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Enneagram Theory: Fixations (Habits of Mind) – Vanity

This 4th blog in a series on how all of us exhibit the Fixations (Habits of Mind) normally associated with only one of the Enneagram styles now moves to Vanity: The strategic thinking about how to create an idealized image. We typically associate Vanity with Enneagram Threes and their image is one of trying to appear successful. However, all of us, not just Threes, have more than a dose of Vanity, so read on:

Enneagram Ones
Here are just some ways in which Ones engage in thinking that leads to Vanity:
*  Thinking they are superior because they have higher standards than other
*  Believing they are the arbiters of excellence because of their belief that they can discern quality better than most
*  Thinking that their commitment to being responsible in every way far outdistances that same quality in other people

Enneagram Twos
Here are just some ways in which Twos engage in thinking that leads to Vanity:
*  Wishing and hoping that others would be as considerate as they are and wondering why others pay so little attention to this important aspect of human interaction
*  Thinking that they can get anyone they want to like them
*  Believing that they are so good and selfless and that others seems to give into the baser motivations of self-serving self-interest

Enneagram Threes
Here are just some ways in which Threes engage in thinking that leads to Vanity:
*  Deciding, consciously or unconsciously, to delete information about themselves – both to themselves and to others – that would make them look bad
*  Thinking that they can do just about anything that they set their minds to accomplish
*  Believing that they are the image of success that they have created; confusing their real self with their image

Enneagram Fours
Here are just some ways in which Fours engage in thinking that leads to Vanity:
*  Thinking that they are superior to others because they are deeper, more sophisticated, or more in touch with a deeper reality
*  Believing that they have a more advanced capacity for understanding emotions, symbols, and esoterica
*  Thinking that “authentic relating” is an unparalleled way of interacting and that they are the best at this

Enneagram Fives
Here are just some ways in which Fives engage in thinking that leads to Vanity:
*  Thinking that others are inferior as a result of having too many needs, being dependent on others, and lacking in autonomy
*  Believing that they have a superior intellect
*  Perceiving the emotional expression in others as inferior to their own reliance on reason, logic, and emotional self-containment and detachment

Enneagram Sixes
Here are just some ways in which Sixes engage in thinking that leads to Vanity:
*  Believing that they are the best problem solvers
*  Thinking that others are not trustworthy and reliable, but that they (Sixes) are
*  Perceiving themselves as the person who is most capable and willing to stand up on behalf of the group when others seem to not be either perceptive or courageous enough to do so

Enneagram Sevens
Here are just some ways in which Sevens engage in thinking that leads to Vanity:
*  Thinking that they are not only quicker minded than other people, but that they also catch onto new ideas better than most
*  Believing that most of their ideas have merit
*  Perceiving themselves as capable of enjoying life in a way that far surpasses that ability in other people

Enneagram Eights
Here are just some ways in which Eights engage in thinking that leads to Vanity:
*  Thinking that they are stronger than other people
*  Believing that they can make anything they want happen
*  Thinking that their truth is The Truth

Enneagram Nines
Here are just some ways in which Nines engage in thinking that leads to Vanity:
*  Believing that they are above being ambitious
*  Perceiving themselves as above the others mere mortals because they get reactive and angry but they don’t!
*  Thinking that when they muster up the energy to state their true opinion, that this opinion is actually the right opinion

It is helpful to remember that while Threes use Vanity in the service of maintaining a self-image of success, we all engage in Vanity to maintain our specific type-based self-image.

Stay tuned for the next blogs about how each of us engage in Melancholy, Stinginess, Cowardice, and more.

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