ProjectionOh yes Virigina, we all project aspects of ourselves onto others – both the good and the shadow. This is an unconscious act propelled by our defense mechanisms. This focusing outward to look for the source of what is happening leads us to give positive attribution to others for the things that we like about ourselves and conversely hold some others who share the qualities that we deem as negative in a bad light. Each Enneagram type will project according to the worldview of their type: for example, sixes reading the danger in the other. Hopefully we grow to realize that we often misread reality in this way. Although we may recognize that projection exists,. this awareness does not give us a “Get out of jail free” card from projecting. We evolve, but few of us transcend our human foibles.

I recently had the pleasure of introducing the Enneagram to a Grade Nine student. I was “cautiously optimistic” in my own very Sixish way that this would be something that would be of value to her. Remember back in high school and the minefield of relationships that that environment holds… projection on steroids. My hope was that understanding the Enneagram would shift things from a view that “somethings wrong with me or somethings wrong with them” to having an understanding of nine different worldviews. In that light different behaviour and beliefs makes sense.

One of the things that we used were Riso and Hudson’s Enneagram cards which were valuable in having a conversation about various aspects of personality, how we all process differently and levels of health in individuals. It was exciting to see someone curious, quick and open to learning and the difference it made in having the Enneagram explain what might be happening in the interactions between various types. Perhaps the halls won’t of the local high school won’t appear as much as a jungle when armed with a roadmap of the inhabitants.

Just in case you think that you are far far removed from how you reacted in high school… When was the last time that you were in a meeting or waiting at a service counter and thought that someone was out to yank your chain on purpose? Hmmmm…..

Category: enneagram
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