I am completely intrigued by the Enneagram lately. It’s a great tool for understanding our own complexities and empathizing with the other humans in our lives. (The “Enneagram Institute” has great tools on their website to learn more if this is complete gibberish to you 🙂
After taking several tests and studying the different types, I wasn’t 100% sure which type I was. When I realized I was a 9, it hit me like a bag of bricks (which is a typical experience for most). I initially mistyped myself as a 1 and wrote a post about it back in June. I also thought I could be a 2. More recently, I realized 1 is my “wing” but 9 is my primary type. Because I was a more “unhealthy” 9 in my younger years, I didn’t recognize my current “nineness.”
I’ve always been able to see the world through everyone’s perspective, but as a younger person, I often “lost” myself in other people, not always valuing who I was (the more “unhealthy” 9). Over the years, God has “woke me up” and made me stronger in who He created me to be. The inner, perfectionist critic who lives between my ears is my 1 wing (but not primary type) and what I discussed in my previous Enneagram post—making me more aware of my need for God’s loving grace.
One reason I didn’t recognize my current “nineness” is because this type is described as living disconnected from their bodies. Although much of how 9s are described resonated with how I’ve been my whole life, my thought was “I am connected with my body so I couldn’t be a 9—I help others connect with their bodies through mindful movement and intuitive/attuned eating.” Then it hit me—the reason I’m drawn to help people connect to their bodies is because, for many years, I lived disconnected from mine. (Insert GIF of mind being blown.) Until the past few years, I lived in constant stress, undereating/overexercising in the name of “health” even though my body was deteriorating from the inside out. I had unexplained health issues which kept getting worse. I now know my body was screaming for me to slow down and pay more attention to its needs.
The health issues I struggled with have much improved/resolved after tuning in more—decreasing stress, listening to hunger cues and what my body was asking for, moving in a more mindful way, and working with someone to heal my poor gut.
This isn’t just a struggle for me. We live in a culture which reinforces the belief that our bodies cannot be trusted. I’m a huge proponent of knowing how food affects our bodies (it’s why I chose my career path), but head knowledge alone isn’t enough. We trust our bodies’ cues to go to the bathroom and rarely doubt that shivering means we are “cold,” but we often ignore what our bodies tell us through hunger, fullness, cravings, and satisfaction. It’s also easy to ignore our bodies when it comes to exercise. Exercising solely for an outside goal (like looking a certain way) instead of how it makes us feel (giving you energy or having fun) can really take the joy out of it. (Check out my colleague Kasey Shuler’s new book on the subject, “Move For Joy,” available now for preorder) Our bodies can be trusted when you (re)learn how to listen, and they often have a lot to say.
Recognizing my own suffering from living disconnected from my body, and knowing how this is reinforced in our culture makes me passionate about what I do—wanting everyone to avoid the same suffering I went through myself. I love helping people find the joy again in eating and in movement, taking care of ourselves while appreciating our bodies for what they do for us.
If you aren’t familiar with the Enneagram, I encourage you to check it out. I once heard “we owe it to those we love to know ourselves”—we love better when we understand and accept ourselves and each other. I’m sure at some point I’ll talk more about my fun-loving 7 husband and how he helps me live as a “healthier” 9w1! 🙂Follow me on social media: