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Getting to Know Yourself: A Guide to Enneagram Self-Reflection Practices


For some of us, beginning to do our own self-work means tuning into ourselves in new ways. It often requires intentional observation and practice to notice our own patterns, behaviors, and motivation. Close friends and family often see things about us and often reflect back to us things about ourselves that we otherwise would miss. Yet, there is no one better positioned to know us, than us. We can't outsource the job, but rather need to take the time to get to know ourselves, really know and understand who we are.

As we begin, or continue, our own journey toward self-growth, we need to learn to notice these things in ourselves, to tune in to the tendencies, patterns, and needs that show up for us in our everyday lives.


Below are three of my favorite self-awareness methods from different enneagram teachers. They are simple ways to intentionally cue into who you are. Use these to develop your self-awareness and start paying attention to yourself.


There are a myriad of practices out there, so my best advice is to find one that resonates the best with you. Try practicing one of these throughout your day for several weeks. When you find yourself stressed at work, or triggered by a conversation, try the technique you selected. Tune in, and be curious with yourself. Peel back the layers and ask yourself what is going on for you - what are you feeling, thinking, doing? Why did you respond the way you did to that conversation or that situation? And then actively glean any new insights you learn about yourself along the way.


A.W.A.R.E. (Adapted from Beth McCord, Your Enneagram Coach)

As a 5w4, this AWARE method is one of my favorites. I'm not naturally tuned into my body and not the most self-aware. I love the posture of open hands and open hearts to receive insights about myself with grace.


  • Awaken – Observe and notice your thoughts, feelings, behavior. Pay special attention to your body.

  • Welcome – Be open and gentle with yourself. See what you have to learn without judgment, self-condemnation, or shame.

  • Ask – Be curious with yourself. Ask clarifying questions about what is going on internally. Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to provide guidance.

  • Receive/ Respond – Receive any insights with open hands and an open heart. Respond with intentionality toward growth, grace, and your identity as God’s beloved.

  • Enjoy – Embark on new pathways with intentionality and purpose and enjoy freedom from self-defeating unhealthy patterns.

Check out Beth McCord's new book, More than Your Number: A Christ-Centered Approach to Becoming AWARE of Your Inner World, to go in depth with how to use the AWARE method.

 

S.N.A.P. (from Ian Morgan Cron, enneagram podcaster & author)

For one of my 6w7 clients, this SNAP method is a favorite because of its simplicity. With a stream of constant noise and questions already in her heart, this simple strategy allows her to check herself and clarify what is really going on inside of her quickly and on an on-going basis.

Graphic depicting flow through stop, notice, ask, pivot.
Stop.Notice.Ask.Pivot.
  • Stop – Pause when you feel yourself reacting to a situation.

  • Notice – Pay attention to what you are thinking, feeling, sensing. Observe yourself without judgment or shame.

  • Ask – Gently ask clarifying questions (What am I believing right now? Are these beliefs true? What would happen if I let go of this belief?)

  • Pivot – Turn away from unhelpful or unhealthy responses and choose intentionally how to respond.


Check out Ian Morgan Cron's enneagram podcast, Typology, to connect with him and learn more about SNAP.




 

OWN UP Method (from Marilyn Vancil, author of Self to Lose, Self to Find: Using the Enneagram to Uncover Your True God-Given Self)

This method is a favorite of a 9w1 client of mine. The OWN UP process is more detailed and thorough, and the more structured approach is helpful for those that struggle with the HOW of self-awareness. I love that this process is built around finding freedom from the things inside that tangle us up in knots. That's powerful imagery that provides compelling motivation to keep us moving forward even when it gets hard or uncomfortable. We're working toward that freedom to be our authentic selves.


  • Observe - Take note of my reactions and experiences without excuses or justification

  • Welcome - Welcome those observations with a gentle curiosity and an open heart that you may see the strengths and drawbacks of your response. Receive any uncomfortable truths with grace.

  • Name - Identify what is going on internally for me. What are my underlying motivations? What are the thoughts or feelings driving my actions?

  • Untangle - Untangle any knots that surface or tensions that arise. Gently tease out different strands and loosen anything that has a strong hold on you.

  • Possess - Notice and receive what emerges as you let go. Receive in gratitude any new insights gleaned and rest in your true identity.


Check out Marilyn's website for a free PDF worksheet for the OWN UP method available at https://marilynvancil.com/.


 

Which of these resonate the most to you? Try them out for yourself and let me know which one is your favorite and what insights you glean from the practice. Remember, there is no one better positioned to know you than you, so tune in and discover more about you are and what makes you, you.



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