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How to Balance Your Centers of Expression, Enneagram Nine

Updated: Nov 3



In your study of the Enneagram, have you learned about centers of expression?


What Are Centers of Expression?


They are really at the core of how we show up in the world. Some people project and connect with their emotions, some to their thoughts, and others to their bodies.

As Nines, our strongest center is the Feeling Center, whereas our weakest center is our Thinking Center.


For Example


As you know, I'm a Nine. We have adopted FOUR kids who came from hard places (institutions in Russia and China,) three of whom have lifelong special needs that we knew about beforehand.

When I heard about their horrible circumstances and what their lives would be like as adults, my emotions took front and center and all logic and reason went out the window. We had to go get them. My husband is a Two, so I lucked out with him eventually coming on board with me.


After each adoption, I kept asking myself, "WHAT WAS I THINKING??" I'm telling you, I thought I was going to die.

Let's be honest. I wasn't really thinking. My emotions were in charge. (Well...also God...but that's another story. ;)) Luckily, things have gotten much better with time and they are 100% Fillmores that we love to pieces. But wow. This was much more challenging than I anticipated.

Back to the Centers of Expression. When we as Nines are confronted with an unusual or surprising situation, our sequence of expression into the world is likely to be Feeling Center first, Action Center second, and Thinking Center last. This can be especially true when an Enneagram Nine is in stress.

As our Feeling Center is highly expressed, we can become compassionate and very receptive, and sensitive to others and our environment. But on the flip side, we can struggle to respond appropriately in situations where a more rational response is required. We can also be overly sensitive, and emotionally volatile.

As our Thinking Center is low in its expression, we can become less connected to the details and information that make up the daily flow of life, and not very good at making decisions or being intentional.

So to grow in our mental and emotional health, we need to support a more balanced and healthy expression of our Center of Intelligence.

Here's how we do this:

1) Build self-awareness around the difference between being authentic and receptive vs. being reactive and oversensitive. These are the two ways of expressing our feeling center. What do you notice happening in your mind when you're expressing yourself in each of these ways? What feelings are you experiencing? Just notice and observe. No judgment.

2) Practice naming and describing your emotions to yourself at any given time. Doesn't matter if you're