Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. -Aristotle
The first morning you wake up after the death of a loved one is a major shock to your system. The evening before you draped yourself over the bed because it felt as though you could not stand any longer. Your body drifted into sleep but when you woke it felt as though you carried your depths of despair into your dreams. What usually refreshes and renews just could not do the job this night. When you wake up there is that moment where you think, was it all a dream but reality quickly hits and the realization that they are gone forever brings you right back to your knees.
Death and grief is traumatic for anyone. Although we all experience grief differently there is a commonality in the way grief hits certain personalities. Every different grief producing life event can impact you differently than the last. Sometimes it feels as though you do not understand your own grief and pain. When this is the case going to a counselor, therapist or grief support group is a great place to start the process of healing. While counselors can give a non biased and educated outlook, the best partner to seeking mental health care is to know yourself. So often when asked what do you need or how can I help you the response is I do not know. While grief has a lot of unexpected twists and turns the better you understand yourself, the better you can decide on the healthiest path to healing and hope.
One tool that you can use to get to know yourself better is the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a system of classifying personality types that is based on a nine pointed star-like figure inscribed within a circle. Each of the nine points represents a personality type and psychological motivations influencing a person – emotions, attitudes and behaviors. (e.g. your need to be right or helpful).
To determine your type, there are a variety of places you can go to take a 10-15 minute questionnaire. When it is completed, your most likely personality types are revealed. The Enneagram is unique because it goes deeper than many other personality tests. Once you know your Enneagram type 1-9, it allows you to look into your strengths and weaknesses. It shows how you respond when you are not healthy and also how you respond when emotionally healthy.
Using the Enneagram To Help During Grief
When you can know yourself and recognize when your responses are not healthy, it becomes an alarm system reminding you to take care of yourself. Understanding your Enneagram type also gives some insight and guidance in ways to take care of your mental health. The system breaks down the ways that will most help you to relax, ways to communicate most effectively and how to explain to others what you may need. Using the Enneagram as a tool to know yourself deeper as well as allowing for a clearer picture of what you will need to return to the most balanced and mentally healthy person you can be.
Stay tuned for more information on how each Enneagram type tends to deal with grief.