Kelli's Enneagram-Meets-Coaching Tale
Jaya, Let me begin by stating the obvious: Before we met, I didn’t realize I was a Two. I had never heard of the Enneagram or the Helper personality type and just assumed I’d been brainwashed by Christianity into being a weak, wishy-washy servant to the entire human race.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always appreciated my empathetic nature. I just hated the suffering that came with it. Because saying no was just so HARD. I would make myself sick with guilt, wringing my hands for days at the thought of disappointing or upsetting anyone.
And I resented this pain, blaming everyone else for causing it. I mean, I’m such a caring and thoughtful person! Why wouldn’t others go out of their way to reciprocate—giving me permission to do what was necessary for my own health and happiness?
I vacillated between loving others and being angry with them. And this hurt. Literally. My inability to express my own needs festered into one physical illness after another.
And thank God! Because there’s nothing like suffering to get a girl’s attention. I became driven to do my own inner work. I spent the next 12 years on a path of self-discovery that eventually led me to you, Jaya.
By the time we first spoke, I was already a practicing coach. I had not only learned about boundaries, I was teaching them to others.
And yet, I still hadn’t gotten to the root of my own people-pleasing ways. I knew that my religious training had created very strong neural pathways of “you’ve gotta be nice,” but I was unaware of the personality type underneath, which you recognized immediately.
After our first session together, I took the Enneagram test and confirmed your hunch. I was a Two. A Helper. Fuck.
Deep down, I had a belief that “I’m ONLY okay if I’m in a loving relationship with others.” Which really meant, I only felt worthy if people liked and approved of me. Which REALLY meant, my happiness depended on pleasing others.
This explained why, after all my years of work, I still felt deeply wounded when people weren’t nice to me. In my mind, they HAD to like me or I wasn’t okay.
I began to see how often I manipulated people (or situations) to force others to love me. Fuckity-fuck.
Understanding my Two-ness has meant observing my own behavior very closely, becoming aware of my motives.
If the answer is anything other than “for the pure joy of it”—I stop. This has helped me reach a new level of freedom and authenticity that I haven’t been able to reach in the past.
And the best part? I still get to be my amazing, loving, generous self! I get to bring beauty into people’s lives. I get to be an up-lifter, splashing lovely bits of sunshine all over the place. I get to be lavish with love.
My Two-ness isn’t a curse. As long as I’m not contorting myself to get others to love me, it’s a sweet-peach of a gift ... not just to myself, but to my little piece of the world.
— Kelli Younglove, Consciousness Coach
GIFTS OF SELF-UNDERSTANDING
About those cool lines in the Enneagram diagram
Each type has a point of integration—that is, the type whose good points you exhibit when you're healthy and thriving or moving along in your evolution; and a point of disintegration—the type whose negative traits you start acting out when you're under stress or duress. Your shifting relationship with those two points, over time, greatly affects how you present. And depicting these connections makes for this lovely diagram.
The positive side of Four supports my coaching beautifully:
Could Kelli be a better fit for you than I am? Having served as her coach then graduated to trading sessions with her, I deeply respect her personal process, her integrity, and her gifts for holding up kind and clear mirrors for others.
When I'm the one in the client seat, I'm struck again and again by Kelli's timing genius. She knows when to invite me to pause, drop in more fully, and look again. I've had many quiet, clear epiphanies sitting in her solid, deeply attentive presence.