who were talking about Enneagrams. Their depth of knowledge was so impressive that I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I had taken the test previously and knew that I was a “1” but that was really the extent of my knowledge. “The Reformer” is what they call me. “The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic”. Love that. The “rational, idealistic type”. I didn’t know you could be both of those things, even though I AM both of those things. By the way, it should be noted that all of this comes from the Enneagram Institute:
Basic Fear: Of being corrupt/evil, defective ✅
Basic Desire: To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced ✅
Enneagram One with a Nine-Wing: “The Idealist” ✅ ➡️ this is me.
Enneagram One with a Two-Wing: “The Advocate”
We have named personality type One The Reformer because Ones have a “sense of mission” that leads them to want to improve the world in various ways, using whatever degree of influence they have. They strive to overcome adversity—particularly moral adversity—so that the human spirit can shine through and make a difference. They strive after “higher values,” even at the cost of great personal sacrifice.
Ones are people of practical action—they wish to be useful in the best sense of the word. On some level of consciousness, they feel that they “have a mission” to fulfill in life, if only to try their best to reduce the disorder they see in their environment.
Although Ones have a strong sense of purpose, they also typically feel that they have to justify their actions to themselves, and often to others as well. This orientation causes Ones to spend a lot of time thinking about the consequences of their actions, as well as about how to keep from acting contrary to their convictions. Because of this, Ones often persuade themselves that they are “head” types, rationalists who proceed only on logic and objective truth. But, the real picture is somewhat different: Ones are actually activists who are searching for an acceptable rationale for what they feel they must do. They are people of instinct and passion who use convictions and judgments to control and direct themselves and their actions.
In the effort to stay true to their principles, Ones resist being affected by their instinctual drives, consciously not giving in to them or expressing them too freely. The result is a personality type that has problems with repression, resistance, and aggression. They are usually seen by others as highly self- controlled, even rigid, although this is not how Ones experience themselves. It seems to them that they are sitting on a cauldron of passions and desires, and they had better “keep the lid on” lest they and everyone else around them regret it.
Type One—Levels of Development
Level 1 (At Their Best): Become extraordinarily wise and discerning. By accepting what is, they become transcendentally realistic, knowing the best action to take in each moment. Humane, inspiring, and hopeful: the truth will be heard.
Level 2: Conscientious with strong personal convictions: they have an intense sense of right and wrong, personal religious and moral values. Wish to be rational, reasonable, self-disciplined, mature, moderate in all things.
Level 3: Extremely principled, always want to be fair, objective, and ethical: truth and justice primary values. Sense of responsibility, personal integrity, and of having a higher purpose often make them teachers and witnesses to the truth.
Level 4: Dissatisfied with reality, they become high-minded idealists, feeling that it is up to them to improve everything: crusaders, advocates, critics. Into “causes” and explaining to others how things “ought” to be.
Level 5: Afraid of making a mistake: everything must be consistent with their ideals. Become orderly and well-organized, but impersonal, puritanical, emotionally constricted, rigidly keeping their feelings and impulses in check. Often workaholics—”anal-compulsive,” punctual, pedantic, and fastidious.
Level 6: Highly critical both of self and others: picky, judgmental, perfectionistic. Very opinionated about everything: correcting people and badgering them to “do the right thing”—as they see it. Impatient, never satisfied with anything unless it is done according to their prescriptions. Moralizing, scolding, abrasive, and indignantly angry.
Level 7: Can be highly dogmatic, self-righteous, intolerant, and inflexible. Begin dealing in absolutes: they alone know “The Truth.” Everyone else is wrong: very severe in judgments, while rationalizing own actions.
Level 8: Become obsessive about imperfection and the wrongdoing of others, although they may fall into contradictory actions, hypocritically doing the opposite of what they preach.
Level 9: Become condemnatory toward others, punitive and cruel to rid themselves of wrongdoers. Severe depressions, nervous breakdowns, and suicide attempts are likely. Generally corresponds to the Obsessive-Compulsive and Depressive personality disorders.
Obvs, I’m at Level 1. Haha. Right now, I think I’m at a Level 5. It’s so funny because Levels 4-6 are considered “Average” and as a Reformer, I’d say that it’s totally unacceptable to live life averagely as defined by this framework; Level 1 is the only way to live. 🙂
I know that I’ve been “unhealthy” lately and that I have lots of opinions, so I’ve decided to just keep my mouth shut about what I think. Instead, I’m writing it down for all to read for eternity. Haha. What’s crazy about all of this is that with everything that’s going on politically and how that affects the church, all of a sudden I have so. much. to. say. I started to express my opinions on FB, and it was, as you can imagine…a disaster. Some of my FB “friends” have lots of opinions that I don’t agree with…ok ok, let’s be honest, I hate their opinions. Admittedly, FB is not the best place to talk about anything productive, and certainly not anything potentially polarizing. My response to all of this, naturally, was to SHUT DOWN. Naturally. I could not take that what I consider to be hatred and discrimination could live so close to my core (other people’s hate-scimination AND my own reactions to these people). Hatred and discrimination only occur OUTSIDE of my immediate existence…certainly not in my inner circle. Wait. Is my inner circle too big? That’s it. Defriend EVERYONE. Makes sense. The rational part of me knew not to do that. Sort of. But I did unfollow a whole bunch of people. That solves it! And it did make me want to redefine who I was going to let into my inner circle. You know, BUILD A WALL. How Trump-y of me. Hypocrite, you say? Definitely am. Gah.
I have these demands of people and society, and the Enneagram tells me that they’re not too healthy. Of course, I knew that before Enny told me, but now it’s real. It’s on paper. 🙂 I find myself getting disappointed a lot. This is not to say that anyone or anything should change. It’s just been the story of my life. The things that I demand are in minimal supply. Someone once told me that they felt like I was not from this age, that I should’ve been born in another time. Now that I think about it, that was actually really mean, but it’s probably true. My views on “how things should be” are often not understood or misunderstood and definitely don’t fit well into the construct of today. I’m an alien.
Here’s some of what the Enneagram Institute offers as tips for 1s:
- Learn to relax. Take some time for yourself, without feeling that everything is up to you or that what you do not accomplish will result in chaos and disaster. Mercifully, the salvation of the world does not depend on you alone, even though you may sometimes feel it does. 🙌🏼🙌🏼
- You have a lot to teach others and are probably a good teacher, but do not expect others to change immediately. What is obvious to you may not be as obvious to them, especially if they are not used to being as self-disciplined and objective about themselves as you are about yourself. Many people may also want to do what is right and may agree with you in principle but for various reasons simply cannot change right away. The fact that others do not change immediately according to your prescriptions does not mean that they will not change sometime in the future. Your words and above all, your example may do more good than you realize, although they may take longer than you expect. So have patience. ⌚️⏱⏳⏲⏰🕰⌛️
- It is easy for you to work yourself up into a lather about the wrongdoings of others. And it may sometimes be true that they are wrong. But what is it to you? Your irritation with them will do nothing to help them see another way of being. Similarly, beware of your constant irritation with your own “shortcomings.” Does your own harsh self-criticism really help you to improve? Or does it simply make you tense, nervous, and self-doubting? Learn to recognize the attacks of your superego and how they undermine rather than help you. 👎🏼
Here is the site where I took the test. I took both tests. https://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test.php