Chris WrightChris Wright is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. He sees clients in the Washington, D.C. area and has telephone clients from all over the world. He also has over 35 years of experience as a trainer and workshop leader in human and organizational development across the U.S. and Canada. Chris was founder and director of the Human Relations Institute in Houston, Texas. He was also the Director of PAIRS International -- training psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in couple’s skills programs. As an innovator in the field, he has developed a unique blend of tools that increase the effectiveness in relationships -- for couples and in the workplace. He has Masters Degrees from the University of Arizona and Antioch University in Los Angeles.
Host:What does an Enneagram teach us about self-awareness?
Chris Wright:The Enneagram personality system has really three different levels of understanding our awareness of the personality. Remember, the Enneagram focuses on what your gifts are, as well as the pressure that show up in your personality and your needs.
In the first level of understanding, you will see on the chart. The first level is learning the system. What are the different nine types the profiles, it is the psychological aspect of the Enneagram, how a nine shows up, how a five shows up and this is what most maybe 90% of all the books and literature on the Enneagram teach this first level of understanding. So, it is a psychological profile of each type and the effected people gain from it is that they have a sense that, Yeah, I am a eight with alined to two or I am a four, I am six and that s who I am and that it is natural that way. Maybe 95% of the people who know the Enneagram consist the level of they understand the Enneagram, but there is a second level of understanding that is even more powerful and particularly in relationships and that is where we recognize that those qualities that show up on our personality to the extent that were disconnected from those qualities in our essence. It creates pressure inside the personality that tries to replicate that experience outside of itself, tries to fill up that emptiness with that need outside of itself. So, that tends to create pressures to throw the personality out of balance, tends to throw the personality over the top in its fixation on wanting that need felt or met. So, that I feel whole inside, I feel fulfilled inside myself.
So, in a relationship it becomes really important to become self-aware of those pressures, to be able to see how this pressure show up in your behaviors, in your expectations of your partner and in all your attitudes and your beliefs and why you believe that. Every factor that you have been and your reality is confused with these pressures and we tend to have no awareness of it at all, it feels so natural to us.
So, we want to gain awareness of where we tend to go out of balance, where we tend to go over the top with an intention, a strong intention that we want to be in balance, we want to be healthy, we want to get along together and so then they move up when you get really clear of this distinction and you really learn as deeply in yourself. You start moving on yourself moving to the third level of understanding in the Enneagram which is the profound of all; because you start to realize the very thing that you are seeking outside yourself is a trap. It is an illusion that it never does makes you feel whole. It is like sugar, it gives you a high, it makes you feel wonderful for a moment, but then it evaporates and you have to keep efforting and efforting to keep getting that experience in your life outside of yourself and you are never going to be fulfilled that way.
So, when you see through the illusion, when you see there is no keys down that path, that you get a shift, a major shift occurs, when you start to recognize that I need to meet that need within myself. I need to attune to that resonance of that quality inside myself that that is where fulfillment lies, that is where wholeness lies. It is not out there and when that shift happens the whole pressure in your relationship shift because now you are trying to focus on, meeting the need within yourself instead of demanding, accusing, trying to effort to meet that need in your relationship with your partner.
So, in this theories what we are looking primarily at is the second level of understanding and seeing how these getting self-awareness, that how this pressure show up and the way that where it is imbalanced. So, it is not about this first level of understanding where we just accept it that, Yeah, I am eight and that is what I do. I confront people and I dominate people and that is what so. No, there is whole of dynamic that shows up that generates why you are that way, that you need to aware of and be able to intention to come in the balance. So, that we get along in this relationship.