Being enough – or not – is a uniquely human condition. Our preoccupation with being enough impacts nearly every aspect of our lives. Curiously, no other species on earth gets to be concerned about being enough or not. Yet, for human beings, our preoccupation with being enough can determine our self-worth, our choice of profession, even our life partner. Whether we believe we are enough – or not – may not even be a conscious awareness. Even an unconscious concern about being enough can compromise our life force.
Take a moment to come inside your body. Imagine every cell vibrating with knowing you are enough just as you are. Relax into this awareness of being enough. What is this sensate awareness like for you? Can you imagine yourself living from this place of being enough?
Memorize the sensate awareness of being enough. The next time you act from a sense of lack, practice returning to this awareness of being enough. Continue to practice this when you experience any sense of not being enough and open to any qualitative shift in your actions.
It is in our true nature to be enough. Knowing we are enough and living this reality is life-affirming and in service to all.
Feeling we are enough or Being Enough is directly related to the central paradox that goes with each enneatype. Essentially, what we most strive for (to feel we are enough) we can never really achieve because our Enneagram-based behavior gets in our way. To understand this concept more fully, this blog first covers the concept of paradoxes and then reviews the central paradox for each Enneagram style.
Paradoxes are apparent contradictions that pose simultaneously frustrating and motivating dilemmas for each of us. An Enneagram-based paradox is this: You truly want something and believe that your behavior is designed to achieve that result. However, more often than not, your own behavior – particularly your behavior that results from your Enneagram character structure – is the primary impediment to the achievement of the desired goal. To work with your paradox, you first have to perceive it and name it – that is, to articulate what you most deeply want and then to understand how your own behavior actually gets in the way of that. Then, you have to figure out how to resolve this dilemma on your own.
Paradoxes for each Enneagram Style
Ones want to be accepted and valued without criticism, reservations, or conditions; however, they act so critically toward others that they push others away, and they are so self-critical that they would not really believe that someone else would value them without also judging them.
If you are a One, stay with this idea, then allow yourself to contemplate how you can resolve this dilemma.
Twos want to have their own desires materialize – for example, their desire to be appreciated and supported, to get rest, and to follow their own dream. However, they spend so much of their time and energy helping other people that they are often either unaware of what their own needs truly are or else downplay their desires, giving little indication to others that they, too, want something.
If you are a Two, stay with this idea, then allow yourself to contemplate how you can resolve this dilemma.
Threes want to be valued for who they are rather than just for what they do; however, because they try to create a positive image and share only what they achieve, no one really knows the person behind the persona.
If you are a Three, stay with this idea, then allow yourself to contemplate how you can resolve this dilemma.
Fours want to have deep and lasting connections with others, but their behavior frequently reflects their desire to feel different, unique, and separate. Fours engage in push-pull behavior when others get too close, and they often pull away entirely when they feel disappointed or rejected. All of these behaviors then cause others to pull away from them.
If you are a Four, stay with this idea, then allow yourself to contemplate how you can resolve this dilemma.
Fives want to experience life fully and to genuinely connect with other people; however, their stance of observing life from afar and their disconnection from their own feelings prevent them from fully engaging in life and developing deep connections with others.
If you are a Five, stay with this idea, then allow yourself to contemplate how you can resolve this dilemma.
Sixes want to have faith in themselves and to trust other people; however, they continually second-guess themselves, project their own concerns and suspicions onto others, and then behave in guarded and accusatory ways. This causes Sixes to distrust themselves and others, and it also causes others to become suspicious and guarded with the Six in return.
If you are a Six, stay with this idea, then allow yourself to contemplate how you can resolve this dilemma.
Sevens want to feel whole, complete, and totally okay about themselves; however, they avoid the behaviors that would ultimately make them feel settled, fully satisfied, and completely self-accepting – for example, staying focused on a task until it is complete, delving into feelings and thoughts in greater depth, and accepting pain as well as pleasure.
If you are a Seven, stay with this idea, then allow yourself to contemplate how you can resolve this dilemma.
Eights want to be accepted and supported completely for who they are, including their vulnerabilities. However, they act so strong, independent, and in charge that very few people ever see their softer, more vulnerable sides or their need for nurturance and affirmation.
If you are an Eight, stay with this idea, then allow yourself to contemplate how you can resolve this dilemma.
Nines want to be acknowledged and taken seriously; however, they act so easygoing and accede so readily to what others want that they don’t assert themselves, and others then discount what they have to say.
If you are a Nine, stay with this idea, then allow yourself to contemplate how you can resolve this dilemma.
More in-depth information on the paradoxes of each Enneagram style and how to work with this can be found in Ginger’s book, Bringing Out the Best in Everyone You Coach (McGraw-Hill 2009).
Thanks to Frank Early, an Enneagrammer and manager at Genentech/Roche, for this wonderful graphic!