Nightly Journal Prompts For Personal Growth, Based On Your Enneagram Type
The Enneagram isn't just a personality type system — once you dig into it, you'll learn that the system is actually all about overcoming the constraints of your personality. Once you've figured out your Enneagram type through lots of introspection, you can start to become aware of the habitual thoughts and behaviors you've developed in response to childhood trauma and societal pressures. If you already know your type, it can be really helpful to journal each night about the day that just went by, and how your type's issues may have manifested in your thoughts and actions. Here are nine journal prompts you can try, based on your Enneagram type, to help you reflect on and move past your type's personal challenges.
"In what ways was I critical of myself and others today?"
Type 1 is characterized by the need to detect errors, improve the world, and make things more perfect. For some 1s, that manifests in being incredibly self-critical, while for others, that criticism may be directed toward the people and institutions around them.
At the end of the day, Type 1s can reflect on these tendencies by taking note of instances in which they were unnecessarily critical of themselves, others, and their environment. Noticing these patterns is the key to eventually overcoming them.
"During the course of the day, how did I shift my behavior to appear more likable and charming to others?"
Type 2 is often called "The Helper," but there's more to this type than simply lending a helping hand to other people. The biggest issue for Type 2s is their need to be liked, and while this can manifest as helping others, it can also take the form of being charming, cute, and likeable.
Each night, make it a point to reflect on how you may have shifted your behavior to earn others' approval, whether by being nice, acting upbeat, or even being seductive in your interactions.
"In what ways did I overly focus on my outward appearance, success, and competence today?"
Type 3s focus their attention on appearing successful, competent, and societally attractive. This can manifest as working too hard, dressing according to trends rather than their own tastes, showing off their wealth — really, anything that makes them look admirable in the eyes of others. What it all comes down to is that 3s focus on what's acceptable and prized by society, rather than knowing who they truly are or what they truly want.
The first step toward knowing your true self better is to realize how you prioritize appearing successful. At the end of the day, take note on ways you shifted your appearance or behavior in order to seem successful in the eyes of others.
"In what ways did I compare myself to others today? Did I find myself to be better than or less than others?"
Type 4s often want to feel unique and special, and the reason for this is that deep down, they feel as though they are somehow deficient. They constantly reinforce these untrue thoughts by comparing themselves to others — often seeing themselves as lacking what others have, but sometimes by feeling superior to others as a defense mechanism.
Each night, it will be beneficial for 4s to sit down with themselves and have an honest conversation about how they compared themselves to others throughout the day. Notice whether you found yourself envying others, or feeling superior — both are a symptom of your inner tendency to constantly compare.
"What are some examples of ways I isolated myself and detached from others today?"
Type 5s live in their heads because they find it safer than opening up to other people. A lot of this stems from a deeper fear that their energy will be used up or depleted by others — and especially by others' emotions. They fear being overwhelmed by others' needs, moods, and demands.
If you're a Type 5, take a moment to reflect on ways you may have purposely avoided other people, whether literally or emotionally. Perhaps taking your lunch break alone felt less scary than interacting with your coworkers, or maybe you preferred to watch a movie or have an intellectual discussion with your partner, rather than opening up emotionally.
"In what ways did I anticipate worst-case scenarios today? Did I 'prepare' for these scenarios by confronting them head-on, worrying excessively, or relying on others?
Type 6s anticipate all the ways in which things could go wrong, and then make attempts to prevent worst-case scenarios. Some 6s try to prevent their fears from coming true by teaming up with others or following the rules, while other 6s (often called counter-phobic 6s), head these situations off by coming at them directly. Either way, these strategies can be problematic, because they consistently lead to worst-case scenario thinking and a profound sense of anxiety.
If you're a 6, journal about ways you anticipated the worst in all manner of situations. Some Type 6's fears manifest more socially (fearing that others are judging you or don't like you), while others are more situational (preparing for storms, catastrophic events, and problems at work). Take note of any and all of the above.
"What are some examples of how I removed myself from unpleasant feelings or situations today by turning to something more fun and interesting instead?"
If you're a Type 7, you often move away from sad, boring, or unpleasant feelings, and towards stimulating ideas and experiences. This is because unconsciously, you deeply fear being trapped, sad, or lonely. You avoid these feelings by turning toward more "positive" experiences instead. While that all sounds fun, this can lead to becoming emotionally detached, absent, and unable to navigate life's inevitable ups and downs.
Each night, tune into the ways you ignored the darker side of your emotions by focusing on the lighter, brighter aspects of being instead.
"In the course of the day, did I make powerful statements or attempt to make things happen by force of will and excessive action?"
Enneagram Type 8s avoid feeling vulnerable, preferring instead to believe they can accomplish anything. They overcompensate for their inner fears of vulnerability by standing up to others, fighting for the underdog, appearing larger-than-life, and sometimes, being combative or aggressive.
If you're a Type 8, it's important to notice how you bulldoze through life in ways that reinforce your inner fear of being vulnerable or ineffective. The truth is, you can't always manifest your desires into being by sheer force or will, and believing things to be true doesn't make them so.
"Did I have trouble saying 'no' to others today? If so, what conflict was I trying to avoid?"
Type 9s tend to overlook themselves and look instead to other people as a means of avoiding conflict and keeping the peace. This can look like people-pleasing, working when you don't want to work, tuning out your desires, and having trouble saying no.
If you're a Type 9, it can be very hard to notice these behaviors in yourself, because you've tuned your own needs and desires out so completely. As a first step, start taking notice of instances in which you had trouble saying no. This resistance to standing up for yourself is a good indicator of how you may be trying to avoid conflict with others.
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