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  • Writer's pictureJessica Morgan McAtee

Enneagram 1: Reformer Perfectionist

Updated: Jul 18, 2020

Although the original Enneagram didn't have names associated with each number, modern psychology does. This type is called the Reformer or the Perfectionist. People of this type wish to leave the world better than they found it. They have a mission to improve themselves and everything in their realm of influence to the best of their ability.

Their highest goal is to be good and virtuous. They are big on integrity. If a One tells you she will do something, she will do it. They have exceptionally high standards and are punctual. They are detail oriented and ethical. They easily notice mistakes or things our of place. They are dutiful.

Every number has a sin or a passion and for Ones it is anger. The intelligence center for Ones is their gut or their instinct. This means they tend to act before thinking and don't consult their emotions. The exception may be their anger, which is every lurking below the surface, to their dismay and often denial.

Ones are afraid of being bad, evil or corrupt. They hold high standards for themselves and this is why they tend to do the same for others. They have a consistent nagging inner-voice (that the rest of us don't have) that tells them they are not good enough or not meeting the best standards. What is difficult for them to see is that others may not see things the same way as they do and that is perfectly acceptable.

Ones tend to be very black and white about issues. When others are not this way Ones can become irritated. When others live with what is perceived as more freedom, fun, frivolity or sloppiness, Ones become resentful. They boil when others don't follow the rules that they feel morally obligated to follow. "Why am I the one who does all the work?" The frustration and irritation they constantly experience is the anger that they struggle with and spend a lifetime repressing.

Though ordinary Ones typically don't experience themselves this way, others experience them as uptight, rigid, judgmental and critical. In most cases, this tension is visible in how they carry themselves and in their faces, eyes and remarks. They glare at people and don't know they are doing it.

Of all of the numbers, perhaps Ones are most willing and able to do self-work for the sake of shaking the old patterns. They love improvement. Then, they may be able to recognize the impossible burden they place on themselves of personal obligation. They can find serenity and release the self-imposed duties that they unnecessarily assign to themselves. They can relax. They understand that everyone is valuable and deserving even with flaws.

Healthy Ones can intentionally have fun, even if all the work isn't done. They practice patience which is the antithesis of their anger. They are aware of their critical inner-voice and can calmly thank it for its input and let it be more of a kind guide rather than a disciplinarian. They are a shining example of honesty, fairness and goodness. They can let go and enjoy the moment even without everything being perfect, because life never is.

Learning to let go,

Jessica Morgan McAtee

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