Gerry Fathauer has written a compelling Insight Activity on Holding On. Gerry is a Senior Member of the Enneagram in Business Network (EIBN) and has remarkable insight into the process of using the Enneagram for self-development and healing.When we hold on to anything, energy cannot move through us. We get stuck in our preferences and our ideas of what we think we want and the ideals we think we must live by. Holding on, consciously or unconsciously, stops our energy and assures a limited perspective.
Holding on to what we want is something we all do, whether it’s a house, our stuff in that house, a desired business outcome, or the hunt for the ideal partner. Holding on can permeate every aspect of our lives, almost without our awareness, yet doing so colors our perspective, limits our options, and may even sow seeds of disappointment.
How freeing it would be, if each time we’re aware of holding on, we simply add “or not”! This single, simple pivot of awareness, the suggestion of “or not,” frees us energetically. Musing about “or not” opens us to new possibilities.
Think about something you hold on to, a desired outcome, perhaps, such as being awarded a contract. Does your holding on to the desired outcome of getting the contract serve you, or does it limit you? What happens if your awareness becomes “I must be awarded this contract, or not”? Once you become aware of something you hold on to, practice following that thought with “or not.” What happens when you do this?
Holding on to what we think we want stifles us energetically and invites dissatisfaction with life in the present moment.
So what is it we each, by Enneagram style, “hold on to,” why, and what do we need to do to “let go”? In this Blog, which I have written in response to Gerry’s Insight Activity, you can find out!
Holding on to: being right, not making mistakes, being in control, maintaining their structured lives, and harboring built-up resentments
Why: to maintain their sense of self as the person who is righteous, responsible, and faultless
Letting go of: the belief that everything must be perfectly ordered and executed
Holding on to: being thoughtful, responsive, unselfish, considerate, without need, and slights when others have wronged them in some way – i.e., taking them for granted, accused them of malintent, acted in disparaging ways
Why: to maintain their sense of self as a person who is so good that they consistently put others above themselves
Letting go of: the belief that their only value comes from how much they do for other people
Holding on to: being competent, resourceful, goal-driven, effective, successful, and confident, but also under-expressed sadness, anxiety, and anger
Why: to maintain their sense of self as a person who can make whatever they want happen through their goal orientation, intense focus, and personal drive
Letting go of: the belief that they must follow societal (or social-referent group) standards of success to feel good about themselves
Holding on to: being different from everyone, feeling slighted on a consistent basis, and identifying with their shifting emotional states, but also an idyllic “dream-world” in which everyone feels the deepest sense of beauty and interconnectivity
Why: to maintain their sense of self as person who is unique and separated from others because they have chosen to be that way, which makes them feel in control of their feelings of existential deficiency
Letting go of: the belief that there is something wrong with them that is not wrong with others
Holding on to: being autonomous, needing very little privacy, and consuming limited space and resources, as well as under-explored feelings and needs
Why: to maintain their sense of self as a person who does not need to rely on anyone or anything other than themselves
Letting go of: the belief of false scarcity (of energy, resources, and more)
Holding on to: being the object of harm by the environment and/or others, having to be the person who raises difficult issues, and not being able to trust others, particularly those in positions of strong influence or authority
Why: to maintain their sense of self as a person who understands the risks and uncertainty involved with being in the world and who can overcome this through their minds
Letting go of: the belief that true authority resides outside themselves
Holding on to: being fun-loving, pleasure-oriented, completely free, and their unalterable right to avoid restrictions or painful experiences
Why: to maintain their sense of self as a person who lives in a world where anything is possible and there are no limits unless we create them
Letting go of: the belief that freedom means having no limits
Holding on to: being in command and control, not showing weakness or vulnerability, avenging wrongs done by others, being so strong that they can protect anyone of their choosing, and can move mountains through their extraordinary will, energy, and power
Letting go of: the belief that they have to be strong and big at all times and under all circumstances
Holding on to: being in positive resonance with others around them, not asserting or expressing themselves directly, and believing that they don’t really matter as much as others
Why: to maintain their sense of self as a person who can bring reconciliation to disruption, rapport to discord, and agreement where there is misunderstanding and/or disrespect
Letting go of: the belief that the way they matter is to not matter