The Enneagram provides the key to unlock the mysterious struggles that can happen in relationship. It helps us to understand why we can experience the same interaction so differently than those we care about. All our perspectives are both right and wrong because they are all limited by our particular type orientations – a bundle of beliefs, feelings, behaviors and their underlying motivations. Our way of perceiving the world feels so right! Yet there are many right ways of perceiving. The Enneagram helps us to understand this and gives us the possibility of opening our minds and hearts to others more fully.
What we primarily experience in relationship is how we perceive our world. The “other’s” view, when different, bounces against ours and we find ourselves feeling misunderstood, resentful or scared. Then we set about trying to convince the other of the rightness of our perception. This can fill our relationships with conflict and power struggles, which ends up as a kind of self-aggression, because they usually end up badly. Nobody wins.
One of the bottom lines in relationship is that we’re usually asking others to treat us with love and respect that we don’t even extend to ourselves. If we can’t treat ourselves with kindness and understanding, how can another?
We often don’t see that how we relate to another inevitably follows from how we relate to ourselves, that our outer relationships are but an extension of our inner life, that we can only be as open and present with another as we are with ourselves.
– John Welwood
The Enneagram is all about giving us CHOICE in how we relate to ourselves and others. If you know your dominant habit of choice, it is possible to see things anew and choose differently. The Enneagram helps us to heal our relationships with ourselves, our families, our friends, and our worlds. It allows us to go through the surface of someone to their depths. It allows us to see our co-workers, neighbors, family, friends and partners with the eyes of compassion.