“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ― John Holmes
“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” ― bell hooks
This week I’m lucky to have Jess Bedsole on Enneagram Paths to talk about her experiences being an Enneagram Type Two. As we read interviews, I think it’s so important to remember that every person is different no matter if they have the same Type. The Enneagram does not fit us into nine restricting boxes, instead, it allows us to be dynamic, ever-changing, unique human beings. Thank you, Jess, for sharing your perspective and what it means to be a Two from your individual point of view!
1. Talk to us a little about what it feels like to be intensely attuned to other people’s needs. How does this attunement play out in your everyday life?
I feel guilty if I know someone could use my help and I’m not providing it. Even after the fact, if I have witnessed someone in need of help (an elderly person crossing the street, or a dog tied up and tangled, or a person who needed help opening a door because their hands were full) and wasn’t in the mood or able to help them, it sits like a stone in my stomach — indefinitely. I constantly replay in my mind that I did not help them and feel unrelenting guilt over it. I do try to keep a balanced mindset and focus on helping my children and friends who are closest to me, but when I see a stranger in need and I am unable to help them, it really bothers me in retrospect.
2. What do you feel like would happen if you took time for self-care, for silence and rest, and/or invested in activities that made just you feel happy and fulfilled?
I rode horses for fifteen years in my youth. Since being married and starting a family I had released that part of myself. Recently, a friend offered me the opportunity to start riding again. My problem is I can’t find any time in our family schedule to consistently call my own. I have no problem telling my children that I am working on something, reading a book or going to take a shower on a daily basis. I also have no problem taking a night off now and then to go to the movies with a friend or see a show. It’s the idea of setting a consistent time for only myself to do something I enjoy that makes me feel guilty. Honestly, I feel a little panicked about it. I feel like I would be letting my family down, so at the moment I can’t bring myself to go back and ride horses.
3. Type Two’s are in the Heart Triad, which means you experience the world through emotion/relationship. How does this lens of heart impact your actions and thoughts? Are you aware of thoughts and do you feel your body much?
I tend to speak before I think. I speak directly from what I’m feeling, with no filter that this may not be something appropriate or what others would want to hear. In my heart, it feels like “what I feel is something that will help them” or ” they should know this”. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, I can get into trouble for being too brutally honest. When I’m stressed I don’t notice or accept it until my muscles are spasming and my tension headaches are debilitating. My body has to tell me to stop and slow down because my brain does not.
4. What do you love about your number? What do you hate about your number?
I didn’t want to accept that I’m a Type Two! When I initially read the Type descriptions, I skipped over Two because I assumed I wasn’t a “Helper”. However, since accepting my number, I’ve started to see how it is who I truly am. I love sending suggestions to others about things that worked for me, positive experiences I had, or how I got myself out of a cycle with my kids or husband.
5. What are some things you wish other people knew or understood about being a Two?
I wish people understood that I’m not trying to pry or be rude, I believe my advice and experiences can help them. Some people just aren’t interested in the help.
6. What happens in your relationships when you’re stressed and move to your Arrow Type Eight? What happens in your relationships when you’re healthy and move to your Arrow Type Four?
When I head toward Arrow Type Eight, my body begins shutting down. My muscles spasm, my temper flares, and I get debilitating tension headaches. I feel short of breath all the time and like it’s a race to accomplish anything at all. Everything feels rushed and imbalanced. When I move toward Arrow Type Four, I want to share everything. I’m inspired to write a book or a blog or share every good thing on social media. I want to hug my children and never let go while watching them do amazing things from afar without interfering.
7. Tell us about the feeling of loneliness. How do you react when you feel lonely?
I love alone time. I don’t think I ever really experience loneliness.
8. Do you feel like as a child that somewhere you picked up the message that in order to be loved, you had to put your own needs aside? That meeting others needs were the path to love and security?
No, I don’t think I received that message as a child. I think I learned that helping others is a way to show that you love them, not that my own needs are not important.
9. What would make you feel truly safe and secure in yourself? In a relationship?
That’s such a difficult question. Because when I’m at my best, I feel truly safe and secure in myself. I am confident and kind and generally positive. I don’t know what helps me get to that point, though. Perhaps it’s when those around me are respecting my advice and acknowledging my strengths. That makes my heart full and gives me pride. In relationships, hearing me is a big deal. I appreciate the feeling of respect from my friends or my husband. I like feeling as though my opinions matter.
10. What do the words authenticity, anger, and fun mean for you today?
Authenticity is a good word to describe who I am. I cannot be anyone besides my authentic self very well. When I try to tamp my helpful self down, I feel the repercussions deeply.
Anger rears its ugly head most commonly in the mornings. I love waking early, but I tend to need a significant amount of alone time before I can be open to hearing others or assisting them. I can be very short tempered from 5am-9am. I do get angry.
Fun would be watching my kids play outside while I sit in a comfortable patio chair, drinking tea and reading a great book. Or working together as a family to accomplish a common goal. Helping one another is fun to me.
11. (This question is from a fellow Two via Twitter) “How do you break the loop of worrying about whether your need to help is genuine or manipulative? Questioning all the motives can be exhausting and I don’t always trust my own answers.”
I tend to plow through. I feel better to just put my help out there rather than hold it in. For me, holding it in feels cumbersome. I feel like I’m not being myself or allowing my colors to shine. I accept that others may not always agree with my ideas or opinions, but it feels better to me, personally, to share and be shot down than to hold it in.
Jess is a mom of two young boys and two energetic dogs. On weekends she can be found teaching wood sign painting classes through her own small business, Sparkles and Crafts. Day to day, she’s a stay-at-home mom who is busy cleaning up messes and cooking up loads of delicious grub. When given a hot cup of Earl Grey and a cupcake, there is nothing she can’t do. You can find her on Facebook at facebook.com/sparklesandcrafts , Instagram @sparklesandcrafts, and her website sparklesandcrafts.com