I had the amazing privilege to talk with my friend, Grace, about her Enneagram journey and some insights that she could share about being a ONE.
Grace has researched, read books and taken online assessments to discover her motivation behind her behavior. The one thing that really stood out to her was the inner critic description. She says she has a “berating inner critic” and now she knows that she not just crazy. And it’s true! ONE’S inner critic is constantly speaking up about everything that the ONE says or does or even thinks. It has a critical opinion about it all! ONES can seem very critical and judgmental of others, but they are actually the hardest on themselves. Imagine having a voice that pipes up at anything you do, saying, “That was wrong!” “You could have done better!” “Come on, that was stupid!” For ONES, this constant voice drives this overwhelming need to be perfect in order to keep the inner critic quiet, but even that is futile.
Most Enneagram books will describe ONES as “The Perfectionist” which does send off a negative connotation. For example the TWOS are “The Helpers” and the SEVENS are “The Enthusiast” (I would love to be called the enthusiast) which are both more of a positive vibe. I asked Grace about her thoughts of being called “The Perfectionist.” She said that at first she didn’t think she was a ONE because while she strove for perfection, she wasn’t perfect. So she didn’t think she was a perfectionist. She quickly came to realize that a perfectionist is someone who strives for perfection and obviously perfectionism is never attainable. I asked her if she thought the description of “The Improvers” was more fitting. She said that is definitely more relatable. Grace said that she sees deficiencies everywhere and then desires to come up with ways to improve everything and anything. That is ONE’S superpower! They will constantly strive to improve the world and I think we could all use a little improvement. The important thing to remember if you are in a relationship with a ONE is that ONES want to improve, not just point at all the flaws.
Learning about her Enneagram number helped her realize that even though she constantly thought of ways to improve herself, her world, and the world, that not everyone else thinks that way. Grace fell into a very ONE trap of offering advice to her husband (who is NOT a ONE) of ways that he could improve on whatever he was doing. Now, I know Grace and she is as sweet as honey! But I also know that we tend to unleash our type’s weakness without filters on those closest to us! She thought, ‘Why would he not want my advice on improving?” Once she read and discovered about ONE’S need to improve everything and did more research on her husband’s type, she realized that maybe he did not like her constant advice. She is now able to catch herself before she offers the advice that her inner critic is telling her to offer. Self-aware ONES can see deficiencies and problems and point them out when asked for their opinion while seeing the good in the situation as well.
I believe that Grace has also learned to give herself and others more grace! While ONES will always be rule-followers and take the moral high ground, they can learn to walk in grace. The spiritual definition of grace is God’s unmerited favor through sending his Son, Jesus, that we can never earn. Jesus actually was perfect and yet took on all of the sin of humanity. Jesus felt the pain of sin and being imperfect. When he was raised from the dead, He still reached out in love, compassion and grace to those around Him even after He experienced the imperfections of man. And He invites us to do the same. ONES can choose to ask the Holy Spirit to help them show mercy and grace to themselves and others even when the inner critic is screaming!
Some helpful advice to ONES (because I’m a TWO and I want to help AND this is my blog!) ONES, look for the good in every situation before you point out the flaws. Ask yourself “What is mine to do?” when taking on responsibilities. And know that your value is NOT based on the inner critic in your head! Bill Johnson, a pastor in Redding, California, says, “I cannot afford to have a thought in my head about me that is not in God’s head.” Always go back to what God says about you! You are valuable, loved, wanted, God’s perfect masterpiece, and nothing you do or do not do will change God’s thoughts of you!
My daughter recently drew this picture for me. And although any number can get value from it, I especially think it’s important for ONES to know in their knower! So many voices are blasting you from the inside and the outside, but you just have to know that you are God’s beloved and then you can receive His love fully and not just until you are “perfect.” Before you were born, God already said that you were “fearfully and wonderfully made!” I pray that we can all soak in that grace and that His words permeate each of us today!