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Loving It All: 9 Types of Self-Compassion

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A woman with har hair in a ponytail sits with her eyes closed and hands together in meditation.

Loving It All: 9 Types of Self-Compassion

I’d like to share some wisdom I’ve found at the intersection of two things I hold dear: Self-compassion work and the Enneagram.

So, my gift to you is this: a set of powerful self-compassion practices specific to your Enneagram personality type. These are tailored to suit the unique growth edges and needs for each of us.

All the love we hope to find and feel with others? Let’s not forget how important it is to tend to ourselves as well.

“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they’re afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line.  Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
-Dr. Kristen Neff

For those curious as to what self-compassion means exactly, check out this TEDx Talk by the premier expert on the topic, Dr. Kristen Neff, as she highlights the difference between self-esteem and self compassion. 

Frequently, confidence and self-compassion are topics I explore with my coaching clients.

Self-Compassion Practices By Enneagram Type

Type One

Find someone to play with!  Be silly, wild, and adventurous.  Give yourself a break from the constant need to self-control, fix and perfect.  Explore what pure joy means to you and give yourself permission to revel in it.

Type Two

Gift your generous heart all the attention, care and nourishing you typically reserve for others.  What feels totally selfish to you but would most give you what you really need?  Please, go do that.

Type Three

Get in touch with your creative self and let your true nature shine.  Carve out some “be” time to be totally “unproductive” in the ways you are used to, but completely valuable in terms of getting to know your heart and intuition.  Maybe it’s a slow, meandering walk or quiet time with a blank canvas.  Go nuts!

Type Four

Step outside into nature and take in all of the life around you.  Reconnect to the inherent goodness and belonging you share with all things.  Actively challenge your persistent self-doubt and “not good enough-ness.”  Bonus: find a way to be of service to others, particularly in a group you care deeply about.

Type Five

Reach out to a close friend and create time to hang together.  Consider sharing how you feel with them on a personal level, even if scary.  Gift yourself real connection.  Consider reflecting with them on all that is abundant in your lives and the humanity you share.

Type Six

Grant yourself some mental peace through a mindfulness practice that feels accessible, such as a guided mediation, yoga, or tai chi.  As you do, play with the possibility of becoming your own anchor.  Reflect on all the ways you do- and can- provide stability and security for yourself and those around you.

Type Seven

Immerse yourself in anything that demands your full presence- surfing, meditation, scaling a mountain, journaling.  Find that place of quiet focus and sit with what is.  Resist your urge to think about what’s next, better or other that this moment right now. Let yourself be enveloped in tranquility.    

Type Eight

Give that big giant heart of your some tenderness by connecting with your most trusted inner circle.  Show them your un-tough side, bare your fears and vulnerabilities, then receive their genuine support.  Place your hands on your heart and let your strong body rest.  When you feel filled up, share that great kindness with others in need.

Type Nine

Already in tune with common humanity of others, now is your time to differentiate your own needs, feelings, and desires beyond what’s good for the group.  Do something uncomfortable, like expressing yourself in a new way or experimenting with a new physical practice.  For you, self-compassion may be taking action you’ve been avoiding.

Preventing or recovering from burnout is a long-term affair, friends. It requires commitment, forgiveness, care, and practice. May these practices serve you in the ways you need them now and may you be nourished for all the years to come.

“When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life.  Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do.”


-John O’Donohue

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