• Alex Rathbun

Enneagram One: The Reformer



As you likely know if you've been following along with me for a while, the Enneagram has become a pretty big part of my life in the last couple years. Check out this post for an overview of the Enneagram and the impact it's had on my life.


The more I learn about it, the more I think everyone should use the Enneagram! And once you've taken it, you can keep learning more about yourself and about the Enneagram for years to come because it's such an detailed and deep way of looking at the world. But I thought it would be helpful to start by gathering the experiences of those around me and share them with you!


This week's guest, Ashley Fulton, is a Type One. A Type One is nicknamed "The Reformer" - their basic desires are for excellence and integrity. My goal of this interview is to help you either better understand yourself or more clearly connect to a Type One in your life. Read on to learn a wealth of insight from Ashley:




1. When and why did you first learn about the Enneagram?


"I can't remember the exact moment, but it was about 2 years ago. I was never able to connect with the Myers Briggs but there was something about the Enneagram that drew me in. I felt incredibly seen and understood as I would read through the literature. It connected the dots of my behaviors and patterns and was enlightening."



2. How has the Enneagram impacted how you see yourself?


"It has helped put language and explanation to the condemnation that I have put on myself my entire life. As a Type One, for me there is always this loud inner critic within that is berating me about what I'm not doing, who I'm not, and it's just really negative. It's easy to give in to that voice and I can find myself believing these lies about myself.


"Knowing this has really helped me to pay attention and know when that's happening. For me to know that I will never meet my own expectation of myself because they are ridiculously unattainable, is good. Tuning out the inner critic and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit is huge. So when my inner critic is telling me that I'm bad and unloveable, I know that's not true. I know who God says I am, and I'm Beloved. I got it tattooed on my arm so I can see it because I need to be reminded everyday that I'm loved just the way that I am."



3. How has the Enneagram impacted the relationships in your life and how you view others?


"It's given me self awareness. As a Type One with a Two wing, I'm a reformer. To add to that, my instinctual subtype is one-to-one. So more than perfecting myself, I tend to focus on perfecting those around me aka my husband. I know you're all thinking, poor guy. Give him a hug the next time you see him ;)


"Now that I have the self-awareness that this is what I do, I can recognize it when it's happening and regroup. I'm not perfect so I don't catch it every time before I'm in the thick of it, but  I'm learning to love others that are closest to me by accepting where they are out without putting judgement on them.


"Resentment also impacts relationships in my life and how I view others. Ones are part of the gut triad, and we have more anger flowing and it's easy to suppress the anger. That can lead to continual frustration which then turns into resentment. This can cause me to put up walls in relationships. I'm still in process of trying to figure out to address my anger in these situations appropriately without suppressing but i'm just not there yet."



4. How do you most relate to your Enneagram?


"When I'm moving towards growth or health I move towards a healthy Type Seven. I become less critical of self and more self-accepting, extending myself grace.  I'm more optimistic, joyful, and spontaneous. It reminds me of this beautiful childlike joy where everything in the world is as it should be!


"When I'm under stress I move towards some unhealthy characteristics of Type Four.  I can feel alienated and moody. I turn my anger inward sometimes, but with the one-to-one instinctual subtype I mentioned earlier, my anger comes out more sideways on those around me often involving blame. Once this happens my inner critic begins berating me and I have to battle through guilt and shame which can lead to depression."



5. What's the biggest misconception about you or your type?


"Until recently I tended to think of being a Type One as this dreadful thing compared to all the other numbers! Almost as if I hand enneagram type envy. lol. I've often found myself in other Enneagram circles sharing who is what type and the response to being a Type One is usually, OH...You're a One, followed with what feels like a silent 'that sucks for you'.


"But, recently I've come to value and treasure my Oneness and my fellow Enneagram Oners :) As a One, we are always seeing the errors and things that need to be reformed. We aren't looking for these things as one might think, they just jump out and assault us which can be exhausting. We need Type Ones. Everyone is valuable but I've come to a place of truly valuing my Oneness and my attention to imperfections and errors and the reform that I can bring."



6. Answer the following: I feel loved when ____. I feel unloved when ___. 


"The core desire of a one is to have integrity, to be ethical and virtuous or in short to be GOOD! I feel loved when I feel seen and appreciated for who I really am, not who my inner critic says I am. When others see the goodness in me and speak that blessing over me, I feel incredibly loved.


"It's very easy for me to feel unloved when I receive criticism especially if I'm not in a healthy place. As a Type One I'm always criticizing myself so to have someone else point out additional criticism can be overwhelming. It's an area I want to grow in because we can all benefit from criticism and I want to be teachable without feeling crushed by inner critic."




Stick around for week 3 to hear from Ashley's husband, Brian, who's an Enneagram Three!


If you'd like to learn more about Type Ones, I recommend this podcast (updated).


Did you learn anything new or interesting from today's interview? Did you relate to Ashley? Does it sound totally not like you? Let me know in the comments below! Is there someone on your mind that could benefit from this post? Pass it along!

Brightly Alex