The Enneagram is an ancient wisdom tool that describes nine personality types. One of the unique features of the Enneagram is the patterns it reveals in our personality when we are under stress. Given the current situation of a worldwide pandemic, a group of individuals was gathered together to find out how they have experienced the circumstances of COVID-19 through the lens of the Enneagram. This post is part of a series of posts sharing thoughts and insights from each of the nine Enneagram types.
God has uniquely made each one of us and we are called to love God and love one another. These posts are offered in the hope that, the more we understand ourselves and others and our often differing reactions and responses to life, the better we will be able to offer compassion to one another, to bring out the best in each other, and to offer the gifts of our unique perspectives to the world.
Spotting a Two
If you have found a bag of treats on your front porch during the ‘Stay at Home,’ it is probably the work of a Two. Incredibly compassionate, helpful and generous, Twos are out there grocery shopping for their elderly neighbors, calling people who live alone to make sure they are okay, and may be close to being out of toilet paper because they have given all of theirs away.
Why It’s Hard for a Two
Twos are incredibly relational. All of the Zoom calls and Houseparty app chats in the world can’t take the place a real deal hug and being present with someone face to face.
Twos are often nicknamed ‘The Helper’ because helping others is at the heart of their identity. “Who am I if I’m not helping others?” Helping others is how they let people know that they love them, and how they feel love in return. Social distancing has made helping others much more challenging and has drained many Twos of the relational energy that typically fills their cup, making them more subdued and sometimes melancholy.
Some Twos are struggling with frustration and uncharacteristic bursts of anger, overwhelmed by the needs that surround them and their inability to help. They may find themselves going to One more than usual, drawing on the One’s organizational skills and tendencies to help them feel more in control of their circumstances.
On the upside, some Twos are finding social distancing to bring a bit of unexpected, but welcomed, relief. Twos characteristically have a difficult time saying ‘No’ to requests for their time, attention, help, and presence. They struggle with personal boundaries and limits and often push themselves to exhaustion on behalf of others. Now, having ‘No’ essentially being said for them as a result of social distancing, some Twos are finding the free time this has created on their otherwise busy calendar to be quite restful and therapeutic.
What Twos Need to Remember
Remember that “You are loved” in Christ. You have value, not because of what you do but who you are. As a Two you take care of everyone else’s needs but often neglect your own. You can feel guilty for taking the time to take care of yourself, and, on really bad days, you can feel that you don’t deserve to be cared for that way; to be loved. But Jesus looks at you and loves you and says, “You are my beloved child. You do not have to do one thing to earn my love. I’ve already taken care of it all. Simply rest.”
Spiritual Practices for a Two
Centering Prayer. Centering prayer is prayer without words. It is a stillness before God that creates space to empty the mind and to still the body. When we are empty, when we bring nothing to God and simply rest in his presence, we are reminded that we are loved just the way we are. We do not have to prove ourselves to earn God’s love. We simply have to be. Just as centering ourselves on an exercise ball strengthens our body’s core muscles, centering prayer strengthens our spiritual core, relying on God’s love and God’s strength to be ours as well. Practice centering prayer for at least five minutes each day, eventually increasing that time to fifteen minutes.
Journaling. Twos often focus all of their attention outward and do not take the time to listen to their own needs and feelings. Take a few minutes each morning or evening to write down what you are thinking and feeling and needing. Write without judgment. It is okay to be the ‘one who needs,’ and not always the one who meets the needs of others. As it is appropriate, practice communicating what you need to others; don’t expect them to always know.
Loving a Two
Let the Twos in your life know how much you appreciate them. Give them an invitation and an opportunity to share what they need. Ask them how they are doing and dig a little deeper when they say, “Fine.” Let them know that you value them for who they are.