A lot of disappointments in our important relationships are a result of the harsh, inhuman expectations we place on ourselves and our lives. This year, give yourself and your loved ones the life-changing gift of some targeted release of those expectations using your Enneagram Type awareness!
When we forget that we are human beings with human limits, our relationship with self and others really suffers. Why? Because our relationship with reality is also suffering when we forget those things. And to whatever degree we are out of touch with reality, the personality (ego, false self) is usually filling in that vacuum with impossible, inhuman expectations.
The Enneagram of Personality is a high precision instrument when it comes to helping us wake up to the kind of inhuman expectations we can mistake for realistic expectations when we are under stress and stuck in what Yechezkel and Ruth Madanes, internationally renowned founders of the Madanes Method of Enneagram Coaching, call the “autopilot” mode of our personality type. Autopilot mode is usually associated with a kind of “walking dead”-ness when it comes to God’s vibrant blessings in the present relational moment. It’s a mode of traveling through this earth that keeps us in a kind of toxic set of expectations, rather than allowing us to stay open, accepting, and curious about what God is doing right here, right now, between us and the other.
(From Stuckness to Growth: (Enneagram Coaching) How to Read Your Coachees and Transform Their Lives, p.37):
“…Each type, when in the stuckness zone, has an inhuman expectation of itself…..
Ones: It is possible to achieve absolute perfection.
Twos: It is possible to be loved by everybody.
Threes: It is possible to be successful in everything.
Fours: It is possible to be always unique and deep.
Fives: It is possible to attain total knowledge.
Sixes: It is possible to attain total security.
Sevens: It is possible to achieve absolute happiness.
Eights: It is possible to be strong and in control all the time.
Nines: It is possible to find absolute peace and calmness.”
Any relaxed breeze of awakening to the background noise of these demands of the personality, any awareness brought to our particular style of inhuman expectations, can be like hitting the “refresh” button on our life and relationships.
Criticizing ourselves for having unreasonable expectations that have damaged our relational life, is not what we are going for here. That frame of mind only pushes us right into another set of inhuman expectations. (i.e. “I shouldn’t have those kinds of expectations!”) As top Enneagram scholars, Don Riso & Russ Hudson, have been so fond of reminding their students, we can do this work in any moment that we are willing to practice even a little “noticing and letting go” of these habits of thought.
Giving the gift to ourselves of a little bit of noticing and letting go of any of these inhuman expectations is also one of the best gifts we can give others in our personal or professional relationships. It is quite simply a relationship tonic!
This exercise in targeted release of Enneagram-Type-based expectations is the kind of good dose of grace and self-compassion that always powers up our contact with reality, with ourselves, and with others. It can begin to melt some of the personality’s unrealistic demands that create a lot of intrapersonal and interpersonal misery, and chart new territory in Valentine’s Day memory making.