Run, Forrest, Run: How the Enneagram Helps Us Get Unstuck

January 26, 2020

Categories: Enneagram

One of my favorite movie scenes happens near the beginning of Forrest Gump. The young Forrest has braces on his legs and has trouble walking. At one point, some bullies knock Forrest to the ground. He’s trying to get away from them, but he can only hobble away slowly because of his physical limitations.

Run Forrest, Run

That’s when his friend Jenny says the iconic line: “Run Forrest, Run.” As Forrest starts to hobble away, the braces on his legs break away and Forrest begins to run, growing faster and stronger with each step.

Limitations and Hang-Ups

I love the image of the braces breaking. Not only is it incredibly moving, but it represents something that we all struggle with. We all have limitations and hang-ups that hold us back from being the full human being that God created us to be. Many of us strain against our limitations and long to overcome them. But it’s difficult work. Often, personal growth feels like two steps forward and one step backward.

9 Ways of Being

When I talk about the Enneagram with others, I often think of that scene from the movie Forrest Gump. The Enneagram describes 9 personality types. After learning about the Enneagram for a while, most of us can see ourselves in one of the 9 types. It can be enlightening to use the Enneagram for deeper self-understanding, but that’s really not where the Enneagram shines most brightly. It’s what comes next.

Catching Ourselves

The real power of the Enneagram is that once we understand our main type, we can “catch ourselves” when we are acting out of our personality. We may have developed a certain way of being, based on our experiences and how we were raised. But we don’t have to stay there. Once we begin to gain an awareness of when we are acting out of our type, we can make different choices. We might recognize that acting a certain way is not in our best interests, and we can explore other options.

Leave the Braces Behind

I love the visual of Forrest Gump running down the road as fast as he can go, braces breaking, leaving the bullies eating his dust. In a similar way, once we understand our type, we don’t have to let our personality restrict us. We too can leave the “braces” of our personality behind us and run like the wind.


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