It’s not that Type 7’s are heartless, or uncaring, on the contrary, it’s a protection mechanism. We are wired to protect our hearts by avoiding deep emotions.

In the truest version of my Enneagram 7, I don’t do deep emotions. I know, I shouldn’t generalize or simplify myself but it’s true. This surprises people because I also don’t do small talk. But what I love to do is talk about deep thinking, not deep feeling. And if you want to talk about ideas, possibilities, or adventures, I’m your girl! Seven’s get away with this behavior by mastering the art of mimicking other people’s deep emotions and turning them into thoughts. So when someone asks me how I feel about something, I tell them how I think about it. Only the most intuitive person, or a great therapist will call out a Type 7 when she says how she thinks instead of how she feels.
It’s not that Type 7’s are heartless, or uncaring, on the contrary, it’s a protection mechanism. We are wired to protect our hearts by avoiding deep emotions. Being trapped in any way, shape or form is a huge fear of a Type 7-trapped in relationships, emotional pain, career choices, etc, all makes a 7, myself included, run the opposite direction.
With all of this in mind, there is no doubt that on 9-11, the 21 year old version of myself I didn’t know how to process the emotions of that day.
Truth be told, I already had an unthinkable family tragedy take place just a few days prior where two of my cousins were shot in the head in a hotel room. They were just slightly older than me and frankly I looked up to them and loved being with them so the pain of those murders was fresh and raw. No one knows how to process the kind of pain murder brings, but this is especially true of an Enneagram 7.
I wasn’t well traveled or informed, after all I was 21 and like most 21 year olds, I was pretty self-focused. Admittedly, I didn’t even know what the World Trade Towers were until that day 19 years ago.
So when someone came into my cubicle at my brand new internship at Kohler Co. in Wisconsin and said “The World Trade Towers were hit by a plane.” I simply stated, “Wow, that sounds bad,” and I carried on mindlessly unaware of what was happening in the world. However, when the second plane hit and the third at The Pentagon, I found myself intrigued but certainly not invested in what was happening. After all, New York seemed like a world away to me in small town Wisconsin.
The days that followed I avoided the TV and the news. I looked for distractions creating a list of to-do’s. I made it my job to find American flags for all the people in my apartment building. I made lavish meals for my soon-to-be husband and redecorated our bedroom. Subconsciously I did anything to distract myself from feeling the gravity of our country’s grief. Maybe if I allowed myself to feel the grief for my own family’s tragedy as well as the monstrosity happening to our country I would never recover emotionally. Maybe I would be stuck and not be able to ever move forward. Maybe I hadn’t earned the right to be grief stricken since I didn’t know anyone personally affected by the attacks. Of course, at that time I didn’t know I was an Enneagram Type 7. I didn’t know what the Enneagram was, so I carried on with emotions that were only ankle deep so that I wouldn’t get swept away in the current of grief.

I share all of this in hopes that you will see how the Enneagram has shaped my life to my core. It’s the moments in life when we are under pressure that really define the Type that we lead with. Some Enneagram Types who rely stronger on their feelings like twos, threes and fours maybe thinking, this is great, she didn’t have to feel all that horrible sorrow. The older, wiser me, longs for that strong sense of connection to grief and tragedy. In my life experiences, I have found that inn order to truly feel great joy, pride, or celebration, we must be able to feel great sorrow, anguish and grief. So my desire to avoid being trapped from life’s deepest pains has held me captive from the freedom of feeling life’s greatest joys. Maybe this is why the seven longs for adventure when she hasn’t gone deep enough in the valley, she cannot appreciate the grandness of the peak of the mountain.

I have gone through life unaffected by huge losses for years. When I found the Enneagram, it began to teach me how to feel again. I realized that while I have always been one to look on the bright side of things and outwardly people look to me to bring joy, I don’t truly feel joy or pain to it’s fullest unless I make myself slow down to do the work.
So as another anniversary of the 9-11 attacks is upon us, I find myself going back and reading the stories of the survivors, the family members of those affected and allowing that pain and suffering to really sink deep into my soul. I consciously stop processing emotions half way and allow those emotions to cut me to my depths because I know that when I allow myself to be affected by worlds greatest sorrows, I am also opening myself to feeling the worlds greatest joys. After all, being unaffected by sorrow doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

American culture is “suck it up” and “tuck away your crazy”. We are trained to hide and control our emotional discomforts no what your Enneagram Type. It’s likely that you have forced yourself to stuff negative emotions or downward feelings because that’s the expectation. We are given timelines of grief and sorrow. We are told to leave our emotions from home at home and stress of work at work. Don’t allow the two to intersect. Don’t show up fully human anywhere or else you might be too much.
Consider this your permissions to not be ok today… or any day really. When you take the time to truly experience all the lows, you get to truly experience all the highs. This my friends is how life was intended to be lived, not denying what is ours…the full emotions of humanity, the peaks and the valleys. The Enneagram seven in me will always see greater possibilities in tomorrow, but don’t forget to stop today and honor where you are. Process today completely and fully no matter how painful or how joyous. This my friends is the work that the Enneagram is doing in my life.

I ask you to stop and think about yourself 19 years ago. How did you process the pain the entire country was going through? Did you fully process it? What about now? Our country is going through pain now, how will you nurture yourself through this pain?

Envision yourself as a child, what do you need in this moment? Do you need to talk through pain and grief, do you need to clear your mind through meditation and prayer? Do you need physical exercise or time in nature? Allow yourself to feel the pain, don’t rush through it. This my friends, it how you accept who you are instead of stuffing who you are into a box it doesn’t fit into. This my friends is how you become brave.

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