Learning about the Wings adds a little more to the map of our personality.
The Wings are the two personality styles on either side of our core style. So a Two can have a Three wing or a One wing. That means that the person with a core personality of a Two might have either a little more focus on right/wrong and be a little more critical like a One or be a little more ambitious and out to impress and get things done like a Three.
Experts and researchers agree that most people have a dominant wing to our personality. However, some people don’t seem to have a very strong leaning in either direction and still others seem to lean both ways. If you know enough about the two styles on either side of your own, you can get a sense of whether you relate more to one or the other or whether you tend to act a bit more like one than the other.
It may just be a case of learning that wings exist, which then leads to the realization that, “Oh now I get why, even though I’m an Eight, I have this strong drive to be doing new and exciting things all the time. That must be my Seven wing.”
Understanding the wings also helps people clarify their core personality style when they are first trying to figure that out. They may relate to two types that sit next to each other on the Enneagram symbol, but realize that one is more ‘who they are’ than the other.
Think about a large family. Let’s say the mom is from India and the dad is Japanese. The children will not appear 50/50 Indian and Japanese. Some will look 85% Indian, some will look 85% Japanese while others will have random and arbitrary amounts of each ethnicity in their appearance, behaviors and preferences.
In the same way, all Fours look different. Some have more ambition, a stronger drive to be productive, and more need to impress (like Threes). Others will be more introverted and more heady (like Fives). While still others will have some combination of both.
This topic is something to play with. Do you feel more connected to one wing or the other or both or neither? How does that play out in your life? What can you learn from the things that help those other types?
I find that, when people get stuck in a pattern of one of the wing styles, it is usually easier to relax the habit or tendency of that wing type than it is to relax the inclinations of the core type. So enjoy how much easier it is to find freedom in the areas of your life that are affected by your wing or wings.
Okay, one quick example:
I am a Seven and I have more Six in me than Eight, (though there’s definitely some Eight in there too.) When it comes to the self-doubt I get sometimes, which I identify as part of my Six wing as opposed to my core personality style, it is easier to recognize than my ingrained Seven habits because it is so different than my normal personality structure. Sevens don’t tend to get caught up in self-doubt the way I can. Once I recognize the self-doubt, I remember what Sixes are encouraged to do, which is to trust their internal sense of what they know to be true. Because trusting myself is a much more solid internal feature for me as a Seven than it is for a Six, it isn’t that hard to turn my attention inward and let go of the self-doubt. It also fills me with compassion for Sixes because I know that they struggle with self-doubt to a much greater degree than I do and they have significantly more difficulty trusting themselves.
See what you notice about yourself. What do you think your wing type is? What do you know about that type that you might struggle with? What gifts of that type do you bring to the world? I’d love to hear!