More futile attempts to be a better person!
Today we are going to discuss people who are Type Twos on the Enneagram. And why I would like to be more like them. AHEM:
When Twos are healthy and in balance, they really are loving, helpful, generous, and considerate. People are drawn to them like bees to honey. Healthy Twos warm others in the glow of their hearts. They enliven others with their appreciation and attention, helping people to see positive qualities in themselves that they had not previously recognized. In short, healthy Twos are the embodiment of “the good parent” that everyone wishes they had: someone who sees them as they are, understands them with immense compassion, helps and encourages with infinite patience, and is always willing to lend a hand—while knowing precisely how and when to let go. Healthy Twos open our hearts because theirs are already so open and they show us the way to be more deeply and richly human.
The enneagram, as I may have mentioned before, assigns a sort of key "flaw" to each type, and if you are reading one of the books trying to figure out which type you are, my friend says you'll know when you are reading a description and thinking, "oh s&%* oh s*$% that's me." So it's not really this warm fuzzy thing that makes you feel awesome about yourself. ALAS.
THAT SAID. I know a whole heck of a lot of Twos in real life and they are ALL on the Healthy and In Balance side. Twos are the people who are always thinking of what you might need and how they might take care of you. Twos are the people for whom bringing a meal to a family with a new baby is the easiest and most no brainer thing. Twos have dinner at your house and before you know it they've washed all the dishes. The Twos I know are empathetic, good gift givers, people who consistently go out of their way. I... am not a Two.
I am trying to think of all the times I've brought a meal to a family with a new baby. I am having an easier time thinking of people to whom I DIDN'T bring meals, even people like SUPER GOOD FRIENDS. I throw baby showers, I buy gifts, I visit (eventually), but unlike my Two friends, ways I can practically help someone out almost never occur to me. It's embarrassing, really. The meal thing is just ridiculous. Sometimes I can barely cook for my own family, so I know that's part of the problem. And I'm stuck with all these foodies and great cooks for friends, so I'm terrified of bringing something not up to par. But the "helping" never outweighs the "I'm too busy". GAH!
A friend of mine said, "But you're always bringing me cookies!" And I said, "That's because I like to bake! Not because I like to bake for YOU!" Maybe that's a good way to describe it. Also, don't you want to be friends with me?
My growing awareness of this deficiency has meant making a greater effort to NOTICE. At the very least I can NOTICE. So I try to be aware of messes or how I can help in the kitchen or asking someone what I can do since I will never come up with a good idea on my own. I'm not as completely out of it assistance-wise as I used to be. But I am still not a Two. Twos are in their very own class of amazing.
It helps to know, though, that I'm NOT a Two. I do other things. I have different motivations, different flaws, different perspectives on things. Lots of people aren't Twos! Lots of us suck at bringing dinner to friends! It's sort of like when you start to focus on what you're good at instead of what you aren't. Stop trying to make yourself something else, and do what you DO even better. Right? Right.
So what CAN I do?
A pregnant friend was over the other night and noticed that I organized my bookshelf by color. Lots of people point this out and it never fails to make me feel like an Anal Retentive Weirdo - then again, EMBRACE WHAT YOU ARE! Anyway, my friend LIKED it and so I said, "Pregnant Friend, I might not bring you dinner for months after your baby is born, but I can totally go to your house and organize your bookshelves."
If only the things I'm good at were a little more USEFUL...
The thing is, I'm VERY empathetic. Like, to a FAULT almost, so that I often have to tell people not to tell me stories about so and so or what they heard on the news because AUGH I can't deal with it. I'm a good listener! I want to take care of you! But in a sort of... I don't know. Emotional way? Like with talking and praying and hand holding and just sitting there and being near. But anything of practical value? I'm hopeless. I am TRYING, but I am hopeless. I have to be prompted or see what OTHER people are doing to help before I even THINK to be helpful OMG I AM TERRIBLE.
Anyway, I suppose all of this is really just to say that all of my Twos have been taking care of me over the last couple of months, or even since this third baby showed up. I have Twos in the internet too and I'm pretty sure you know who you are and today I'm just feeling awed by all of you giver types. You are so great. I wish I were more like you, but while I'm working on it I am happy to sit here and eat the chocolate you bring me while you clean up my kitchen.