Sixes easily tune into the potential for unexpected or hidden danger and risks. They act on and react to a sense of trepidation and anxiety. Sixes may project themselves as sceptical and tend to think in “yes, but...” and “what if...” ways. They are attuned to issues of trust, responsibility and loyalty and have an inherent need to feel that they are safe and they belong.
At lower levels of integration, they may be paranoid with a tendency to over-react from a place of insecurity. Their loyalty turns into dependency, complaining and over-sensitivity.
At higher levels of integration, healthy Sixes are self-reliant and grounded. They give confidence and courage to those around them, and have the resilience to cope with what is unexpected and threatening without becoming reactive and fearful.
The Enneagram Type 6 wing 7 is influenced by the adjacent types on the Enneagram circle, namely Type 7. This 'close neighbour' wing adds a flavour of extroverted playfulness, optimism and creativity to the core Type 6's loyal and security-seeking nature. While the core type remains unchanged, the wing can offer a set of resources and characteristics that may be helpful at times, depending on the situation.
For Type 6 wing 7 individuals, the Seven's ability to see multiple perspectives may support them in being more innovative and less inclined to imagine the worst. The wing also invites them to be more trusting in the goodness of others and to be more light-hearted, able to laugh at their own fears. However, the wing may also present some challenges, such as avoidance of confronting issues in front of them, seeking escape into ideas or plans to postpone action, and risking withdrawal from life or distraction by trivial things due to fear of pain.
Understanding and connecting to both of our wings can help us expand our perspective and increase our emotional and behavioural repertoire. By leaning into our wings, to one side or the other, we can develop and grow in ways that support our personal and professional lives. Whether one wing is more familiar or predominant, or if we choose to balance both wings, the Enneagram can offer a way to understand the tension and influences on an individual when they are stuck, and create the potential to reframe their dilemma as a development opportunity.