No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ Aesop
Kindness has many definitions: empathy, concern, gentleness, and more. Here are ways each enneatype benefits from more kindness.
For Ones, kindness needs to start with patience, gentleness and acceptance for the self: no harsh recriminations or even mild ones for mistakes made, patience with the pace of self-improvement, and relaxing the pressure to measure up to your own high standards so fervently.
Twos think of themselves as kind people, so why would kindness be something they would aspire to have more of? Part of their thinking is accurate; Twos can be very kind to people with whom they are close, people who are in need or in dire straits, or people who are important in some way. However, Twos have a dilemma being kind to someone who has wronged them or hurt them or whose character they just don’t like. This is the development stretch for Twos.
Threes can be kind, although they don’t think about it very much because of their focus on activity, plans and results. The Three’s focus, however, can be what derails their kindness toward both themselves and others. The remedy? Slow down and take in more of what is around you and within you, breathing into your heart area as you do so. This is where kindness originates.
Fours can be both very kind and unkind to others (if the Four him- or herself is hurting), yet usually less than kind to themselves. Fours tend to blame themselves harshly, perceive themselves as damaged in some way when they feel bad, and more. Kindness needs to start with accepting their own responses, working with these reactions without self-judging or blaming others, and taking a bigger view of the situation, showering themselves with kindness as they do this.
Fives, like Threes, don’t think that much about kindness although Fives can be quite kind, at least in their thoughts and emotional states. But do they show this kindness outwardly through words and deeds? This is the place of movement.
For Sixes, kindness toward self is essential. Why? Because Sixes tend to self-flagellate whenever they think they have done something wrong, even when they haven’t. This specific kind of self-blame relates the Six’s need to be “so good” that if they think they have not been, they then tumble down into feeling “so bad.” Deep loving kindness toward self and under all circumstances is an aspiration worth pursuing.
Sevens get so caught up in the glory of ideas – too often bypassing their heart – that kindness can become a mental idea rather than a gentle, heartfelt response. The simple solution to kindness: breathe more into your heart and ask yourself how you are feeling on a regular basis. This sets the stage for greater kindness that grows from deep inside the heart.
Eights can be extremely kind and generous; they can be extreme in many qualities. However, gentle, smaller kindness is something they do less often, although it is something they can learn to cultivate. Here’s how: When you start to initiate a large act of kindness or generosity, stop. Then ask yourself what you are feeling and engage in inquiry about whether this big act moves you away from experiencing your own vulnerability or your own need for kindness. Consider initiating smaller acts of kindness, even semi-invisible acts rather than only big ones.
Nines are generally quite kind, but are they kind to themselves? What would that look like? One word describes it: self-respect. Honor thyself, be kind to yourself in thought and action; find your voice and use it firmly, clearly, and with kindness.
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | firstname.lastname@example.org