Type Two: Meditation on Love

Type Twos are the archetype most concerned with mirroring the true nature of love to the world.  Image from www.animaals.com

Type Twos are the archetype most concerned with mirroring the true nature of love to the world.  Image from www.animaals.com

I'm reading the high side of each of the Enneagram types.  They're all such beautiful descriptions of us at our best, but I thought the Type Two's high side was such a nice meditation on the nature of love, I would repost it here.  This is from Don Riso and Russ Hudson's Description of the Type Two at Level 1 in their Personality Types book.  It's not their newest book, but I actually turn to this one more often for some reason.

Because it has so many facets, love is difficult to define.  It means different things to different people in different kinds of relationships.  The word can be used to cover amultitude of virtues as well as vices.  Of all the personality types, Twos think of love in terms of having positive feelings for others, of taking care of others, and of self-sacrifice.  Twos may also see love in terms of intimacy and achieving closeness with others.  These aspects of love are undoubtedly important parts of the picture.  But what Twos do not always remember is that, at its highest, love is more closely aligned with realism than with feelings.  Genuine love wants what is best for the other, even if it means risking the relationship.  Love wants the beloved to become strong and independent, even if it means that the Two must withdraw from the other’s life.  Real love is never used to obtain from others what they would not freely give.  Love outlives a lack of response, selfishness, and mistakes, no matter who is at fault.  And it cannot be taken back.  If it can be, it is not love. 

A central thing to understand about Twos is that although on the surface they seem to be offering love, on a deeper level they are really searching for it.  Two believe that if they love others enough, surely others will love them in return.  Again and again, as we shall see, Twos extend themselves to others with affection, gifts, services, and many other things, but are often disappointed by the responses they receive.  However, until Twos learn to properly love themselves, none of the responses they get, however loving, will make them feel loved. 

Twos believe deeply in the power of love as the prime source of everything good in life, and in many ways they are right.  But what some Twos call “love” and what is worthy of the name are very different things. 

At their best, healthy Twos are amazingly unselfish and altruistic, able to offer others a truly unconditional, continuing love with no strings attached.  Their unconditional love allows Twos to love without concern for themselves and without necessarily being loved in return.  “Getting a return” on their love is not what matters to them. 

Truly unconditional love is both free and freeing; healthy Twos are free to love or not, and others are free to respond or not.  Others are allowed to grow on their own terms, even if it means that they will grow away.  Healthy Twos always remember that it is an immense privilege to be allowed to be a part of someone’s life, a gift others bestow on them, not something they can rightfully claim for themselves.

This is possible because at Level 1, Twos have learned to focus on their own real feelings and to truly nurture themselves.  Healthy Twos are able to do good for themselves without feeling that they are being selfish or fearing that doing so will alienate people.  By learning to love and nurture themselves, Twos no longer have to try to get love from others.  They can honestly assess their own needs and deal with them and so can more objectively see and respond to the needs of the people in their lives.  Sometimes they see that the best thing they can do is to do nothing.  For very healthy Twos, giving is a choice, not a compulsion. 

Very healthy Twos are as altruistic as human beings can be.  They are unselfconscious about their goodness, not letting “their right hand know that their left hand is doing.”  They have immense reservoirs of good will and are absolutely delighted at the good fortune of others.  Their attitude is that good is to be done, no matter who does it or who gets the credit for it.  Very healthy Twos are not angry if someone else takes credit for something they have done.  Good was done, other people have benefited, and that is all that matters. 

The paradox of the very healthy Twos is that they more they learn to give to themselves, the more they enjoy giving to others.  The more revered they are, the more humble they become.  The more power people give them in their lives, they less they want.  The less they look for love from others, the more others love them.  Furthermore, virtue is not simply its own reward: the enduring reward of virtue is happiness.  Very healthy Twos are happy to be good, and are filled with an outflowing joy.  They are among the most radiant human beings one can hope to find in life- radiating the inexpressible happiness which comes from truly being good and doing good for others.