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The Loyal Skeptic

"Dear Lindsey, I want to thank you for your blog. It has given me a lot to think about. However, I just don't think this stuff would work for me. I am still confused about what Enneagram Type I am, and if I'm honest it all just seems a bit too hard. I mean, I've been this way for years, and now you tell me there is another way to be in the world. I guess I get that, but I'm scared to change. I'm scared of what that might mean for my life and my family."

I'm scared too.

Sometimes I am scared at least five times before breakfast.

But I've lived the alternative, and my advice to you is to persevere.

Courage is a little understood emotion. Most people would say that the word 'courage' implies the absence of fear, but the more researchers delve into courage the more they report the opposite. What fear and courage researchers report nowadays is that truly courageous people are those people that acknowledge that they are feeling nervous or anxious about something, but then push themselves to do it any way.

So then that leads us to the next question:

"Well Lindsey, how do I find my courage."

I knew you would ask this so I spent a few days trying to think of my best 'courage stories.' Heroine-ic tales of how I jumped out of planes, cliff jumped in the tropics, launched company after company, but none of these stories seemed to capture the essence of why courage is so essential to the process of transformation and how to tap into courage when you need it most.

So that is why (despite my better judgement) I am going to share one of my more humiliating courage stories. One that still makes me feel equal parts proud and nauseated. Now be fair warned, it is not a great heroine-ic tale, but it is one that I draw on when I am in need of a little extra helping of courage.

Once upon a time, I feel in love with a boy and he fell in love with me...

While on our first overseas trip he suggested, and I agreed (in that way that all new lovers do), that we go skiing. Now let's get something straight.

I hate skiing.

Always have hated skiing.

Always will hate skiing.

There is something about the combination of having my feet locked into something [read: recovering professional modern dancer], snot freezing on your face, and the blatant disregard of perfectly good food and drinks waiting in a perfectly good and warm lodge not miles away, that makes my entire body seize up into an anxious knot. But I not only enthusiastically agreed, I also went out and bought about $300 worth of new ski gear. If I was going to spend my day falling on my butt, at least I was going to look good doing it.

Well, falling on my butt would have been a god-send. What happened instead was that a bad day went from bad, to awful, to one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life.

Picture it. Me, my $300 ski gear, and my 'You Are Worth Pretending That I Like To Ski' Boy rock up to the slopes just in time to hear the announcement of the ice storm that is blowing in and threatening to ruin all skiing for the day. However, just when I am about to suggest that we cuddle up over a hot chocolate, Montana (yes, his real name) our pre-booked ski instructor walk/shuffles up to us and suggests that we go snow boarding instead. Great.

So now, me, my $300 ski gear, and my 'you are worth pretending that I like to ski' boy are sitting in a chair lift as the realization that I have agreed to do what can only be described as a worse version of skiing finally sets in. My body completely forsakes me. If it wasn't so cold that my pee hadn't already frozen inside me, I'm sure it would have rained down yellow droplets on unsuspecting families below.

As we near the drop off point at the top of the mountain I am painfully aware that I have lost all sensation in my hands and feet. I watch as one sickeningly graceful skier after another glides off the lift and bristles off down the mountain. I HATE YOU, I think to myself, or maybe mutter out loud as 'You Are Worth Pretending That I Like To Ski' Boy has just asked me what I said. I half smile, and then look and see that we are up next. Panic!

Here's what went through my mind, in no particular order:

I EFFIN HATE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just jump. Just jump off the lift and jump down the mountain.

Run. Just run off the lift and run down the mountain.

Are you crazy?! No boy is worth this!

Are you crazy?! THIS BOY is totally worth this!

Doesn't matter, once he sees this he will never speak to you again.

You can do this. You are a warrior-fierce-goddess. You can do this.

You can't do this.

You should cry...


And that's what I did, I cried. I cried myself off the lift. I cried myself down the mountain, and I cried myself all the way back to those steaming hot chocolates. All the while refusing to accept any help, or to even look 'You Are Worth Pretending That I Like To Ski' Boy in the face.

Not one of my better days...

But here's why I love this story, I knew I hated skiing (and snowboarding it turns out) but I had a pretty strong inkling that I was in love with 'You Are Worth Pretending That I Like To Ski' Boy. And so I said, 'yes'. I said 'yes' to life and, at least in this case, I said 'yes' to skiing.

Finding the courage to transform your life is a never ending practice of saying 'yes.' Because, as you may have noticed, saying 'yes' to skiing was really saying 'yes' to myself. Yes to taking a risk. Yes to making a fool of myself. Yes to crying myself down a mountain with nothing to show for it save a really good story... Well, not nothing... I am married to 'You Are Worth Pretending That I Like To Ski' Boy... So there's that.

Here's what I've learned through the years. Finding the courage to transform your life takes two things: energy and courage. You cannot have one without the other. You can either ride that ski lift round and round, waiting for things to go your way or the conditions to be perfect, or you can jump off and cry yourself down the mountain. All I'll say is that one makes for a better adventure and a hell of a better story to tell.

You decide.

All that said, if courage is something that you have always struggled with then you may be interested to learn more about how fear and anxiety may be an important aspect of how you make sense of the world. Let us return to my Simple Guide To The Enneagram: A Practical Guide To Getting Out of Boxes, and learn about the Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic.

Simple Guide To The Enneagram:

A Practical Guide To Getting Out Of Boxes

Introduction to Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic

Early on the little Loyal Skeptic lost connection with their inner guide. In an environment that either was, or was perceived to be, dangerous the little Loyal Skeptic took on the belief that the world is not a safe place and therefore learned to look outwardly for a sense of security and trust. The forgotten message for the Loyal Skeptic is that it is not okay to trust oneself.

If you are a Loyal Skeptic, or now a Loyal Skeptic, you might describe someone who is very loyal and steadfast but also looks for the holes in any argument, is skeptical of new ideas or leaders, and leans towards pessimism. However for the Loyal Skeptic, skepticism and pessimism are all effective tools for making sense of a potentially dangerous or ambiguous landscape.

So how does this get in the way of transformation:

1) Does not like uncertainty. Would rather deny our true feelings than create a situation that would result in uncertainty.

2) Skepticism and pessimism, although useful tools for gathering information, can be alienating and off-putting.

3) Afraid of change.

4) Does not know their own feelings. Looks to others for emotions.

5) Looking for security they become wary of new thoughts or beliefs

6) Become dependent upon others -parents, significant other, work - for sense of security or protection.

7) Only allows safe or acceptable emotions to surface.

It can be difficult to start or stick to your path toward transformation when you have not yet learned to listen to your self, your inner guide . Stop looking outside of yourself for help, support, courage. It starts from within. You know what you want. Trust yourself.

You are courageous beyond your wildest dreams.

You are courageous beyond your wildest dreams.

Speak up.

Speak out.

Live your life, Dear One.

The thing, place, or person you are hoping will be your everything, will fill the void within you, they cannot do that for you. You have to do it, Dear One. You have to fill that void yourself or else they will always let you down.

You are safe and secure.

Stop depending on something outside of yourself.

You are safe and secure.

Stop depending on something outside of yourself.

Stop playing the martyr, Dear One, and start figuring out who you are and what you want and then write and tell me about it here,

It's time to make some stories of your own! And I can't wait to hear about them.


Lindsey T. H. Jackson

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