An Ode to Enneagram 8s
I've mentioned the Enneagram before on my blog, mostly in reference to myself, of course. I'd like to bring it up again today, to shine a light on others.
So here's my PSA again for today, before I get started -- the Enneagram is an amazing tool that helps a lot of people understand themselves and others. If you're new to it, I recommend reading about the various types to try to figure out which one most resonates with you.
All of that being said --- I've been thinking a lot about the sweet Enneagram 8s in my life today. So, I'd like to highlight them today on my blog.
If you're unfamiliar with the numbers I'm talking about, here's a brief definition of what it means to be an 8 from The Enneagram Institute:
Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self- mastering, they use their strength to improve others' lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.
Eights are on my mind today after an amazing hike I went on this past weekend with my friend Ally. Ally recently discovered her Enneagram type, and I've seen the ways it has helped her articulate + understand herself better.
On this hike, we originally planned on completing a 5 mile loop around a mountain. Almost halfway through, we heard about a separate trail that led to a waterfall that would add about 2 miles to the overall trip.
Confession time: I am the worst about changing plans. When I have an idea of a plan in my mind, it's difficult for me to deviate from it. It's truly not my best quality.
But as soon as Ally heard there was a beautiful waterfall just a walk away, she started down the trail with total childlike wonder. I, of course, grumbled about it a bit.
Ally, who knows me and knows my hiking ability since we hike together a lot, simply kept going and said, "You'll complain now, but I know by the end of the day you're going to say, 'Thanks for making me go, it was totally worth it.'"
The thing is, she was right. I am incredibly sore today, but the hike was beautiful and worth every bit of it.
The 8s in my life, like Ally, push me outside my comfort zone constantly. Not just on hiking trails, or in physical feats (although often in that way). Somehow they know more than most of us their limits, and somehow they find the courage and strength to push themselves and others right up to that limit (+ beyond).
Here’s another story for you: A few years ago I went to the beach with my friend Abigail. It was the last night of the trip, and we were watching the sunset down on the beach. I was ready to pack up and head inside, when Abigail convinced me to hop in the ocean one last time. So, I eventually conceded and hopped in the water with her.
When we finally got in, we turned around and let my mom snap one last picture. It is still, to this day, one of my favorite memories and definitely my favorite beach picture of all time.
I say all of this to illustrate a point, but I hope you know that these lovely ladies don't stop at dragging me into physical feats. They also empower me to speak up when my voice isn't heard, to express my feelings when its difficult, and to make choices when I feel stuck. When times are tough, they are there, willing me through.
I had to write all of this, because I think 8s sometimes have a bad reputation. I want you to know that they are strong and tenderhearted. They will fight to the death for justice for those who are oppressed or overlooked. They feel things deeply and are motivated to act on them. They will make your life better in about a million ways.
If you know an 8, take today to hug them. If you don't know an 8 or you're unsure, meet some! Thank them for their amazing power and amazing hearts. Try to be a little more like them, today.