Updated: Jul 16
As an Enneagram Type 3, my immediate response to California's stay-in-place order was to celebrate the opportunity to have more time to focus on learning and growing. I immediately began reading/rereading some Enneagram books--Sacred Enneagram, Complete Enneagram, Road Back to You, Becoming Us. I signed up for some online courses--Life of Jesus through Dallas Theological Seminary and The Science of Happiness through Yale University. I started doing a Bible Study with some of my closest friends and I began doing a Facebook Live Enneagram Series.
While I am thankful for the opportunities to learn and grow, I found that I was using all this busyness to mask my emotions--fear, sadness, and fatigue. I had been living in denial.
I found myself wanting to retreat into busyness or mindlessly scrolling for hours on Facebook--neither of which is healthy. When I realized that I was doing this, I was able to take a step back, identify my behaviors, acknowledge my emotions, show myself understanding and self-compassion, and take positive steps toward utilizing healthier coping mechanisms and self-care tools.
As I have continued my studies of the Enneagram, I have found some common themes for responses to stress, amidst COVID-19. I hope that these are helpful to you. Feel free to comment below with any questions, or join me on Facebook Live at Melissa Moore Author on Wednesdays at 8pm PST as I break down each type and give practical tools to help us to grow together into a healthier version of the Body of Christ.
The stress statements below are adapted from Beth McCord at Your Enneagram Coach and the Spiritual Practices are adapted from Christopher Heuertz's book Sacred Enneagram.
Under stress, you may find yourself becoming inflexible, critical of others, controlling, anxious, jealous, or angry. This situation may be causing you to become more frustrated with those with whom you are sheltering in place and you may hurt those you love if you take out your frustration on them. Take some time to Rest in Stillness--allow yourself permission to take a break from inner frustration (toward yourself) and resentment (toward others). Reduce your busyness and allow yourself time daily to sit still and rest. God loves you and you don't have to earn goodness.
Under stress, you may find yourself becoming manipulative, needy, overly accommodating, aggressive, or controlling. This situation may make you feel frustrated with the inability to help others--the way you usually find meaning or belonging--and may cause you to over-love the people with whom you are sheltering in place. Take time to Consent to Solitude--allow yourself freedom from your inner drive to meet the needs of others, and allow others to meet your needs--you may need to verbalize them to those around you. God loves you and you don't have to earn His love.
Under stress, you may find yourself becoming overly productive, competitive, superficial, self-promoting, emotionally disengaged, apathetic, or indulging in escapist behaviors--watching TV/sleeping/shopping/eating constantly. This situation may cause you to want to escape through busyness or retreat to unhealthy solitude, and your constant running can be frustrating and exhausting to those with whom you are sheltering in place. Take time to Engage Solitude--face your inner-truth (emotions, thoughts, compulsions), acknowledge it, and live in it, without the desire to receive constant affirmation or attention from others. God loves you simply for being you.
Under Stress, you may find yourself wanting to withdraw from others, experiencing intense moods, depression, or a desire to cling to others for attention and love. This situation may cause you to feel empty and lonely and may cause you to frustrate or exhaust the people with whom you are sheltering in place--make sure to verbalize your needs, but also make sure that you are meeting others' needs too. Take time to Rest in Solitude--allow a brief retreat from constant relational energy and allow yourself a break from your inner critic, so you can savor yourself in the present moment. God sees you and loves you.
Under Stress, you may find yourself becoming extremely stubborn, distant, critical, cynical, intellectually arrogant, and hyperactive. This situation may cause you to take on new tasks to avoid feelings of external circumstances being out of your control, and feelings of frustration with people who are reacting to COVID-19 differently than you. This may cause you to be critical of those with whom you are sheltering in place, and has the potential to harm those relationships. Take time to Consent to Silence--let go of your drive to come up with solutions and answers, and simply allow yourself to acknowledge your inability to singlehandedly fix the COVID-19 situation. God loves you and will meet your needs--both physical and emotional.
Under Stress, you may find yourself feeling hyper-vigilant, paranoid, anxious, unpredictable, busy, and competitive. This situation may cause you to take extreme measures to avoid your anxiety--stocking up on supplies or maintaining a full schedule. This may cause anxiety in those with whom you are sheltering in place. Take time to Engage Silence--confronting your fear of being quiet with your anxious thoughts. God loves you and will keep you safe.
Under Stress, you may find yourself becoming more impulsive, distracted, manic, superficial, self-destructive, perfectionistic, and critical of others. This situation may cause you to run yourself ragged, in your attempts to avoid/numb your feelings. This may cause an emotional disconnect from those with whom you are sheltering in place, and your spontaneous, escapist behaviors may harm those relationships. Take time to Rest in Silence--muffling the ever-persistent, forward-focused mentality allows you to experience your negative emotions and find contentment in the present moment. God loves you and He will take care of you.
Under Stress, you may find yourself becoming loud, controlling, rebellious, domineering, self-centered, secretive, and fearful. This situation may cause you to retreat from others or fear that you will be betrayed or harmed by others. This may cause distrust in your relationships with whom you are sheltering in place--don't run away from the people who love you. Take time to Consent to Stillness--practice saying yes to stopping your activity/running and be present with yourself and others in the present moment. God loves you and He will not betray you.
Under Stress, you may find yourself feeling more forgetful, obsessive, passive-aggressive, judgmental, anxious, or defensive. This situation may cause you to further retreat and isolate from your relationships and may cause hurt from those with whom you are sheltering in place. Take time to Engage Stillness--be intentional about finding inner calm, not checking out, but enjoying stillness as a discipline and a gift. God loves you and your presence in your relationships matters. I hope that this gives you the ability to recognize when you're going into survival mode and some tools to help find yourself grounded on God in the midst of this stressful situation. You are loved and you are not alone.
If you have any questions about the Enneagram, please comment below and join me on Facebook Live at Melissa Moore Author on Wednesdays at 8pm PST.