Living Basics

Welcome!

Following an introduction to the Living Enneagram, go a little deeper into an introduction of each point.

Overview

What is the Living Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a time-tested wisdom technology that supports human flourishing. Learning how is well worth your time.

The Enneagram is ancient, with unknown origins. Traces of its teachings can be found in Pythagoras, the early Christian monastics, Sufism, and other traditions. The symbol has nine points (ennea means nine), with connecting lines forming three shapes: a circle, a triangle, and a hexagon. Energy moves along these lines, making the Enneagram a dynamic symbol.

G.I. Gurdjieff called the Enneagram “the fundamental hieroglyph of a universal language which has as many different meanings as there are levels of people.” The Enneagram is a kind of Rosetta stone for mapping and relating different systems of knowledge.

Thus, there are many “Enneagrams.” The Living Enneagram combines two: the Personality Enneagram and the Process Enneagram. Each of the nine character types in the Personality Enneagram forms around, and takes on the characteristics of, its corresponding stage in the Process Enneagram, which maps a unverisal process of transformation.

The above video offers an overview.

 

The Process Enneagram describes nine stages in a universal process of transformation. Each of its Nine Points is one step on a journey which endlessly repeats as evolution continues to unfold. This process can be seen everywhere, large and small: from the caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly to the cosmic life cycle of a star.

All nine personality types move through all nine stages of change. Yet each type can get especially stuck in the stage of its number. For example, a Type One can get perfectionist around Stage One in its evolutionary process, namely, orienting to a core intention or values, and creating an appropriate holding environment.

Each type also becomes an “expert” on its related stage. It helps to know where your personality style faces particular challenges when growing and integrating, and what wisdom your style is especially suited to offer to others in their own process of change.


 

The Personality Enneagram describes nine character types, or personality styles. No Enneagram type is better or worse than any other. Nor are we reducible to any one “category.” The Personality Enneagram is not about putting us in boxes; it is about helping us to see the exact dimensions of the box of our own making . . . and thereby find freedom!

Everyone runs all nine personality patterns; yet, each of us runs one core type as our foundational pattern. We also frequently run the patterns of the numbers to which our type is connected by lines in the Enneagram symbol. For example, Type Eight is connected to Seven and Nine on the circle — it’s “wings.” And Eight is connected to Five and Two within the symbol — it’s “connecting lines.”

We each have a unique personality based on the infinitely various ways energy moves along these lines to exert influence on our core type, often in different areas or times of our lives. Other factors contribute to our uniqueness, such as how our instincts interact with our personality type, and how our personal history shapes our story.

Different teachers use different names for the nine types. The names are not as important as feeling into the patterns themselves. My names are shown in the above figure drawn by Margarita Fernandez in Claudio Naranjo’s watershed work, Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View.

Below you will find an introduction to each of the nine personality types.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Path of Growth

The Personality Enneagram gives us a map for finding more freedom from our conditioned personality patterns, as well as for developing these patterns over time in a process of integration.

In the Personality Enneagram tradition, Don Riso and Russ Hudson famously offered nine levels of development for each of the nine types, as found in their well-known work, The Wisdom of the Enneagram. In the below descriptions of the nine types, I provide under the Integration tab a few words for each level as pointers.

The Living Enneagram offers additional teachings facilitating growth, in that each personality type can discover where in the universal process of change it can fixate or stall.

Point One

Orientating

The first stage in any process is orienting to the given situation and forging an impulse to change conditions for the better. The first impression has a huge impact on the trajectory of growth. Type Ones strive for integrity by aligning with core values to begin new growth perfectly; yet a loud Inner Critic can stall growth & nit-pick others. Hard work at the beginning pays off in the end, but it can also create inflexibility around the One Right Way to do things. When the beginning can be accepted as “good enough,” growth can continue. Adjustments can be made as the process unfolds.

Seed: Potential Growth

In the life cycle of a bean plant, the seed is a very dry, tightly packed bundle of potential. Proper planting allows seed find the right proportions of water, heat, and oxygen. Some seeds never start growing.

The focus at Point One is on the purity of the initial intention — the “seed” of the project or activity — and on finding or creating the ideal conditions or “soil” for growth. Intention involves aligning activity with the relevant core values or standards. The first activity, imprint, or impression will have a huge impact on the journey. It is best to impress the intention — “plant the seed” — within most ideal conditions possible for optimal growth.

Perfectionist Reformer

When driven by Anger — an ongoing irritation that things are not properly fitting — Type Ones start Aligning: criticizing and precisely calibrating self, others, situations. Focus of Attention: what’s right/wrong & good/bad; noticing even the smallest errors.

Ones Forget: Reality is basically good & always perfectly fitting with itself. Ones strive to acquire goodness and make everything fit better. Ones do this through aggression towards their vitality and will: attempting to regulate, control and civilize their natural impulses. Ones Believe: I must work to be perfect because only perfect people are worthy of love and respect; good enough is never good enough. Ones work hard to create a better world & can worry excessively, taking on too much responsibility as the reformer. They have high ideals & align their conduct with internal standards. Ones Excel: at being objective, fair minded, and honing in on core values. Ones tend to be honest, responsible, dependable, and have a higher than average degree of commonsense.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Type One Personality

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

– Serenity Prayer

The Type One personality pattern is driven by anger or wrath. Anger shows up in what Oscar Ichazo called “standing against reality.” Type Ones use anger to control anger – constrain it, tame it, civilize it. It is an anger against anger.

With respect to their own well-being, Ones can direct their anger inward to improving themselves and perfecting their home and family environments. Anger thus shows up as a relentless Inner Critic.

Ones are notoriously different when they cut loose with friends or travel on a truly relaxing vacation. A One touring Australia with no particular plan, except enjoying every day anew, excitedly emailed a friend back in the United States with a revelation. “I discovered the secret to a good life: make every day back home feel like vacation!”

In personal relationships, Ones can direct their anger at improving others with an intention of being helpful. “Even when my wife is silent,” the partner of a One reported, “I can still feel the heat of her rising irritation with me. She’s like a portable space heater toasting and tensing the area around us until I stop whatever it is I’m doing.”

When Ones focus energy in the social realm, their actions can show up as an impassioned force for societal change. They tend to take public policy personally. It feels appropriate to express anger on behalf of others.

After quizzing a waitress about the biographies of the various fish in the dinner specials – where they were from, how they were caught – a Type One methodically scrolled through a new app on his smartphone. “None of these fish are acceptable by sustainable fishing standards,” he pointedly lectured. Without missing a beat, the waitress replied, “Well none of these fish dinners are going to be sustainable if no one eats them!”

Crusading Ones in the social arena strive to be the models of perfection. As a result, they struggle with hypocrisy. Twentieth Century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, likely a Type One, famously observed, “hypocrisy [is] an inevitable byproduct of all virtuous endeavor.”

Ones transmute anger into the virtue of serenity – the cool wisdom of letting go and forgiving that which cannot be changed. Niebuhr is also credited with writing the Serenity Prayer, adopted by many in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Ones gift our collective consciousness with a moral compass. Ones have an intuitive, gut-level wisdom of proper relating, proper consideration, proper boundaries, proper proportion, and proper spatial arrangement. These qualities guide the collective in evermore subtle, joyful flow as we continue the human journey of sharpening the edges of our uniqueness, that which makes each one of us special and beautiful.

You might be a Type One if you . . .

… focus your attention on alignment, what’s right versus wrong, and the smallest errors

are a wise judge with depth of feeling and a light heart

talk with polite precision, love the word “perfect,” and can be preachy

like enforcing ethics, cultivating character, & referencing core values

critique others with only a fraction of what your Inner Critic says

enjoy goodness being done – by whomever – and you do not need credit

are forgiving when people admit errors quickly

… numb your “bad” personal emotions by moving to “proper” impersonal standards

… get frustrated or sad when you feel like you are the only “responsible adult” in the room

… work hard to improve your life, the lives of people you love, and the lives of future generations

… shine when feeling empathy for others and when good humor infuses your hard work!

Path of Growth

When relaxing their reactivity, Ones start connecting with their authentic personal feelings and not just impersonal, objective standards of how things “ought to be.” Relaxation of anger and resentment invites true empathy with other people. Getting in touch with the sadness underneath their usual irritation is a portal into their hearts. This is how Point One connects with Point Four.

With integration, Ones can gently frame the Inner Critic and let it go with gratitude. In so doing, Ones are more willing to go with flow and be flexible. This opens the One to new thoughts, perspectives, and ways of living. It welcomes more positive outlook, pleasure, and spontaneity. This is how Point One connects with Point Seven.

At their best, Ones exude Serenity or “calm joy” by going with the flow in way that is peacefully awake, yet sizzling with exuberance. They embody the Higher Quality of Perfection – life’s natural goodness & order, complete just as it is even amidst apparent chaos. Ones are sincere, truthful and inspiring and, when relaxed, they are delightfully funny. There is less obsession with improvement projects — self, others, the world. Authentic acceptance actually facilitates the growth so deeply longed for. Integrated Ones radiate a beautiful mixture of hard work, dedication, humor, ease, and acceptance of themselves, others, and situations.

Point Two

Relating

The initial intention needs encouraging, nurturing, and resourcing. The second stage in any process is relating to others. Inspiration comes from teachers and true friends who have made the journey and who can provide needed resources — particularly emotional care. Type Twos naturally attend to the needs of others; yet their one-way attention can smoother others, and it can result in a state of dependency. Too often, it also comes with invisible strings attached. Genuine relating is a natural flow of give-and-take, which in of itself meets everyone’s needs reciprocally. Healthy relating facilitates inter-dependence.

Watering: Swelling Seed

In the second stage of the life cycle of a bean plant, the seed takes up water from the soil, but has not yet come to life. Water activates inner enzymes & seed expands in size. The seed needs moistening, but drowning suffocates it!

The focus at Point Two is on appropriate and genuine relating — neither intrusive nor artificial — and resourcing — the truly nurting amoung of “watering” flowing into the seed for its continued growth. Likewise, connecting with others who offer loving attention gives us what we need to see our ardous journey through to its end. 

Pleasing Helper

When driven by Pride — inordinate inflation or deflation of self worth — Twos start Influencing: plucking on others’ heart strings and flattering their egos to get them to give the attention the Two needs. Focus of Attention: other people’s needs, what others pride themselves on.

Twos Forget: Reality flows exactly as needed. Twos maneuver others into meeting their needs without the “shame” of having to ask directly. Twos do this through aggression towards their “unacceptable” true feelings and identity. Twos Believe: I must work hard to be loved in order to get my needs met; to be loveable, I must appear as having no needs. Twos shape-shift into the other’s heart’s desire. Twos feel good mainly when in the giving role and often resist directly receiving. Twos try to be indispensable and create dependencies, expecting their needs will be met tit-for-tat. They can get angry & histrionic when their hidden expectations for return giving are not met. Twos can be The (Too) Giving One by losing themselves self entirely or playing the martyr. Twos Excel: at spotting & nurturing potential in others, caring for people, and good communication skills. Twos tend to be very attentive and devoted to the ones they love.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Type Two Personality

If I could give you information of my life, it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths to do In His service what He has done in her. And if I could tell you all, you would see how God has done all, and I nothing.

– Florence Nightingale

There is a natural flow of give-and-take happening constantly. Twos love going with the flow of life. All needs are attended to naturally in this flow. In some religions, this is what it means to follow God’s will in humble service. Florence Nightingale, a likely Type Two, said if she could tell you everything about her, “you would see how God had done all, and I nothing.”

Twos struggle with pride. Twos naturally attune to others’ emotional needs and give attention to important others in a pleasing way. Others become increasingly dependent on the Two’s attention. Twos then experience the power to influence others emotionally, the power to influence the flow rather than simply going with it. This is how the Two gets their needs met covertly: through the return giving others feel compelled to provide.

With respect to their own well-being, Twos can please others by appearing childlike, no matter what their age. People tend to like receiving attention from innocence, and they naturally give in return. Or Twos can flip this dynamic by taking on a motherly role and tending to the inner child of others. In both of these ways, Twos tend to express entitlement to attention from others.

One Two recalled his days in the 1990s rave culture. “I was the ‘mother hen’ of our party crew, making sure everyone had enough water and candy and costume glitter. At the time, I’d get pissed off if friends brushed me off or asked me to ‘chill out.’ Looking back, I see how much I needed to be the caretaker. It felt good to feel needed.”

In personal relationships, Twos can please others seductively. Twos shape-shifts to appear as the heart’s desire of the other. People tend to enjoy being the object of flirtation and flattery, and Twos are masters of the art. All the shape-shifting, however, takes a toll: Twos are less in touch with their true feelings in relationships. “I admit I like the challenge of the hunt,” one Two reports. “But then even some of my friends end up falling in love with me. It gets me into drama because I don’t feel the same way.”

In the social arena, Twos tend to be more ambitious. They seduce environments and groups with their show of competence. Twos like becoming indispensible to groups and connecting people in ‘back-scratching networks’ or being the ‘power behind the throne’ of key leaders. Twos in the social arena also can be prone to spiritual pride – the martyr who sacrifices for the divine, while secretly keeping a heavenly scorecard.

The habits of pleasing and influencing imprison Twos in others’ expectations for continued giving and in their own expectations for return attention. Humble submission to life’s natural dance of give-and-take is freedom from all roles and expectations.

Twos gift our collective consciousness with a willingness to attend sensitively to the needs of other people. When able to express what they need directly, and when living from a place of authenticity, the power of the Two to nurture the best in all of us is boundless.

You might be a Type Two if you . . .

… focus your attention on others’ needs and their ego image of themselves: what puffs v. deflates

… can be unconditionally loving & truly altruistic when feeling healthy

… talk in sympathetic (“oh, you poor thing”) or haughty tones (“hrumph”)

… give unsolicited advice or try too hard to be “helpful”

… go to battle on behalf of your partners & loved ones

… are the best at choosing gifts with a personal touch

… over-connect by interrupting others or match their gestures, eye contact & interests

… are too touchy or struggle with good boundaries generally

… know others’ needs better than they do, yet your own needs are puzzle

… are very sensitive to feeling shame or you tend to take things too personally

…  shine when nurturing another’s potential while tending to your own as well!

Path of Growth

When relaxing their reactivity, Twos get passionate about identifying what they really want, need, and desire . . . and directly communicate that to the world. Greater embodiment supports stronger boundaries — physical and emotional. Pain sensitivity is also brought into balance, helping the Two to not take everything so personally. This is how Point Two connects with Point Eight.

With integration, Twos dive deeply into, and connect with, their own personal feelings, especially sadness. This allows the Two to discover the authentic self, apart from the eyes of others. A greater willingness to go into the dark parts of oneself, including so-called “selfish” motives and manipulations, invites the integration of these darker energies. Such deep-sea diving is often best done thru creative, artistic expression. This is how Point Two connects with Point Four.

At their best, Twos exude Humility — loving themselves as they are and expressing their own needs in appropriate proportion to their giving to others. Authenticity is found only in the freedom to be who we truly are — to offer our true gifts, without inflation or deflation, and without strings attached.

Integrated Twos begin to embody the Higher Quality of Freedom — flowing with life with no strings attached. Twos are naturally devotional, giving themselves in loving service, and Twos gifted at cultivating relationships. Twos create happenings where everyone feels at ease enough to blossom. Healthy Twos become exemplars of unconditional loving service, free of the burdens of exhaustive morphing or keeping score. Such Twos uplift people who need the most — rather than curry favor with a select few who are powerful — and they do so with grace and beauty, and from a place of integrity.

Point Three

Coming Forward

The third stage in any process of change is coming forward and making an effort. This is a period of trial and error. Efficient adaptation helps to find what works best to bring about value. There may also be a “fake it until you make it” confidence that helps moves things along in decisive action. Type Threes strive to feel valuable by through achieving their goals and presenting a winning image; yet the temptation to exaggerate wins, worth, and virtue can undermine honest success. When failure can be accepted as life’s best facilitator of transformation, the true prize is in reach: lasting self-change inspired by the priceless, felt sense of a deeper, inherent dignity that has nothing to do with outcomes.

Radicle: Coming to Life

In the third phase of the life cycle of a bean plant, the embryonic root within seed comes to life & breaks thru seed’s outer shell. Exactly how is still a mystery. Darwin said the “radicle” is like a brain: it moves based on receiving outside sensory impressions. The radicle moves propelled by its own energy, namely, the seed’s reserve of food.

The focus at Point Three in the process of transforming ourselves involes emerging from the nurturance of our teachers and our own inhibitions in order to act boldly and independently. Radiating is coming out & shining! This is a time of efforting to test our skills and competency. We push against our limits by getting into the arena of dynamic action and giving our best to be our best. Just as the radicle sensitively responds to the soil conditions around the seed in order to know how to move, at Point Three, we rely on a trusted audience to give us authentic feedback about our efforts so we can adjust and grow.

Achieving Performer

When driven by Vainglory — inflation of & deceit about one’s abilities, qualities, and successes — Threes start Performing: shamelessly doing or saying anything to be the best, win the audience. Focus of Attention: keeping up MY image: what’s valued in this context? What’s most efficient to producing or showing that value?

Threes Forget: Reality is already gloriously self-luminous. Threes do whatever it takes to win praise and glory. Threes habitually generate and display feelings attracting audience approval, becoming confused about their true feelings and identity. Threes Believe: I am valuable only for what I do; I must shine my credentials to get honor, attention, and love. Threes speed thru life and believe feelings slow things down too much. They so completely sell their stardom in any given context (best executive, best hippie, best artist, etc.) that they deceive themselves and others. Threes can be overly optimistic or lack all hope (“why try if I can’t win?”). Threes also can be the (Too) Radiant One—presenting as the most shining one at the expense of others. Threes Excel: at being adaptable, optimistic, and energetic. Threes are quick to spot best means to any goal and they make excellent mentors.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Type Three Personality

I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.

– Muhammad Ali

Existence is a mystery. On the surface, it seems obvious that we exist. Yet, on a deeper level, both science and introspection reveal we are empty of anything solid. Everything is constantly changing, constantly becoming, constantly adapting to everything else – all according to universal laws. From this perspective, all being is actually doing. There is no separate identity or self.

The Three in all of us creates an identity out of the doing of our personality type, our habit patterns. Identity is a deception – an elaborate fiction through which Reality can experience separation.

The Type Three personality pattern in the center of this grand deception, driven by vainglory, or deceit. Threes are so closely identified with what they do, what they present to others, that deception becomes existential fact rather than playful fiction. Threes do whatever it takes to win the shine of recognition – “you are valuable” – in the eyes of the relevant audience.

With respect to their own well-being, Threes work hard to prove their worthiness to themselves as much as others. Threes can get defensive about their virtue, creating a ‘vanity of having no vanity.’ One Three discovered a startling paradox. “One evening my partner kept bugging me to come to a romantic dinner she prepared,” she said. “I kept putting her off ‘a few more minutes’ while I powered through my to-do list. Then I realized, ‘I’m working hard to provide us with financial security so I can earn love.’ But her love was right there waiting all along!”

In personal relationships, Threes like to shine themselves so their partner shines, and vice-versa. Often this is done through a focus on gender roles in a kind of hyper-masculinity or hyper-femininity.

In the social arena or in groups, Threes can be openly boastful and exaggerating. Muhammad Ali, a likely Three, said, “I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be.” He also said, “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.”

Threes transmute vainglory into magnanimity, a big-hearted and civic-minded activity moving from a place of honest presentation of themselves in solidarity with others.

Threes gift the collective consciousness with the boldness to come forward and ‘be’ something, to engage in the play of incarnation in this human life, with its triumphs and tragedies. When we consciously inhabit the fiction of our identities, we become personas of Reality. When we realize the truth of emptiness behind the mask, and the corresponding truth of non-separation with others, our doing becomes an easeful, skillful service done for everyone’s benefit.

You might be a Type Three if you . . .

… focus your attention on keeping up your image: valuable v. not valuable

… are a genuine exemplar, while also being utterly modest and humble, when feeling healthy and integrated

… talk with gusto and confidence, motivating self & others for success

… obsess about To-Do lists and get unusual pleasure crossing things off

… see relationships and feelings as things ‘to do’ on your To-Do list

… take what’s at hand and transform it into something simple, yet elegant

… perform for the audience at hand & watch closely for any glimmer of approval

… perform for an imaginary audience when real people are not available

… rush too fast to prove your competence, showing off a premature excellence

… secretly believe you failed if you got second place

… shine when using you many talents to uplift the common good!

Path of Growth

When relaxing their reactivity, Threes start easing their incessant activity in order to live more presently in each moment. Dropping the deceit of having to show off a winning personality, Threes embrace simplicity and humility. They begin projects more in tune with their heart and with helping others, rather than advancing their own glory. This is how Point Three connects with Point Nine.

With integration, Threes accept foilbles and failures a natural part of the human journey. They skillfully use self-questioning to uncover more of the true self under all the masks and appearances. Rigorous self-honesty opens the Three to a flood of their true feelings and bonds the Three in the human family. We rise and fall together! This is how Point Three connects with Point Six.

At their best, Threes show Magnanimity — a generosity of communal spirit — by honoring everyone as worthy, as is. They embody the Higher Quality of Hope — a deep knowing that all will be well despite the outcome of their efforts & that this guarunteed “happy ending” ultimately is beyond their capacity to make it so. Integrated Threes know all people have unconditional, inherent dignity. They are dynamic, optimistic, creative, and they get things done, all in a spirit of big-hearted inclusiveness.

Point Four

Deepening

The fourth stage in the process of transformation is deepening into what lies beneath surface appearances in order to find the resources necessary to keep the journey going. This stage often involves dreams, metaphors, symbols, shadows, and interpretations. Type Fours strive for meaningful connection in the depths; yet their yearning for the “missing” resource that others seem to possess can prevent them from tapping into their own abundance. Creating meaning out suffering can facilitate resiliency so long as the artistic endeavor moves growth along, instead of descending into drama or melancholy as a way of attracting resources from others. When we can be like the vast sky holding the inclement weather of our difficult emotions, rather than being caught inside the storms, we are ready to face our fate with the steadiness of heart that will transmute our suffering into the resources we need.

Root: Digging Deep

At this stage in the life cycle of a bean plant, the seedling roots down seeking water and nutriments. The seed shell falls away and seedling uses seed’s stored food for energy as its roots penetrate layers of soil. Success depends on earlier stages of proper planting and watering. The further into the depths of ground, the more steady the plant will be on the surface.

The focus at Point Four in the Process Enneagram is on the painful gap between the ideal of our initial intention for the journey and the failure of our efforts to bring that intention to fruition. The wisdom of our teachers and friends can aid us, but ultimately we must deepen within ourselves to find our own resolve and resources. It turns out that our disowned shadows are the resources we seek, but they must be transmuted from raw negative energy into something of value. Transformation leads us towards death of some kind; yet, we also feel deeper into a ground that remains untouched by the process. We prepare to discover who we really are; not who we suppose or fabricate ourselves to be.

Tragic Individualist

When driven by Envy — comparing and longing for what others possess — Fours start Differentiating: idealizing self as either too distinct or special for the plebain massess, or too mundane and ordinary in relation to extraordinary others, and then reacting intensely. Focus of Attention: what’s absent or lacking; the best in what’s missing, the worst in what’s here.

Fours Forget: Reality has its own self-existing meaning. Fours strive to create meaning, especially a uniquely individual ‘self.’ Fours do this by passionately embellishing their feelings and absorbing the admired qualities of others. Fours Believe: I lost connection long ago—I was abandoned; I must be special to attract the connection others seem to have already. Fours attend to what is missing in any situation. They idealize self and others as overly meaningful or overly superficial. Fours magnetize others’ attention, yet frustrate connection: it undermines their specialness & outside help reinforces feelings of lack. Fours can resist structure (“my genius should be free!”). Fours can be The (Too) Exceptional One: showing haughty superiority over superficial others. Fours Excel: at identifying with others’ suffering and offering compassionate care. Fours tend to be emotionally deep and display distinct aesthetic sensibilities.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Type Four Personality

If I have not the power to put myself in the place of other people, but must be continually burrowing inward, I shall never be the magnanimous creative person I wish to be. Yet I am hypnotized by the workings of the individual, alone, and am continually using myself as a specimen.

– Sylvia Plath

 

There is a paradox concerning the Oneness of Reality: it is filled with infinite Difference. Somehow each of us is wholly connected and inseparable with the whole; yet each of us is also radically unique, beautiful, and meaningful.

The Type Four personality pattern is driven by envy for the forever missing ‘something.’ Fours struggle with fabricating authenticity. They create a unique, special, extraordinary ‘self.’ Rather than remaining with bare emotion, they embellish emotions as way of understanding – and creating – themselves, and then they seek validation of these emotional states from others.

With respect to the realm of their own well-being, many Fours differentiate themselves by showcasing an image of the ‘long-sufferer’ – the one who bears all suffering and works hard to get their own basic needs. One such Four exploded in irritation when his parents were alerted by another to his medical condition and offered to help. “It’s none of your business,” he told them, “I have to face this alone. Everyone bears their own cross, and this cross is mine!’”

In relationships, the Four who fixates on making an ‘artful identity’ creates a push-pull dynamic. Fours yearn to connect through being different (“my uniqueness will draw you to me”); yet, once connection is established it can feel like losing one’s specialness. The Four feels too ordinary, normal and longs to recapture the sense of difference – the new ‘missing piece’ – by breaking the connection thru rejection. A renewed feeling of being hopelessly lost and deficient then prompts the Four to re-connect, and so on.

Some Fours get highly competitive in personal relationships. Rather than bearing their own feeling of being painfully deficient, they take satisfaction in making others feel like they are the deficient ones. One such Four excoriated a friend on social media for not “feeling deeply enough” about a national tragedy.

In the social arena or in groups, Fours can differentiate themselves by displaying their suffering and lack in order to invite rescue: “Nobody in my family gets me!”

Fours gift the collective consciousness with a rich sense of the content and importance of our personal stories and contributions. We are on a journey of infinite differentiation within this mystery of Presence. Embracing the mystery and paradox of each singularly individual life set within this unified whole makes life truly meaningful on its own terms.

You might be a Type Four if you . . .

… focus your attention on lack: best in what’s missing & worst in what’s here

… can be gentle, sensitive, and deep, and you are engaged in work caring for others, particularly the misfits of society

… talk in a colorful range of emotions, yet also <sigh!> more than most people

… get impatient & stir things up when life is predictable, mundane, “ordinary”

… keep moving things back to chaotic intensity, like a moth to a flame

… demand others understand your feelings, yet you also insist on being mysterious

… find yourself in odd, dramatic happenings or crises more than others

… display unusual or sophisticated aesthetic touches in your home or attire

… feel most comfortable when everyone else is also sharing their feelings

… are the person with whom others easily share their dark secrets

… shine when empathizing with others with a steady, attuned, balanced heart!

Path of Growth

When relaxing their reactivity, Fours properly proportion their self-absorbed emotional highs & lows so as to make room for the emotions of others. This allows the Four to offer emotional support to others, finding a life in service more meaningful than the personalized quest to be unique. Fours tap into their inner abundance to balance out the story-line of inner lack, sadness, deficiency, and tragedy. This is how Point Four connects with Point Two.

With integration, Fours build more structure into their lives in order to support their natural creativity and helpfully discipline their chaotic impulses. Ethics and a sense of higher purpose loosens the Four’s insistence on the validity of their subjectivity and stabilizes the Four’s inner world with fair evaluation and reality checking. Authenticity is no longer found in mimicking snippets of the lives of other people, or by embellishing emotional states; instead it is found by tuning into the Four’s objective, precise, and truthful sensations and feelings. Fours who align creativity with core values model a precious flowering of particularity for all to celebrate. This is how Point Four connects with Point One.

At their best, Fours show Equanimity — balanced engagement — with respect to their emotions and their assessment of happenings. Such Fours naturally pair an even-keel calmness with their sensitivity. They embody the Higher Quality of Sacred Origin, the all-pervasive extra-ordinariness of life. Such Fours are truly one-of-a-kind, fascinating individuals.

Point Five

Orientating

The first stage in any process is orienting to the given situation and forging an impulse to change conditions for the better. The first impression has a huge impact on the trajectory of growth. Type Ones strive for integrity by aligning with core values to begin new growth perfectly; yet a loud Inner Critic can stall growth & nit-pick others. Hard work at the beginning pays off in the end, but it can also create inflexibility around the One Right Way to do things. When the beginning can be accepted as “good enough,” growth can continue. Adjustments can be made as the process unfolds.

Seed: Potential Growth

In the life cycle of a bean plant, the seed is a very dry, tightly packed bundle of potential. Proper planting allows seed find the right proportions of water, heat, and oxygen. Some seeds never start growing.

The focus at Point One is on the purity of the initial intention — the “seed” of the project or activity — and on finding or creating the ideal conditions or “soil” for growth. Intention involves aligning activity with the relevant core values or standards. The first activity, imprint, or impression will have a huge impact on the journey. It is best to impress the intention — “plant the seed” — within most ideal conditions possible for optimal growth.

Perfectionist Reformer

When driven by Anger — an ongoing irritation that things are not properly fitting — Type Ones start Aligning: criticizing and precisely calibrating self, others, situations. Focus of Attention: what’s right/wrong & good/bad; noticing even the smallest errors.

Ones Forget: Reality is basically good & always perfectly fitting with itself. Ones strive to acquire goodness and make everything fit better. Ones do this through aggression towards their vitality and will: attempting to regulate, control and civilize their natural impulses. Ones Believe: I must work to be perfect because only perfect people are worthy of love and respect; good enough is never good enough. Ones work hard to create a better world & can worry excessively, taking on too much responsibility as the reformer. They have high ideals & align their conduct with internal standards. Ones Excel: at being objective, fair minded, and honing in on core values. Ones tend to be honest, responsible, dependable, and have a higher than average degree of commonsense.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Type One Personality

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

– Serenity Prayer

The Type One personality pattern is driven by anger or wrath. Anger shows up in what Oscar Ichazo called “standing against reality.” Type Ones use anger to control anger – constrain it, tame it, civilize it. It is an anger against anger.

With respect to their own well-being, Ones can direct their anger inward to improving themselves and perfecting their home and family environments. Anger thus shows up as a relentless Inner Critic.

Ones are notoriously different when they cut loose with friends or travel on a truly relaxing vacation. A One touring Australia with no particular plan, except enjoying every day anew, excitedly emailed a friend back in the United States with a revelation. “I discovered the secret to a good life: make every day back home feel like vacation!”

In personal relationships, Ones can direct their anger at improving others with an intention of being helpful. “Even when my wife is silent,” the partner of a One reported, “I can still feel the heat of her rising irritation with me. She’s like a portable space heater toasting and tensing the area around us until I stop whatever it is I’m doing.”

When Ones focus energy in the social realm, their actions can show up as an impassioned force for societal change. They tend to take public policy personally. It feels appropriate to express anger on behalf of others.

After quizzing a waitress about the biographies of the various fish in the dinner specials – where they were from, how they were caught – a Type One methodically scrolled through a new app on his smartphone. “None of these fish are acceptable by sustainable fishing standards,” he pointedly lectured. Without missing a beat, the waitress replied, “Well none of these fish dinners are going to be sustainable if no one eats them!”

Crusading Ones in the social arena strive to be the models of perfection. As a result, they struggle with hypocrisy. Twentieth Century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, likely a Type One, famously observed, “hypocrisy [is] an inevitable byproduct of all virtuous endeavor.”

Ones transmute anger into the virtue of serenity – the cool wisdom of letting go and forgiving that which cannot be changed. Niebuhr is also credited with writing the Serenity Prayer, adopted by many in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Ones gift our collective consciousness with a moral compass. Ones have an intuitive, gut-level wisdom of proper relating, proper consideration, proper boundaries, proper proportion, and proper spatial arrangement. These qualities guide the collective in evermore subtle, joyful flow as we continue the human journey of sharpening the edges of our uniqueness, that which makes each one of us special and beautiful.

“You might be a Type One if you . . .

… focus your attention on alignment, what’s right versus wrong, and the smallest errors

are a wise judge with depth of feeling and a light heart

talk with polite precision, love the word “perfect,” and can be preachy

like enforcing ethics, cultivating character, & referencing core values

critique others with only a fraction of what your Inner Critic says

enjoy goodness being done – by whomever – and you do not need credit

are forgiving when people admit errors quickly

… numb your “bad” personal emotions by moving to “proper” impersonal standards

… get frustrated or sad when you feel like you are the only “responsible adult” in the room

… work hard to improve your life, the lives of people you love, and the lives of future generations

… shine when feeling empathy for others and when good humor infuses your hard work!

Path of Growth

When relaxing their reactivity, Ones start connecting with their authentic personal feelings and not just impersonal, objective standards of how things “ought to be.” Relaxation of anger and resentment invites true empathy with other people. Getting in touch with the sadness underneath their usual irritation is a portal into their hearts. This is how Point One connects with Point Four.

With integration, Ones can gently frame the Inner Critic and let it go with gratitude. In so doing, Ones are more willing to go with flow and be flexible. This opens the One to new thoughts, perspectives, and ways of living. It welcomes more positive outlook, pleasure, and spontaneity. This is how Point One connects with Point Seven.

At their best, Ones exude Serenity or “calm joy” by going with the flow in way that is peacefully awake, yet sizzling with exuberance. They embody the Higher Quality of Perfection – life’s natural goodness & order, complete just as it is even amidst apparent chaos. Ones are sincere, truthful and inspiring and, when relaxed, they are delightfully funny. There is less obsession with improvement projects — self, others, the world. Authentic acceptance actually facilitates the growth so deeply longed for. Integrated Ones radiate a beautiful mixture of hard work, dedication, humor, ease, and acceptance of themselves, others, and situations.

Point Six

Orientating

The first stage in any process is orienting to the given situation and forging an impulse to change conditions for the better. The first impression has a huge impact on the trajectory of growth. Type Ones strive for integrity by aligning with core values to begin new growth perfectly; yet a loud Inner Critic can stall growth & nit-pick others. Hard work at the beginning pays off in the end, but it can also create inflexibility around the One Right Way to do things. When the beginning can be accepted as “good enough,” growth can continue. Adjustments can be made as the process unfolds.

Seed: Potential Growth

In the life cycle of a bean plant, the seed is a very dry, tightly packed bundle of potential. Proper planting allows seed find the right proportions of water, heat, and oxygen. Some seeds never start growing.

The focus at Point One is on the purity of the initial intention — the “seed” of the project or activity — and on finding or creating the ideal conditions or “soil” for growth. Intention involves aligning activity with the relevant core values or standards. The first activity, imprint, or impression will have a huge impact on the journey. It is best to impress the intention — “plant the seed” — within most ideal conditions possible for optimal growth.

Perfectionist Reformer

When driven by Anger — an ongoing irritation that things are not properly fitting — Type Ones start Aligning: criticizing and precisely calibrating self, others, situations. Focus of Attention: what’s right/wrong & good/bad; noticing even the smallest errors.

Ones Forget: Reality is basically good & always perfectly fitting with itself. Ones strive to acquire goodness and make everything fit better. Ones do this through aggression towards their vitality and will: attempting to regulate, control and civilize their natural impulses. Ones Believe: I must work to be perfect because only perfect people are worthy of love and respect; good enough is never good enough. Ones work hard to create a better world & can worry excessively, taking on too much responsibility as the reformer. They have high ideals & align their conduct with internal standards. Ones Excel: at being objective, fair minded, and honing in on core values. Ones tend to be honest, responsible, dependable, and have a higher than average degree of commonsense.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Type One Personality

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

– Serenity Prayer

The Type One personality pattern is driven by anger or wrath. Anger shows up in what Oscar Ichazo called “standing against reality.” Type Ones use anger to control anger – constrain it, tame it, civilize it. It is an anger against anger.

With respect to their own well-being, Ones can direct their anger inward to improving themselves and perfecting their home and family environments. Anger thus shows up as a relentless Inner Critic.

Ones are notoriously different when they cut loose with friends or travel on a truly relaxing vacation. A One touring Australia with no particular plan, except enjoying every day anew, excitedly emailed a friend back in the United States with a revelation. “I discovered the secret to a good life: make every day back home feel like vacation!”

In personal relationships, Ones can direct their anger at improving others with an intention of being helpful. “Even when my wife is silent,” the partner of a One reported, “I can still feel the heat of her rising irritation with me. She’s like a portable space heater toasting and tensing the area around us until I stop whatever it is I’m doing.”

When Ones focus energy in the social realm, their actions can show up as an impassioned force for societal change. They tend to take public policy personally. It feels appropriate to express anger on behalf of others.

After quizzing a waitress about the biographies of the various fish in the dinner specials – where they were from, how they were caught – a Type One methodically scrolled through a new app on his smartphone. “None of these fish are acceptable by sustainable fishing standards,” he pointedly lectured. Without missing a beat, the waitress replied, “Well none of these fish dinners are going to be sustainable if no one eats them!”

Crusading Ones in the social arena strive to be the models of perfection. As a result, they struggle with hypocrisy. Twentieth Century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, likely a Type One, famously observed, “hypocrisy [is] an inevitable byproduct of all virtuous endeavor.”

Ones transmute anger into the virtue of serenity – the cool wisdom of letting go and forgiving that which cannot be changed. Niebuhr is also credited with writing the Serenity Prayer, adopted by many in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Ones gift our collective consciousness with a moral compass. Ones have an intuitive, gut-level wisdom of proper relating, proper consideration, proper boundaries, proper proportion, and proper spatial arrangement. These qualities guide the collective in evermore subtle, joyful flow as we continue the human journey of sharpening the edges of our uniqueness, that which makes each one of us special and beautiful.

“You might be a Type One if you . . .

… focus your attention on alignment, what’s right versus wrong, and the smallest errors

are a wise judge with depth of feeling and a light heart

talk with polite precision, love the word “perfect,” and can be preachy

like enforcing ethics, cultivating character, & referencing core values

critique others with only a fraction of what your Inner Critic says

enjoy goodness being done – by whomever – and you do not need credit

are forgiving when people admit errors quickly

… numb your “bad” personal emotions by moving to “proper” impersonal standards

… get frustrated or sad when you feel like you are the only “responsible adult” in the room

… work hard to improve your life, the lives of people you love, and the lives of future generations

… shine when feeling empathy for others and when good humor infuses your hard work!

Path of Growth

When relaxing their reactivity, Ones start connecting with their authentic personal feelings and not just impersonal, objective standards of how things “ought to be.” Relaxation of anger and resentment invites true empathy with other people. Getting in touch with the sadness underneath their usual irritation is a portal into their hearts. This is how Point One connects with Point Four.

With integration, Ones can gently frame the Inner Critic and let it go with gratitude. In so doing, Ones are more willing to go with flow and be flexible. This opens the One to new thoughts, perspectives, and ways of living. It welcomes more positive outlook, pleasure, and spontaneity. This is how Point One connects with Point Seven.

At their best, Ones exude Serenity or “calm joy” by going with the flow in way that is peacefully awake, yet sizzling with exuberance. They embody the Higher Quality of Perfection – life’s natural goodness & order, complete just as it is even amidst apparent chaos. Ones are sincere, truthful and inspiring and, when relaxed, they are delightfully funny. There is less obsession with improvement projects — self, others, the world. Authentic acceptance actually facilitates the growth so deeply longed for. Integrated Ones radiate a beautiful mixture of hard work, dedication, humor, ease, and acceptance of themselves, others, and situations.

Point Seven

Orientating

The first stage in any process is orienting to the given situation and forging an impulse to change conditions for the better. The first impression has a huge impact on the trajectory of growth. Type Ones strive for integrity by aligning with core values to begin new growth perfectly; yet a loud Inner Critic can stall growth & nit-pick others. Hard work at the beginning pays off in the end, but it can also create inflexibility around the One Right Way to do things. When the beginning can be accepted as “good enough,” growth can continue. Adjustments can be made as the process unfolds.

Seed: Potential Growth

In the life cycle of a bean plant, the seed is a very dry, tightly packed bundle of potential. Proper planting allows seed find the right proportions of water, heat, and oxygen. Some seeds never start growing.

The focus at Point One is on the purity of the initial intention — the “seed” of the project or activity — and on finding or creating the ideal conditions or “soil” for growth. Intention involves aligning activity with the relevant core values or standards. The first activity, imprint, or impression will have a huge impact on the journey. It is best to impress the intention — “plant the seed” — within most ideal conditions possible for optimal growth.

Perfectionist Reformer

When driven by Anger — an ongoing irritation that things are not properly fitting — Type Ones start Aligning: criticizing and precisely calibrating self, others, situations. Focus of Attention: what’s right/wrong & good/bad; noticing even the smallest errors.

Ones Forget: Reality is basically good & always perfectly fitting with itself. Ones strive to acquire goodness and make everything fit better. Ones do this through aggression towards their vitality and will: attempting to regulate, control and civilize their natural impulses. Ones Believe: I must work to be perfect because only perfect people are worthy of love and respect; good enough is never good enough. Ones work hard to create a better world & can worry excessively, taking on too much responsibility as the reformer. They have high ideals & align their conduct with internal standards. Ones Excel: at being objective, fair minded, and honing in on core values. Ones tend to be honest, responsible, dependable, and have a higher than average degree of commonsense.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Type One Personality

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

– Serenity Prayer

The Type One personality pattern is driven by anger or wrath. Anger shows up in what Oscar Ichazo called “standing against reality.” Type Ones use anger to control anger – constrain it, tame it, civilize it. It is an anger against anger.

With respect to their own well-being, Ones can direct their anger inward to improving themselves and perfecting their home and family environments. Anger thus shows up as a relentless Inner Critic.

Ones are notoriously different when they cut loose with friends or travel on a truly relaxing vacation. A One touring Australia with no particular plan, except enjoying every day anew, excitedly emailed a friend back in the United States with a revelation. “I discovered the secret to a good life: make every day back home feel like vacation!”

In personal relationships, Ones can direct their anger at improving others with an intention of being helpful. “Even when my wife is silent,” the partner of a One reported, “I can still feel the heat of her rising irritation with me. She’s like a portable space heater toasting and tensing the area around us until I stop whatever it is I’m doing.”

When Ones focus energy in the social realm, their actions can show up as an impassioned force for societal change. They tend to take public policy personally. It feels appropriate to express anger on behalf of others.

After quizzing a waitress about the biographies of the various fish in the dinner specials – where they were from, how they were caught – a Type One methodically scrolled through a new app on his smartphone. “None of these fish are acceptable by sustainable fishing standards,” he pointedly lectured. Without missing a beat, the waitress replied, “Well none of these fish dinners are going to be sustainable if no one eats them!”

Crusading Ones in the social arena strive to be the models of perfection. As a result, they struggle with hypocrisy. Twentieth Century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, likely a Type One, famously observed, “hypocrisy [is] an inevitable byproduct of all virtuous endeavor.”

Ones transmute anger into the virtue of serenity – the cool wisdom of letting go and forgiving that which cannot be changed. Niebuhr is also credited with writing the Serenity Prayer, adopted by many in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Ones gift our collective consciousness with a moral compass. Ones have an intuitive, gut-level wisdom of proper relating, proper consideration, proper boundaries, proper proportion, and proper spatial arrangement. These qualities guide the collective in evermore subtle, joyful flow as we continue the human journey of sharpening the edges of our uniqueness, that which makes each one of us special and beautiful.

“You might be a Type One if you . . .

… focus your attention on alignment, what’s right versus wrong, and the smallest errors

are a wise judge with depth of feeling and a light heart

talk with polite precision, love the word “perfect,” and can be preachy

like enforcing ethics, cultivating character, & referencing core values

critique others with only a fraction of what your Inner Critic says

enjoy goodness being done – by whomever – and you do not need credit

are forgiving when people admit errors quickly

… numb your “bad” personal emotions by moving to “proper” impersonal standards

… get frustrated or sad when you feel like you are the only “responsible adult” in the room

… work hard to improve your life, the lives of people you love, and the lives of future generations

… shine when feeling empathy for others and when good humor infuses your hard work!

Path of Growth

When relaxing their reactivity, Ones start connecting with their authentic personal feelings and not just impersonal, objective standards of how things “ought to be.” Relaxation of anger and resentment invites true empathy with other people. Getting in touch with the sadness underneath their usual irritation is a portal into their hearts. This is how Point One connects with Point Four.

With integration, Ones can gently frame the Inner Critic and let it go with gratitude. In so doing, Ones are more willing to go with flow and be flexible. This opens the One to new thoughts, perspectives, and ways of living. It welcomes more positive outlook, pleasure, and spontaneity. This is how Point One connects with Point Seven.

At their best, Ones exude Serenity or “calm joy” by going with the flow in way that is peacefully awake, yet sizzling with exuberance. They embody the Higher Quality of Perfection – life’s natural goodness & order, complete just as it is even amidst apparent chaos. Ones are sincere, truthful and inspiring and, when relaxed, they are delightfully funny. There is less obsession with improvement projects — self, others, the world. Authentic acceptance actually facilitates the growth so deeply longed for. Integrated Ones radiate a beautiful mixture of hard work, dedication, humor, ease, and acceptance of themselves, others, and situations.

Point Eight

Orientating

The first stage in any process is orienting to the given situation and forging an impulse to change conditions for the better. The first impression has a huge impact on the trajectory of growth. Type Ones strive for integrity by aligning with core values to begin new growth perfectly; yet a loud Inner Critic can stall growth & nit-pick others. Hard work at the beginning pays off in the end, but it can also create inflexibility around the One Right Way to do things. When the beginning can be accepted as “good enough,” growth can continue. Adjustments can be made as the process unfolds.

Seed: Potential Growth

In the life cycle of a bean plant, the seed is a very dry, tightly packed bundle of potential. Proper planting allows seed find the right proportions of water, heat, and oxygen. Some seeds never start growing.

The focus at Point One is on the purity of the initial intention — the “seed” of the project or activity — and on finding or creating the ideal conditions or “soil” for growth. Intention involves aligning activity with the relevant core values or standards. The first activity, imprint, or impression will have a huge impact on the journey. It is best to impress the intention — “plant the seed” — within most ideal conditions possible for optimal growth.

Perfectionist Reformer

When driven by Anger — an ongoing irritation that things are not properly fitting — Type Ones start Aligning: criticizing and precisely calibrating self, others, situations. Focus of Attention: what’s right/wrong & good/bad; noticing even the smallest errors.

Ones Forget: Reality is basically good & always perfectly fitting with itself. Ones strive to acquire goodness and make everything fit better. Ones do this through aggression towards their vitality and will: attempting to regulate, control and civilize their natural impulses. Ones Believe: I must work to be perfect because only perfect people are worthy of love and respect; good enough is never good enough. Ones work hard to create a better world & can worry excessively, taking on too much responsibility as the reformer. They have high ideals & align their conduct with internal standards. Ones Excel: at being objective, fair minded, and honing in on core values. Ones tend to be honest, responsible, dependable, and have a higher than average degree of commonsense.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Type One Personality

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

– Serenity Prayer

The Type One personality pattern is driven by anger or wrath. Anger shows up in what Oscar Ichazo called “standing against reality.” Type Ones use anger to control anger – constrain it, tame it, civilize it. It is an anger against anger.

With respect to their own well-being, Ones can direct their anger inward to improving themselves and perfecting their home and family environments. Anger thus shows up as a relentless Inner Critic.

Ones are notoriously different when they cut loose with friends or travel on a truly relaxing vacation. A One touring Australia with no particular plan, except enjoying every day anew, excitedly emailed a friend back in the United States with a revelation. “I discovered the secret to a good life: make every day back home feel like vacation!”

In personal relationships, Ones can direct their anger at improving others with an intention of being helpful. “Even when my wife is silent,” the partner of a One reported, “I can still feel the heat of her rising irritation with me. She’s like a portable space heater toasting and tensing the area around us until I stop whatever it is I’m doing.”

When Ones focus energy in the social realm, their actions can show up as an impassioned force for societal change. They tend to take public policy personally. It feels appropriate to express anger on behalf of others.

After quizzing a waitress about the biographies of the various fish in the dinner specials – where they were from, how they were caught – a Type One methodically scrolled through a new app on his smartphone. “None of these fish are acceptable by sustainable fishing standards,” he pointedly lectured. Without missing a beat, the waitress replied, “Well none of these fish dinners are going to be sustainable if no one eats them!”

Crusading Ones in the social arena strive to be the models of perfection. As a result, they struggle with hypocrisy. Twentieth Century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, likely a Type One, famously observed, “hypocrisy [is] an inevitable byproduct of all virtuous endeavor.”

Ones transmute anger into the virtue of serenity – the cool wisdom of letting go and forgiving that which cannot be changed. Niebuhr is also credited with writing the Serenity Prayer, adopted by many in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Ones gift our collective consciousness with a moral compass. Ones have an intuitive, gut-level wisdom of proper relating, proper consideration, proper boundaries, proper proportion, and proper spatial arrangement. These qualities guide the collective in evermore subtle, joyful flow as we continue the human journey of sharpening the edges of our uniqueness, that which makes each one of us special and beautiful.

“You might be a Type One if you . . .

… focus your attention on alignment, what’s right versus wrong, and the smallest errors

are a wise judge with depth of feeling and a light heart

talk with polite precision, love the word “perfect,” and can be preachy

like enforcing ethics, cultivating character, & referencing core values

critique others with only a fraction of what your Inner Critic says

enjoy goodness being done – by whomever – and you do not need credit

are forgiving when people admit errors quickly

… numb your “bad” personal emotions by moving to “proper” impersonal standards

… get frustrated or sad when you feel like you are the only “responsible adult” in the room

… work hard to improve your life, the lives of people you love, and the lives of future generations

… shine when feeling empathy for others and when good humor infuses your hard work!

Path of Growth

When relaxing their reactivity, Ones start connecting with their authentic personal feelings and not just impersonal, objective standards of how things “ought to be.” Relaxation of anger and resentment invites true empathy with other people. Getting in touch with the sadness underneath their usual irritation is a portal into their hearts. This is how Point One connects with Point Four.

With integration, Ones can gently frame the Inner Critic and let it go with gratitude. In so doing, Ones are more willing to go with flow and be flexible. This opens the One to new thoughts, perspectives, and ways of living. It welcomes more positive outlook, pleasure, and spontaneity. This is how Point One connects with Point Seven.

At their best, Ones exude Serenity or “calm joy” by going with the flow in way that is peacefully awake, yet sizzling with exuberance. They embody the Higher Quality of Perfection – life’s natural goodness & order, complete just as it is even amidst apparent chaos. Ones are sincere, truthful and inspiring and, when relaxed, they are delightfully funny. There is less obsession with improvement projects — self, others, the world. Authentic acceptance actually facilitates the growth so deeply longed for. Integrated Ones radiate a beautiful mixture of hard work, dedication, humor, ease, and acceptance of themselves, others, and situations.

Point Nine

Orientating

The first stage in any process is orienting to the given situation and forging an impulse to change conditions for the better. The first impression has a huge impact on the trajectory of growth. Type Ones strive for integrity by aligning with core values to begin new growth perfectly; yet a loud Inner Critic can stall growth & nit-pick others. Hard work at the beginning pays off in the end, but it can also create inflexibility around the One Right Way to do things. When the beginning can be accepted as “good enough,” growth can continue. Adjustments can be made as the process unfolds.

Seed: Potential Growth

In the life cycle of a bean plant, the seed is a very dry, tightly packed bundle of potential. Proper planting allows seed find the right proportions of water, heat, and oxygen. Some seeds never start growing.

The focus at Point One is on the purity of the initial intention — the “seed” of the project or activity — and on finding or creating the ideal conditions or “soil” for growth. Intention involves aligning activity with the relevant core values or standards. The first activity, imprint, or impression will have a huge impact on the journey. It is best to impress the intention — “plant the seed” — within most ideal conditions possible for optimal growth.

Perfectionist Reformer

When driven by Anger — an ongoing irritation that things are not properly fitting — Type Ones start Aligning: criticizing and precisely calibrating self, others, situations. Focus of Attention: what’s right/wrong & good/bad; noticing even the smallest errors.

Ones Forget: Reality is basically good & always perfectly fitting with itself. Ones strive to acquire goodness and make everything fit better. Ones do this through aggression towards their vitality and will: attempting to regulate, control and civilize their natural impulses. Ones Believe: I must work to be perfect because only perfect people are worthy of love and respect; good enough is never good enough. Ones work hard to create a better world & can worry excessively, taking on too much responsibility as the reformer. They have high ideals & align their conduct with internal standards. Ones Excel: at being objective, fair minded, and honing in on core values. Ones tend to be honest, responsible, dependable, and have a higher than average degree of commonsense.

Sketch by Margarita Fernandez, in Naranjo, Claudio, M.D.  Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/DHHB, Inc. 1994. Page 20.

Type One Personality

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

– Serenity Prayer

The Type One personality pattern is driven by anger or wrath. Anger shows up in what Oscar Ichazo called “standing against reality.” Type Ones use anger to control anger – constrain it, tame it, civilize it. It is an anger against anger.

With respect to their own well-being, Ones can direct their anger inward to improving themselves and perfecting their home and family environments. Anger thus shows up as a relentless Inner Critic.

Ones are notoriously different when they cut loose with friends or travel on a truly relaxing vacation. A One touring Australia with no particular plan, except enjoying every day anew, excitedly emailed a friend back in the United States with a revelation. “I discovered the secret to a good life: make every day back home feel like vacation!”

In personal relationships, Ones can direct their anger at improving others with an intention of being helpful. “Even when my wife is silent,” the partner of a One reported, “I can still feel the heat of her rising irritation with me. She’s like a portable space heater toasting and tensing the area around us until I stop whatever it is I’m doing.”

When Ones focus energy in the social realm, their actions can show up as an impassioned force for societal change. They tend to take public policy personally. It feels appropriate to express anger on behalf of others.

After quizzing a waitress about the biographies of the various fish in the dinner specials – where they were from, how they were caught – a Type One methodically scrolled through a new app on his smartphone. “None of these fish are acceptable by sustainable fishing standards,” he pointedly lectured. Without missing a beat, the waitress replied, “Well none of these fish dinners are going to be sustainable if no one eats them!”

Crusading Ones in the social arena strive to be the models of perfection. As a result, they struggle with hypocrisy. Twentieth Century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, likely a Type One, famously observed, “hypocrisy [is] an inevitable byproduct of all virtuous endeavor.”

Ones transmute anger into the virtue of serenity – the cool wisdom of letting go and forgiving that which cannot be changed. Niebuhr is also credited with writing the Serenity Prayer, adopted by many in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Ones gift our collective consciousness with a moral compass. Ones have an intuitive, gut-level wisdom of proper relating, proper consideration, proper boundaries, proper proportion, and proper spatial arrangement. These qualities guide the collective in evermore subtle, joyful flow as we continue the human journey of sharpening the edges of our uniqueness, that which makes each one of us special and beautiful.

“You might be a Type One if you . . .

… focus your attention on alignment, what’s right versus wrong, and the smallest errors

are a wise judge with depth of feeling and a light heart

talk with polite precision, love the word “perfect,” and can be preachy

like enforcing ethics, cultivating character, & referencing core values

critique others with only a fraction of what your Inner Critic says

enjoy goodness being done – by whomever – and you do not need credit

are forgiving when people admit errors quickly

… numb your “bad” personal emotions by moving to “proper” impersonal standards

… get frustrated or sad when you feel like you are the only “responsible adult” in the room

… work hard to improve your life, the lives of people you love, and the lives of future generations

… shine when feeling empathy for others and when good humor infuses your hard work!

Path of Growth

When relaxing their reactivity, Ones start connecting with their authentic personal feelings and not just impersonal, objective standards of how things “ought to be.” Relaxation of anger and resentment invites true empathy with other people. Getting in touch with the sadness underneath their usual irritation is a portal into their hearts. This is how Point One connects with Point Four.

With integration, Ones can gently frame the Inner Critic and let it go with gratitude. In so doing, Ones are more willing to go with flow and be flexible. This opens the One to new thoughts, perspectives, and ways of living. It welcomes more positive outlook, pleasure, and spontaneity. This is how Point One connects with Point Seven.

At their best, Ones exude Serenity or “calm joy” by going with the flow in way that is peacefully awake, yet sizzling with exuberance. They embody the Higher Quality of Perfection – life’s natural goodness & order, complete just as it is even amidst apparent chaos. Ones are sincere, truthful and inspiring and, when relaxed, they are delightfully funny. There is less obsession with improvement projects — self, others, the world. Authentic acceptance actually facilitates the growth so deeply longed for. Integrated Ones radiate a beautiful mixture of hard work, dedication, humor, ease, and acceptance of themselves, others, and situations.

 

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