“Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is accord. Harmony.”
Today on the Enneagram Paths Blog we are lucky to hear from Kelsey Vaughn, an Enneagram Type Nine. Nines are often called “The Peacemakers,” but they are so much more complex and wonderful than a one-line label. Nines are usually are pleasant people, calming to be around, grounded, and fun. They work hard for causes they believe in and stand up for injustice. They love fiercely and are loyal friends. I need to do a Type Nine basics post soon!
Happy to have you, Kelsey, let’s get to it!
1. When and how did you discover that you are a Type Nine?
I took an online Enneagram test in college but felt like my results didn’t really fit me, and didn’t think much of it for a couple of years after that. Then I started seeing a therapist who does some work with the Enneagram, and found out that I’m a Nine, which fits me much better than whatever I was mistyped as before!
2. What do you love about your number? What do you dislike?
I love that I’m able to bring peace into people’s lives. I love that I’m adaptable and able to bond with people by adopting their interests and passions. I love that I can understand and empathize with almost anyone. I dislike my tendency to withdraw from conflict and my lack of tolerance for it. I also don’t like that it often takes me a long time to process the needs of people I care about and come up with appropriate responses.
3. What happens to your closest relationships when you’re stressed and go to Arrow Type Six? What happens when you’re healthy and go to Arrow Type Three?
When I’m stressed, my ability to empathize with other people suffers, and I get increasingly drawn into negative thought spirals that center on my own insecurities. It becomes difficult for me to function in relationships because I withdraw from whatever conflict is present, and I completely blame myself for it. I also tend to lose body awareness when I’m stressed, which makes it hard to be physically present. When I’m healthier and moving towards Type Three, I become more motivated and energetic, taking on new projects and seeking new experiences with my loved ones. I’m much more able to focus on the positive things in my life.
4. How does narcotizing or numbing affect your daily life? Do you find yourself checking out on both your inner and outer experiences?
I often use my phone or computer to narcotize when I’m stressed. I’ll get sucked into repetitive games, or obsessively scroll through social media. This also contributes to feelings of disembodiment. I check out of external events much more quickly than my inner experience, but if things get too intense, eventually I start losing my train of thought and even momentarily forget why I am upset.
5. What do you wish other people understood about being a Type Nine?
I wish people understood that our desire to avoid or mitigate conflict doesn’t mean we don’t care. And that just because we can see both sides of an argument doesn’t mean that we’re unwilling to stand up for what we believe in.
6. Do you know what your Wing is? Can you talk about how your Wing shades aspects of being a Nine (for you)?
I’m still learning about wings and how they function. I think I am more of a 9w1 because I do have some perfectionist tendencies and can get preoccupied with doing things “right” or having the correct answer. I’m starting to learn how to lean into my 8w more because it helps me to process feelings of anger (not a fun thing for a Nine) and helps me to stand up for myself and be assertive.
7. What would the phrase, “You can handle being fully yourself and fully present in body, mind, and spirit,” mean to you if you knew it to be deeply true?
To me, that phrase would mean that I am able to stand on my own and fully inhabit my place in the world. It would mean a letting go of insecurity and a feeling of connection to my inner guidance.
8. Are there any spiritual practices you are drawn to as a Type Nine?
I’ve been drawn to various different spiritual practices throughout my life. The ones that have called to me most have been meditation, deep reading/Lectio Divina, and the observance of seasons and cycles, whether that be within the context of a liturgical year or through creating my own set of ceremonies. I also enjoy creative pursuits like writing, playing music, and knitting, and have found them to be spiritually fulfilling.
9. How has learning about your Enneagram Type changed the way you view yourself or others?
Learning about the Enneagram has completely changed the way I relate to others and the way I view myself. I think the biggest change has been recognizing that there are different levels of health and integration and that a person under stress might act very differently from how they act when they’re in a healthy place. This perspective helps me to give much more grace to myself and others. I’m able to focus more on providing what someone might need to get back to a more integrated state.
10. Talk about what the words Anger, Bravery, and Goals mean to you today.
Anger is a mystery to me some days, but today I am trying to see it less like a force of destruction and more as a force for change and justice. Bravery is a quality I have leaned into hard this year, and I’m proud of myself for the brave things I’ve done. As for Goals, I’m living pretty moment-to-moment right now, but I’m hoping soon to take some time and create some long-term goals for myself.
Bio: Hi, I’m Kelsey! I’m a queer nerdy woman living in Portland, OR. I work for a nonprofit that provides opportunities for kids to take music lessons regardless of their ability to pay for them. I love writing, knitting, playing piano, playing board games, and drinking copious amounts of tea.