It can be tricky even to look at our blindspots as Nines because discomfort is something we are very sensitive and averse to at all levels Unfortunately, you may have already experienced this in therapy, facing what we habitually avoid being aware of tends to feel really uncomfortable. (This is why we avoid doing so in the first place!)
So why do it? Well, the specific ways Type 9s function to create peace, avoid conflict, and maintain friendly relations with people can sometimes lead them to deaden themselves to important aspects of their experience—like their anger and their desires.
The need for comfort dominates their experience and keeps them from being motivated to gain access to deeper forms of connection—both with their own depths and with others. But here’s the good news. If they can look at your blind spots and deal with any pain or discomfort that arises around them, you can eventually start to feel more powerful in your life and enjoy your gifts and strengths.
For this type has a great deal of energy, which sometimes they tend to give away to others. You may even feel depressed because of how your Type 9 survival strategies have led you to “fall asleep” to your inherent sense of aliveness. You may have even cut yourself off in some way from a deeper, more intense experience of life when you disconnect from any emotions that might create tensions with others.
The good news is that if you can tolerate the fear of your own power and energy—and the fear that you might hurt someone if you express how angry and disappointed you actually feel—you will then, if done in a pro-social way, be able to redirect your energy more consciously for your own benefit towards activities and pursuits that are meaningful to you and may even make a difference in the world for other people.
If you identify with Type 9, here are some of the blind spots we might want to become more aware of and talk about in our sessions, blindspots which you might decide to start integrating into your sense of self, in order to move forward on life path.
Do you rarely get angry? Have you have actually “gone to sleep” to your anger? Do you avoid becoming aware of your anger because expressing it might lead to conflict? Have you considered the costs of this? Here are some actions you can take to integrate this blind spot:
- Notice when you feel small signs of anger or tamped-down forms of anger, like frustration, irritation, or stubbornness. Turn up the volume on all forms of anger, no matter how subtle.
- Realize that, when you don’t consciously feel and express your anger, it doesn’t go away; it leaks out as passive aggression. Learn to recognize when you are leaking.
- Become more aware of how and when you express aggression passively. Make lists of things you can do to be more active and direct in these situations, even if you are not ready to take these actions.
- Explore all the reasons why you don’t want to feel or express anger— both generally and because of experiences in your past. Talk about this with a friend or therapist.
- Ask the people in your life to help you learn to express anger. Tell them about any fears you may have connected with being angry. Take the risk to start expressing your anger in small ways, being careful at the beginning. Learn how to express your frustration or disagreement as soon as it happens, so that it doesn’t build up.
- Reframe anger as a good thing. When it’s channeled consciously, it can help you establish boundaries, assert your needs, know what’s most important, and access power.
Not Knowing What You Want
Do you often have no idea what you want? Do you go along with the agendas of others because you don’t know or can’t express your own desires or opinions? Do you tend not to have an agenda? Do you have trouble communicating what you want? Here are some actions you can take to integrate this blind spot:
- Ask yourself what you want more often. Keep asking, even if you don’t yet have an answer. And remember to ask this of your heart, not just your head. The heart knows more than the head about wishes and desires.
- Remind yourself that it’s okay not to know what you want. With time and consistent effort, you can learn to access your preferences.
- Don’t judge yourself for not yet knowing what you want.
- Ask the people in your life to inquire about what you want, to express interest in knowing what you want, and to give you time to figure out what you want.
- Express opinions more often, even if you don’t feel that strongly about what you say. Work against your tendency to see every perspective as equally valid. Push yourself to choose a side.
- Next time you say that you don’t really care what happens, question whether this is how you rationalize not knowing what you want, not feeling the pain of not knowing what you want, and not doing the work of figuring out what you want. This is a potential manifestation of your passion of sloth.
Do you find many ways to avoid conflict? Do you make excuses for avoiding conflict? Does your avoidance of conflict limit you and the people around you? Here are some things you can do to integrate this blind spot:
- Explore your beliefs about conflict. Explore all your fears related to conflict. What do you fear will happen if you engage in conflict?
- Notice if you fear conflict because you believe it will inevitably lead to (potentially permanent) separation. Challenge this belief. Stay open to evidence that conflict can bring you closer to people. Learn to tell the difference between lack of conflict and true harmony. Deep and lasting peace is usually achieved through positive confrontation.
- Learn about and explore all the positive uses of conflict—supporting healthy boundaries, deepening relationships, and letting people know where you stand.
- Practice “leaning into” conflict to express disagreement and make yourself more known, more important, and more included as who you really are.
- Engage in conflict in small ways by saying “no” and establishing healthy boundaries.
- Allow yourself to “go against” people or what’s happening as a way of expressing your power. Allow yourself to feel bothered, upset, or angry about situations you don’t like.
REFLECTION: How do you suffer as a Nine in having these blindspots function in your life. Which of these would you like to work on in terms of getting more out of your relationships with others or your self?