Exploring the Enneagram – The Number One.
Basic Fear: Of being “bad”, defective, evil, corrupt.
Basic Desire: To be good, virtuous, in balance – to have integrity
Superego message: You are good or okay if you do what is right.
One’s are ethical and principled, they long for a true, just and moral world whilst being a source of goodness and virtue. They set a high bar in excellence and integrity even when this comes at great cost to themselves. Ones want to be useful in the best sense of the word, they feel they have a mission to fulfil in life and are often activists. They have a compulsion to direct others in the set way to accomplish things – they know how things should be done.
They are driven by a need to be perfect in everything which is rooted in their childhood wound. One children felt heavily criticised, punished or not good enough which led them to become obsessed with being good and not making mistakes as a way to earn the love of those around them. The internal message which grew in them was to always be better than they were, to be perfect was to be okay.
The wound of never measuring up led them to a basic fear of being inherently corrupt or evil. This fear fuels the constant frustration they feel which is often communicated through anger. They’re angry that everything around them and within them is flawed and they put great pressure on themselves to correct this feeling. Yet they avoid acknowledging their anger as they see it as another form of imperfection. They live with a continual disappointment that they don’t live up to their unrealistic expectations of perfection which then leads to judgement. The judgement that One’s levy on the world has already been given to themselves in bucket loads.
They are serious people who seldom tell jokes or laugh easily. They only allow themselves relaxation and recreation when they have completed their tasks but this seldom happens because there’s always something that requires improvement.
The way home for the One is to develop compassion for themselves as a balm to the unattainable perfection they live with. They often carry tension in their bodies which show up as grinding in the jaw, knots in the back or stress headaches. As they listen to their bodies they will hear an invitation to integration. Ones believe they can fix all that is flawed which is a constant driver for them. Stillness is crucial if they are to move away from this and return home – the invitation to stop and be rather than keep driving forwards. The invitation to rest is also present as it allows them to return to the gift of the present moment and coupled with stillness, it opens up a space of renewal.
Towards health, the One moves towards the Seven. This move allows them to have a more spontaneous response to life. They gradually learn to let their guard down and feel more comfortable no matter what state they find themselves in. They become less opinionated and open to a wider range of possibilities. The Seven space invites Ones away from the repression and sorrow that is inherent in their personality structure towards joy, enthusiasm, curiosity and open-mindedness.
When in health, Ones know that the universe is unfolding exactly as it must and that all will be well. They are able to move and act in life with effortlessness, accomplishing far more than when the body was locked in tension. As they learn to be present they bring a wise and discerning intelligence to all that they do. They become true instruments of God knowing they are part of something bigger than themselves to which they can bring their gifts, integrity and wisdom.
Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations
Don Richard Risso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram
Christopher L Heurtz, The Sacred Enneagram