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Enneagram Styles and Discernment


This blog was inspired by Ruth Landis’s insights about Discernment, “the ability to judge well.” The emphasis here is on well, not judge! You can read about how each of us, based on our Enneagram styles, can allow more Discernment in our lives. Ruth Landis is a Senior Member of the Enneagram in Business Network.

We discern through observation and slowing down enough to see what choices we have available to us in each moment, rather that responding automatically and habitually. Today, try slowing down and experiment playing with your attention like you might with a camera lens, moving from close-up to medium shot to long shot. What more information have you gathered about any given moment by playing with your personal lens? Try making one decision today based on this kind of expanded information.

Discernment and Enneagram Styles

I’ve added the following to help us understand how our Enneagram styles can block our Discernment capabilities and how we can allow ourselves to be more fully in a state of discerning, being able to differentiate what actually exists from what we want or believe to be true.

Enneagram Style One

Obstacle to Discernment: Paying so much attention to errors and mistakes that you run the risk of being over-discerning

How to allow Discernment: Acknowledge and accept reality as it is, understanding that there is an intrinsic perfection, even in that which is flawed

Enneagram Style Two

Obstacle to Discernment: Believing that there is so much potential and abundance in everyone and everything (including you) that you minimize difficulties, limitations, and shortcomings (especially your own)

How to allow Discernment: Fully acknowledge what you actually know to be true about people and situations without suppressing or repressing your true reactions and responses

Enneagram Style Three

Obstacle to Discernment: Creating such a positive “spin” on how you want to be perceived and what you’ve accomplished that you don’t recognize important information that is already there

How to allow Discernment: First, acknowledge fully who you are aside from what you do – thus, being self-discerning; then, acknowledge all of your insights, even those that do not put you or others in a positive light

Enneagram Style Four

Obstacle to Discernment: Paying attention to what is missing rather than all that is present, then confusing your emotional reactions with what is actually true in a larger and more objective understanding of reality

How to allow Discernment: Create a positive sorting filter that allows you to internalize truthful and positive comments, reactions, and experiences that come from external sources: then, create a negative sorting filter that enables you to internalize only negative information from external sources that is accurate and useful

Enneagram Style Five

Obstacle to Discernment: Believing you can discern everything from your mind alone

How to allow Discernment: Access your emotions and your physical instincts more completely so you can use your mind, heart, and body to become more fully discerning

Enneagram Style Six

Obstacle to Discernment: Not being fully able to differentiate your projections – the product of your own inner life – from your insights, which also come from your keen mind and intuitive abilities

How to allow Discernment: Because your projections are accompanied with medium to strong emotional reactions and pure insights have none, learn to tell the difference between the two by paying close attention to your own internal reactions

Enneagram Style Seven

Obstacle to Discernment: Moving so quickly and pursuing the positive at the expense of acknowledging negative information that you don’t fully develop your ability to discern what is true from what is not

How allow Discernment: Learn to be still, internally and externally, so you can access your ability to discern in a far more refined way

Enneagram Style Eight

Obstacle to Discernment: Having such a strong desire to know the truth and trusting your gut reactions so exclusively

How to allow Discernment: Be truly open to new ideas and people without rushing to judgment or taking action so quickly

Enneagram Style Nine

Obstacle to Discernment: Not paying attention to yourself, your thoughts, and your reactions, especially your physical responses

How to allow Discernment: Allow the dormant volcano inside you to wake up and express itself

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