The 9 Faces of Resilience

Resilience is the ability to overcome setbacks or challenges. It involves the ability to adapt to difficult situations while keeping a positive mindset, and finding strength amidst adversity. Resilient individuals are able to embrace change, persevere and learn from their failures to emerge stronger with bolstered self-confidence from being able to “handle it”. 

Depending on our experiences, functional resilience will look and come across very differently across the 9 Enneagram types, as each plays on their unique strengths and challenges to overcome life’s difficulties.

 Type 1 (The Perfectionist), displays resilience through their unwavering dedication to improvement and self-discipline. They bounce back by approaching setbacks with perseverance and maximising the potential of opportunities for growth and refinement.

 Paradox: They can have trouble letting go and often push their limits to breaking point. Certain Type 1s are very self-sacrificing and may not understand what “surrender” means, that it is sometimes necessary to let go, pause and seek help.

 Type 2 (The Giver), shows resilience through their remarkable capacity for empathy and support, often rebounding from hardships by nurturing connections and finding purpose in service to others.

 Paradox: They may sometimes push very hard for others, persevering in the face of rejection despite a lack of recognition. They may forget about themselves because they can get so busy making a difference to others. Their pride of being great givers causes many of them to see themselves and be seen as never needing help. 

 Type 3 (The Achiever), exhibits resilience by their relentless drive for success and adaptability. They rebound with their tenacity to overcome any obstacles on their path to accomplishment.

 Paradox: They can weather almost any storm by striving to always be the best, but sometimes at a cost to their own well-being and even relationships. The image of success is embedded in their psyche. It prevents them from “smelling the roses”, having deep connected relationships, and relaxing.

 Type 4 (The Individualist), demonstrates resilience through their deep emotional awareness and creativity. They bounce back by their ability to stay in uncomfortable feelings and using adversity as fuel for artistic expression and self-discovery.

 Paradox: They can linger in sad/depressive feelings for much longer periods, sometimes choosing to stay in suffering and replaying their tribulations through extended bouts of self-pity. This recognition of their suffering provides them a degree of solace and recognition of their own uniqueness, but can depletes them and others of energy.

 Type 5 (The Investigator), shows resilience by their intellectual curiosity and self-reliance. They are cool in a crisis and rebound by compartmentalising effectively and gathering whatever necessary knowledge is needed to navigate challenges with clarity and insight.

 Paradox: While no one can fight our inner-battles on our behalf, they prefer to remain self-sufficient and may not reach out when they struggle with a challenge. Their preference for being independent may deprive them from benefitting from the capabilities and collective wisdom around them. No Man Is an Island but 5s prefer figuring things out on their own. In the process, they struggle to see how much time and energy can be conserved.

 Type 6 (The Loyalist), exhibits resilience through their preparedness and loyalty to their support systems. They bounce back by leaning on trusted relationships and planning for contingencies.

 Paradox: They are known to be the last to bail out of anything because of their loyalty to a cause or person, but are extreme worriers. This in itself is draining and debilitating.

 Type 7 (The Enthusiast), displays resilience through their optimism and adaptability. They can keep up their happy hopes consistently. They rebound by reframing failures into opportunities, focusing on possibilities and finding joy even in the darkest of times.

 Paradox: Too much reframing keeps them from confronting the truth. There are instances where one needs to feel the fear and push through it, rather than putting a positive spin and avoiding the inevitable. Pushing through the pain barrier builds inner resilience that will help them ultimately cope better.

 Type 8 (The Challenger), shows resilience by their strength and assertiveness. They stand by the phrase “Go Big or Go Home”. They often do not stop but keep moving no matter the obstacles, confronting challenges head-on and leading others through adversity.

 Paradox: They are noted for their ability to never give up and fight battles like commandos do. This could injure or tire them out without their realizing, because of their body’s tenacity. Slowing down is seen as a weakness but pushing things to completion every time can lead to burn out and exhaustion.

 Type 9 (The Peacemaker), demonstrates resilience through their calmness and ability to find harmony with whatever they undertake. Their calm perseverance is synonymous with animals like the sloth that has survived for the last 65.5 million years.

 Paradox: On the flipside, since they are either asleep to their pain or avoid it, it creeps up on them like a thief in the night. The pain of loss, failure or rejection, when suppressed or avoided, can last even longer when not dealt with. Nothing ever goes away if you don’t deal with it.

In conclusion, resilience manifests uniquely in each Enneagram type, based on their core motivations, fears, and coping mechanisms. Owning and embracing all the unique qualities in us that help us function in the face of adversity can empower individuals to navigate life’s challenges with courage, grace, and resilience.

By Dr Granville D’Souza, DBA

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