No spoilers in this episode, don't worry!
In this episode, I share what I think typing fictional characters can tell us about ourselves and the Enneagram itself.
You can find the full show notes on the blog here.
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00:00:09 Hi, you're listening to the Christian Enneagram podcast. I'm Kim Eddy, your host, and self-proclaimed Enneagram BFF. Every week I stop by with some Enneagram encouragement, motivation, and inspiration, and sometimes a special guest. Here, we ask the big questions about the Enneagram when it comes to your faith, we get to know ourselves a little better, and we grow in empathy for others. I hope you enjoy today's episode and I'm just so excited you're here. So let's get into it.
00:00:45 Hello, my friend. I am very glad that you are here with me today. I wanted to have a little bit of fun today and talk about what we can learn about the Enneagram from the movie "Encanto." It has been, that movie has been filling my mind lately because I think I've seen it about 50 times! Actually. I don't know if that's true; it sure feels like it though, with a couple of kids in the house and some sick days. We've also done dance parties to the soundtrack about 45 times, so it sure feels like I know that movie inside and out, and I did do a post of, a kind of "for fun" post on Instagram about how I would type some of the characters. And it prompted a lot of really good conversations, or really good, some really good comments, and I just wanted to share a few things that you can learn about the Enneagram from typing fictional characters (in this case, "Encanto".)
00:01:51 And side note, I am not going to be providing any spoilers; I'm not going to tell you what happens in the movie "Encanto" so if you haven't seen it, don't worry. It's really good though; you should, you should definitely watch it. It's available on Disney plus; I think you can rent it on Amazon prime; there's a lot of places where you could find it, if you haven't seen it. (Hint, hint.)
00:02:15 Like I said at the beginning of the episode, I shared an Instagram post, I created an Instagram post where I typed a few of what I consider to be the main characters; probably they're my favorite characters, but they also have some more of the development that you want to see in a well-rounded character: a struggle, strengths, some hints at what past life has been and a growth arc in the movie, so that we can see how they move forward in life.
00:02:46 And that can give us a lot more hints on their Enneagram type than just kind of a superficial character who is two or three faceted throughout the whole movie, if that makes sense. So I shared a post and there were a lot of feelings about the types that I gave, I suppose, or saw in these characters. And I love that it brings that up, as long as we recognize what's happening. So I wanted to bring up a few points about some of the things we can learn about ourselves and the Enneagram as we go about typing fictional characters.
00:03:26 Number one, we want our favorite character to share our type. And this is completely natural. I've seen some people grasping at some straws when it comes to Enneagram-typing these characters; say, "No, they have to share my type because of these things." We want our favorite character, or the one that we resonate with the most, to share our Enneagram type; and what this can tell us about ourselves and about the Enneagram is that we are more alike than we think we are.
00:04:02 We have a lot more in common than we think we do. And even when we are a different Enneagram type than somebody else, we have a lot of similarities. Now what we can, so that's something we can learn about ourselves; because of that, that point that we want to share the Enneagram type with our main character or our favorite character, what can we learn about the Enneagram?
00:04:27 Because, through that lens of "I want to share the Enneagram type with that my favorite character." And what we can learn about the Enneagram is that the framework itself holds so much more connections, so many more connections to other types and similarities and ways that we find overlap with other types then you might realize you have, and I'm not going to have time to explain all of these today, but you have things like overlays; you have all of the different triads, those groupings of three, where we share similarities in different areas of life or how we approach life with these different groupings of three. So you have overlays, you have triads, you have the lines that you are connected to on the Enneagram, where you move there in stress or growth or security and rest and things like that.
00:05:21 And you also have a, what am I missing? Wings, you know, and, and so many other things that could point to a connection piece without needing to share in those core motivations that make up our main type. And I know I'm getting into the weeds a little bit here and I'm nerding out a little bit, but I do love typing fictional characters because this gives us so much insight into ourselves: what we aspire to be, what we connect with, the struggles that we really feel deeply when we see it in others; and, and all of those things are a window into ourselves.
00:06:06 And that leads me to point number two, what we can learn about ourselves in the Enneagram based on typing fictional characters, and that is, we often are typing ourselves more than we're typing that fictional character.
00:06:25 And this is because a character doesn't have motivations any more so than are written for them. The backstory that's given is all that we have; they do not, can not have the nuance and, and complication of a, for lack of a better term, "real" human being who has lived a life. Well-written characters have a lot more, but they are born out of somebody's mind (or a group of "somebodies'" you know, if it's, if it's a group of writers) and this brings about this phenomenon of, we get to read into that character what we want to see.
00:07:14 And granted, we sometimes do this with real people (which I really want to stress, we don't do that!) but when it comes to fictional characters, they are, even more so than we realize, a fresh canvas for us to paint what we believe about them on too.
00:07:37 And so the insights that we often gain from fictional characters that we connect with are more about us than they are about the writing, or what was intended by the people who created that character, or the person who did and this. So that's something we can learn about ourselves based on that.
00:08:03 But the Enneagram also provides us this, a reason, a reason why we do that. And the reason is, we see life from our perspective, and we assume and expect others to do the same. And this is a fascinating phenomenon. As you start to understand it, you can see yourself doing it and you can see other people doing it and projecting onto you. And that's not fun, but it's quite fascinating to think about and to see how you've done it to other people.
00:08:35 But when it comes to fictional characters, we get to do that without any, any negative repercussions. There's no relationship to worry about; there's no soul on the other end of that, that we are putting, or projecting onto. We really, when it comes to fictional characters, get to live the story with them. And we are bringing our own life perspective to that fictional character. And so you're going to see people who are typing characters widely differently, and they're seeing connections that are widely just very different. And this is good. As long as we recognize that there is no right answer.
00:09:25 And that is what leads me to my third point (and my final point probably), and that is when you're typing a fictional character, there is no right answer. What can this tell us about ourselves? Well, really that tells us that again, that character is only given as many facets as are written for it. There, it's almost like working with an AI to some degree, like only the writing; only what is done; only the acting; you have this and no more.
00:10:00 You can't have a conversation with that character; you can't ask them about their past life; you can't dive into their motivations beyond what is written for them, and the dialogue or a song. And so there is no mistyping that is possible for a fictional character. And I get that, that is quite a big statement for me to say, as an Enneagram coach.
00:10:25 I think that there's a lot of types for different characters that just don't make sense; that we see, "Oh, well that contradicts this," but you don't know why they're saying what they're saying; you don't know what pressures or expectations they have on them; you don't know if they could be lying... So I don't know. I don't think that mistyping is possible when it comes to fictional characters.
00:10:50 What can we learn about the Enneagram because of this? And you've heard me say it before; I say it all the time. It is one of my, I guess, most prolific things that I say when I'm teaching about the Enneagram. And that is, it is all about motivations; and only we, me, you... Only I can know, fully, my motivations. And often I have to do the work to uncover them, because even I can't fully see them at first until I do the work.
00:11:28 And so it makes sense why fictional characters can't be mistyped because we can't get to their deepest motivations beyond what is created for them by another, by, by an actual living human being. And so it's really fascinating and a lot of fun to type fictional characters because, in conclusion, I suppose we end up learning a lot more about ourselves in the process. And we learn if we are having these conversations with other people, nerding out about the Enneagram over fictional characters with another person, we learn something about the other person.
00:12:13 So here are a few tips for you, if you are having these fun conversations about typing fictional characters and nerding out and geeking out, like I do:
00:12:25 One, leave lots of room for differences of opinion, because they are all valid. You might have a lot of valid reasons why you disagree, but you can't ask the character! You can't go to Mirabelle and say, "Hey, why did you do that? What was your experience leading up to now that caused this fallout and this inner struggle at this point in time?" You can't have those conversations with them. So you have to just allow there to be differences.
00:12:59 So there's lots of grace available in these conversations and recognize also that in, in part, what you are sharing and what you are hearing from the other person is a reflection of what they wanted to see in that character. So while it's not them telling you exactly about themselves, it can give a window into what resonates with them, what resonates with you, how you are different and unique. And that that's a beautiful thing. So as you're having these conversations, I want to encourage you not to allow these "typing sessions," I suppose, to become arguments; because there cannot be one right answer. There just cannot be! When I type fictional characters, I try and get as detailed as possible and talk about where they might go in stress, what their survival instinct, subtype might be, and just kinda fill this out in a way that makes sense to me as an Enneagram coach and someone who understands the Enneagram pretty well.
00:14:09 But I also recognize that there's so much gray. There's so much I can't see. There's so much that I (even though I'm trying not to) am bringing my own assumptions into, in order to draw a conclusion about that character's Enneagram type. So I recognize that I could be wrong, even though I'm trying to come up with and see all the reasonable ways I could be typing this person.
00:14:36 And that's my advice for you as well is to allow them to be gray and have fun with it. Like, let's have fun with it. That's what it's about. Typing fictional characters is like the Enneagram equivalent of a playground. So have fun and recognize that there's really not many wrong ways to use a playground. You get to choose how you want to play and have fun with it.
00:15:04 We're all different. We get to be unique. And it's just a lot of fun. I know. I keep saying that word. It is fun. So if you have not seen Encanto, I highly recommend it. You don't have to have your Enneagram glasses on to enjoy it, but if you're like me, then you always have two pairs of glasses on: you have your glasses that allow you to see the big E at the optometrist's office, and you have your Enneagram glasses on because you literally cannot put them down, which is my burden to bear. And that's one reason why I share with you about the Enneagram so that you can pick those Enneagram glasses up whenever it feels right to you and put them down.
00:15:47 So that's all I have for you today. I hope you enjoyed this kind of more lighthearted episode. I'd love to know what you thought, what you think the Encanto characters' types might be, and some of your reasons, if you want to get into that conversation. And also I'd love to know if you have a movie that has kind of those deeper characters that we can dive into, that you might want me to make an Instagram post about. So you can bring all of those thoughts to my Instagram dms @christianenneagram.coach. I'd love to hear from you and that's all I have for this week. See you next episode. Bye friends.