Every Enneagram type has what’s called a “deadly sin.”
The Nine’s deadly sin is sloth.
I used to equate slothfulness with laziness. But there’s more to it than that.
Slothfulness for the Nine looks like doing anything other than engaging in discomfort.
The Sloth is an Escape
In The Peacemaker, Growing as in Enneagram 9 by Elizabeth Bennett, she describes sloth as not laziness, but numbness.
She points out that you can be very active physically, and still be using the activity to numb yourself to a conflict, conviction, or even just a task that really needs to be done.
It can also look like sleeping too much, eating too much, and engaging in mind-numbing behaviors like TV, reading, medication, or food.
Anything to not have to engage in the present.
She says that, instead of a whisper, sloth looks more like the open arms of a hug:
“Come to me, you don’t need to be here.”
“Escape in me, I have what will comfort you.”
“This is too much, isn’t it? Taking this pill/signing up for one more class/watching that whole season of your favorite show will help you.”
It reminds me of the beckoning of the evil villains in Disney movies. So sneaky. So tempting.
I notice that even doing the dishes when it’s time to put my younger kids to bed and my husband is around, is sloth for me.
So is jumping on my computer when my kids are home after school, or Deleting a Sign-Up Genious email without looking at it first and considering how I can help.
What is it For You?
What do you do to buffer, or numb yourself from engaging in discomfort?
Awareness is the first step for changing. If you can pinpoint even one way that you’re doing it, then you’ve made your first step toward a more rich, fulfilling life.
The next step is to allow yourself to process what you’re feeling. Creating a dialog in your head is really powerful.
“They are talking about something that feels like conflict to me, and I notice how my phone is beckoning me to pull it out so I can easily disengage. I’m feeling anxiety. I feel a tightening in my chest. (slow breaths) I’m just going to allow this anxious feeling while I focus on it for a minute.”
And boom, before you know it, your body has processed this emotion and you’re finding yourself engaging in a conversation that matters.
Such. Good. Work.
Try it and tell me what you notice.
I’m on a mission to help as many Enneagram 9’s as possible to stop sleepwalking through their lives and see how they can navigate conflict and daily stressors with a deep and gracious presence…instead of checking out. Have you checked out The Bold Nine Academy yet? See how I can help!