Self, Health And Wellness

Why You Have Low Self-Esteem, Based On Your Enneagram Personality Type

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Why You Have Low Self Esteem & An Inner Critic By Enneagram Personality Types

You have an inner critic and you will never get rid of it. Instead of fighting it, the best plan is to befriend it and learn how to boost your low self-esteem.

And a great tool to help you do your inner critic coaching is the psychological-spiritual tool called the Enneagram.

But, before we get to that and the different Enneagram types, you need to know what your inner critic is, how it works, and signs that it's active.

Your inner critic wants to keep you safe in the limitations of your ego. As a child, you can thank your ego and inner critic for keeping you alive.

The trouble begins when you move into adulthood blind to how the inner critic is limiting your potential.

RELATED: What Your Personality Type Reveals About Your Greatest Personal Weakness

How do you identify the inner critic? There are three characteristics that help you understand how it works.

  • Volume: Often the inner critic is loud and you can’t miss it. But, other times, it can be sneaky and operate quietly under the radar. No matter how loud or quiet it is, it has a significant impact on you.
  • Automatic: Every time you get critical with yourself or others, your inner critic will be there to add to your misery. The more curious you are about where the inner voice is coming from, the more you can identify your inner critic. When you are not staying curious about what is going on within your inner critic, it will do as it pleases. The only way to quiet down it is to gain some distance from it and build up your repertoire of responses.
  • The inner critic will gain strength if you don’t face it: The inner critic is like the judge of the judge. It starts judging you for judging something else. It has a multiplier effect and dealing with its tricks can be hard.

The voice of the inner critic is usually loud, impatient, abusive, and demeaning. It might sound like the voice of God, a parent, or teacher.

There are 3 signs that signify your inner critic is active and stopping you from reaching your potential.

1. You feel bad about yourself

Chances are the inner critic is active when you are feeling down about yourself.

It is the times when you feel like you don’t have the confidence to move ahead in life. It is the times you feel hopeless. It is the times you think that something is wrong with you.

2. You always feel critical of others

If you are feeling bad about yourself, it is easy to start being critical of others. Notice if you are always comparing yourself to others. You may also notice that you are critical of certain people in your life.  

When you are being overly critical of people you are close to, it suggests that you are projecting your issues on to them.

3. You start seeing yourself as above all others

Praise from others can begin to go to your head. You respond to your insecurities with a pumped-up attitude, arrogance, and swagger. It gets inflated in times when you are praised or the times when you put yourself up by putting others down.

All these behaviors and attitudes are equally destructive.

The inner critic keeps you stuck in your ego. It will become more active every time you decide to do something new such as a new job, a new relationship, going back to school or moving to another city. The inner critic does not like change. 

You might hear messages like:

  • "Why bother, you are always a failure?"
  • "You are greedy, all you care about is yourself"
  • "Stop your grand dreams you are just going to be disappointed."

Now that you're aware of your inner critic, it's time to learn how to use the Enneagram to coach it so you can reach your potential and live your best life.

Most teachers in the Enneagram world believe that you are given your personality type in the first few months of life. Early in life, you are given your personality type to help you make sense out of life.

There are nine different personality types, ordered into three groups: body types, heart types, and head types. You can also organize them into assertive, withdrawn, and dutiful.

Discovering your personality type will give you clues to help you notice the voice of the inner critic in yourself.

Once you discover the inner critic in yourself, it will help you to notice when it is active. When you are aware of the voice, you can choose to ignore it and listen to the wisdom of your true self.

No Enneagram type is better than another. Your goal is to be as healthy as you can in your kind. When you are healthy, your inner critic will be quiet. 

There are several ways to discover your personality type. You can get a free Enneagram Typing test by signing up for my monthly newsletter.

Here is how to coach your inner critic, based on each Enneagram personality type.

Type 1: The Reformer

As a Type 1, you have a strong desire to make the world a better place. You have high expectations for yourself and the people around you. Given your high expectations, you can be very hard on yourself and those you love.

You are very responsible. Often you fear others won't do as good a job as you will. To make sure the job gets done right you do it yourself.

You are a born educator. You know there are better ways to do things and you are happy to share your knowledge with others.

In Type Ones, the inner critic is concerned about your being good enough. It will put this question in your mind such as "Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing?" It will tell you off when it feels that you are in danger. It promises to fix you when you are not being responsible.

Type 2: The Helper

As a Type 2, you want to feel loved. You have a strong desire to help others. You will go out of your way to help a friend in distress. When you begin to lose your presence, you start to fear that no one loves you. You act as though people will only like you if you do something nice for them.

As you get less secure, you try to manipulate those around you. In the end, it backfires because you are suffocating the people you care about through your neediness.

When you are healthy, not only will you care for others without any expectations you will care for yourself. 

For Type 2, the inner critic is watching out for concerns such as are you being helpful enough. Are you being kind enough? Are you being generous and loving? The inner critic will inform you when you are selfish and will put pressure on you to correct your attitude.

Type 3: The Achiever

You are confident! You are determined to succeed! You have endless amounts of energy. 

You make a great mentor for family and friends. Problems start to show themselves when you begin to question your success. You begin to morph yourself into the person you think you need to be to succeed.

You tend to compare yourself with other people. You think life is a competition. It is hard for you to stop and take an afternoon nap.  

When you are vulnerable enough you have a big heart to reveal. 

Underneath all your business is a person, who desires to connect with others at a deep level. You are a person who truly wants to make the world a better place for all.

For Type 3, your inner critic is concerned about your work ethic and your success. 

Are you the best in your field of work? It will remind you that if you are lazy, you will pay for it. If you are not willing to work hard enough, your inner critic will pressure you to do so.

Type 4: The Individualist

You are creative, expressive and intuitive. You desire to connect with people at a sincere heart to heart level. 

Often you feel like you don’t fit in. Sometimes this makes you sad, and other times it compels you to discover who your unique self is. You want to fit in, and you don’t want to be like everyone else.

It is easy for you to get caught up in heavy emotions. It can be hard for you to break out of heavy moods because it is the only way you know how to feel alive.

For Type 4, your inner critic is wanting to make sure you are feeling unique enough  It wants to know if you are being faithful to your feelings? 

If you are not unique and responsive to your feelings, your inner critic will make sure you do it right.

Type 5: The Investigator

You are intelligent, hungry to learn, analytical and objective. The worst fear you have is to look stupid because you don’t know enough.

You love to share with others who are interested in what you are learning.

You might find it hard to stop me from talking. But, if you are talking about something that you don’t know enough about or interested in you will have little to say.

You are a fantastic observer. Your challenge is to stay grounded in your body. It is easy to forget you have physical needs.

For Type 5, the inner critics' message is about how much you know. Are you smart enough, competent enough, and able to explain what you know? If you don’t have enough knowledge, your inner critic will make sure you smarten up by getting more.

Type 6: The Loyalist

You are loyal, likable, witty, and responsible. You love to prevent problems from happening. You want to keep yourself and those you love safe.

Under stress, you can become fearful, judge-mental, rigid and irritable. You begin to lose trust in God, the universe and your body.

You become more and more anxious starting to see the danger in places where there is none.

For Type 6, your inner critic is hyper-focused on keeping you safe. It wants to know if you are fulfilling your obligations to others. Then, if you are not meeting expectations, your inner critic is going to hold you to account.

RELATED: 4 Ways To Shut Down Your Inner Critic (For Good!)

Type 7: The Enthusiast

You love to have fun! You are curious and playful. You have vast amounts of energy. You attract people who like your fun playful energy.

You have an aversion to any form of emotional or physical pain. When you are not at your best, you tend to keep yourself so busy with fun and adventure to avoid pain in your life.

You know that you are not a details person. You can see the larger picture better than most. At your best, you always ensure the projects you start are finished if not by you then by someone else. 

You know you are not at your best when you are never able to complete a project because you get bored so quickly.

For Type 7, your inner critic wants to make sure you are feeling free to follow your passion for adventure. Are you being spontaneous? if you are having fun? Most importantly it wants to know if you are feeling any discomfort. 

If you are your inner critic will devise ways for you to ignore and forget anything that is creating emotional or physical pain.

Type 8: The Challenger

You are direct, authoritative, energetic, and self-confident. You live in the moment. You know what you need to do. You love to help people who have been pushed to the fringes by society.

You are sensitive. You have a big heart. When under stress you will put up barriers around your heart to keep you from being hurt.

You have endless amounts of energy. You say it like it is. You expect those around you to be upfront with you.

You don’t like people getting in your way. When you perceive people to be in your way, you will push them aside, emotionally and physically.

For Type 8, the inner critic wants to focus on how strong you are. It wants to know if you are feeling in charge? If you are looking weak, the inner critic will do everything it can to toughen you up.

Type 9: The Peacemaker

You are a great observer.  You are fantastic at understanding the different points of view of people and groups. You make a great mediator.

You sometimes forget the value of yourself. You don’t realize how important it is for the world for you to show up. The world needs your wisdom.

When you are not at your best, you begin to appease people to stop conflict at any cost. The anger in your will gradually build up until it bursts out in a blowup.

For Type 9, the inner critic is most concerned about keeping the peace. It wants to know if you are keeping your world calm and staying above the conflict. 

If there is any sign of battle, the inner critic will put the pressure on you to make peace at any cost.

Learning what your Enneagram type can help you to become self-aware. 

Part of being self-aware is being able to notice when your inner critic is talking. This can make a big difference.

Befriending your inner critic is life long work. It will never go away. But with practice, you will become more aware of it. The more you become aware of it, the more choices you will have. 

As you quiet this part of your psyche, you will get more in touch with your true self. This is the voice within you that wants to help you be your best self. It wants you to develop and strengthen your gifts so you can share them with the world.

Learning about the Enneagram is one of the best tools to help you connect with your true self and there are other tools such as the Myer-Briggs. Find what works best for you.

No matter what you choose, you are going to do better when you pay attention to the sensations of your body, the thoughts in your head and the emotions of the heart.

There is growing evidence in the work of Heart Math and Philip Shepherd that you have three brains, head, heart, and body. The important thing is that you find activities and practices to help you stay in touch with your three energy centers (brains).

Becoming self-aware is long term work. It is more than worth the effort. The changes may seem small in the beginning, but with time you will start to notice any significant change.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Shush Your Inner Critic That Keeps You From Doing You

Roland Legge is a Life Coach who offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can send him an email.

This article was originally published at REL Consultants . Reprinted with permission from the author.