Intro to my 'sixness'

It amazes me how much we complicate our lives and interactions because we don't recognize how differently we perceive and react to the same experiences and knowledge. One of the best tools for getting a better grip on these differences and reducing the gap is The Enneagram. I've shared some information about the enneagram in general.  I have a tab in the left navigation bar for it under the heading 'ways' - enneagram. There are 9 enneagram types. We each relate to one specifically but do all the other types as well. Knowing how your dominate type effects perception and reaction can empower you to relax and become more aware of how you perceive things.  I find that this awareness allows me to alter how I respond.
I highly recommend classes and workshops to anyone interested in personal growth and transformation. For classes and workshops in Houston, contact Judy at and/or visit her website  for training schedule and information, . There happens to be a beginning class this weekend at St. Paul's United Methodist.  Taking a class or workshop is so important in identifying your type. We tend to have an aversion to our own type, so it is best if you can work with Judy. She has a gift in asking you just the right question to get right to what drives you and that will identify your type. Once you know your type, there are more advanced workshops with Judy as well as some other resources that become very useful. Dr. Kerley recommends The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso and Hudson. I read the section on my type and my husband's, and now use it like a reference book. It is so full of information about how to see myself growing or sliding backwards, and helps me to communicate and understand others. Another phenomenal resource is the "know your type" iPhone app. It costs $2.99 and has wonderfully applicable resources for self awareness, communication, and conflict resolution.
Maybe it would be helpful if I share how my 'sixness' gets in my way. I also want to share how being attentive to my six tendencies assists me in living more peacefully, more openly, and more authentically with others.
What is a 'six?' On the Enneagram, a six is motivated by fear. Here is the definition from the iPhone app, "Know your type":
"Sixes have insightful minds and create anticipatory or worst-case scenarios to help themselves feel prepared in case something goes wrong. Some are tentative, some engage in high-risk behavior to prove their fearlessness, and some do both."
To put it simply, I am sometimes so preoccupied with preparing for the worst, that I miss each moment's best. For instance, before I studied the enneagram and type 6 tendencies, I would be the first responder to anything and everything. While this makes me sometimes look like a hero (in my own mind and occasionally some other six's), it eliminates the possibility for others to contribute in their own ways and in their own time. When I feel a sense of urgency to take action, knowing my type and my tendencies, I can recognize that it might not be my place and that it will be ok if I don't immediately rush in.
Some of the stories may be straight up anxiety, but I feel there is an overlap because sixes tend to be anxious.  In my family, it is called unnecessary hysteria.  As I see it play out, I can pause, breathe, and laugh at my sixness instead of letting it taint my vision of what is really happening.

Here is my favorite use of the this knowledge.  My husband is a one, which means he is very interested in details and getting things right.  He loves to learn new information.  He does not want to hear that he did something the 'wrong' way or that he didn't look at all the aspects of something.  We learned that when we communicate, I need to first hear that everything is ok.  He needs to hear that everything has been considered.  Before we learned this about ourselves and each other he would call me while he was caring for our kids and say, "we were riding our bikes.  One boy was on the right side of me and the other was ahead of me.  A car approached and ...."  By the time he said the word bikes, I had everyone but him dead in the ditch and started a full on panic attack.  When I would share something with him, I would start by "I'll just do the ____ myself because you didn't do it right"....  That is about as bad as it could be for either one of us.
Now it sounds like this "everyone is just fine (or going to be), we just had a skinned knee and we're back home now."  and "I love that you do the dishes everyday.  I noticed that my new cup can't go in the dishwasher though.  Do you want to hand wash it or would you rather me do that?"

There are other techniques of communication that enhance our relationship and certainly keep us from shutting down or getting defensive.  The Enneagram, has been enlightening and an effective tool for communication and deep understanding of ourselves and each other.

I'll post more on sixness like how it effects my self talk, why meditation is a great practice for sixes, etc.