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 Five
It may be difficult to spot a Five during the pandemic. They’ve been doing social distancing their whole life so not very much has changed! The Fives in your life know the latest COVID-19 data and are on top of the most recent CDC guidelines, which help them to manage any fears they might have about the pandemic and its impact.
In general, Fives are enjoying this socially permissible self-isolation. They are using the time and space to get books read, ideas written, and theories unpacked. Without the drain and expectation of social interaction, Fives are a little lighter these days, peaceful, with a bit more energy.
One Five explained it this way.
“I find that outside of quarantine, I constantly feel stretched and overwhelmed by how many people I have to interact with in a day or with how many things I observe, that I come home exhausted. So being in one place all day to work on what I need to has been a dream! I don’t feel stuck in my house because I still have people to talk to without getting overstimulated and I actually have space to think. In the spare time I have, I feel like I finally have time, and maybe social permission, to stay home and work on the side projects I have wanted to, but not had time to think about.”
Why It’s Hard for a Five
Fives are incredible researchers. They crave knowledge and are very adept at synthesizing a lot of information. This is good news for the rest of us as Fives are at the forefront of helping us to understand the implications of all of the statistics and projections surrounding this global pandemic and likely comprise a good number of the scientists and doctors and others who are trying to find treatment options and a vaccine. Fives look for solutions and are able to offer us clarity and wisdom in the midst of chaos. Those who spend too much time hip deep in data and articles about infection and mortality rates, second wave spreads, and the like, however, are at risk of trying to soothe their own fears and feelings with more and more information of which they cannot get enough. It can be emotionally draining and cause some Fives to become more withdrawn.
On good days, Fives need time and space alone to recharge. So in a household where everyone has suddenly come home, where work and school and life all happen in the same space at the same time, Fives can struggle to replenish their energy and to order their world. You may find them manic gardening just to have a place to be by themselves and to think.
Try to Remember
Fives need people. It would be very easy during this time to spend too much time alone. To be an observer, and not a participant. But some of the knowledge and security you seek can only come from God, often through the people he puts in your path. It’s messy and it’s exhausting. But it can also be life giving. For you, and for others. The rest of us need Fives. You bring a wisdom and clarity that gives others hope and strength and needs to be shared. Trust that God will not leave you empty handed but will give you what you need when you need it.
Spiritual Practices for a Five
Be Generous – Say ‘Yes’ this week to requests for your time, talents, compassion and money. During times of crisis or stress, like in a pandemic, it is easy for our focus to become self-protective; to adopt a mindset of scarcity, holding on to what we have, worried that we might be asked to give more than we have – be it money or toilet paper or empathy. Fives, in particular, feel like they have limited amounts of energy to give and can hoard their time in self protection. Saying ‘Yes’ creates a muscle memory in your heart, an abundance mindset that trusts that there is enough and God will not leave you empty handed. In fact, you may likely discover that you have more to give than you realize.
Prayer Walk – Engage your body as a way of getting out of your head for a little while. Walk around your block or your neighborhood. Offer the same simple prayer as you pass each house.
Loving a Five
Fives need space, especially in a household where everyone is suddenly present. Help them to find a corner in a crowded house where intrusions can be kept to a minimum. Plan ahead with a Five when you need them to be present. Check in with them on where their energy level is and what would be helpful for them to recharge.