Updated: Jul 16
I'm not sure how I ever made it in life prior to knowing the Enneagram.
It is no exaggeration to say that I use it every day.
I cannot say enough about how it fundamentally changed my relationships, my perspective and most importantly, me.
It was six years ago that I began my Enneagram journey and I have tapped into it, read about it, applied it and contemplated it every day since. I have devoured more than 10 books, countless classes, online demos and podcasts. I have taught it to friends and family.
It's a game-changer.
Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system. It may be along the lines of DISC Assessment, Strengths Finder, the Four Temperaments or Myers Briggs in some ways.
I have studied all of those too, and they are helpful. Yet, Enneagram runs circles around them.
Enneagram goes much deeper. It is not simply about manifested behaviors but hidden agendas, unconscious motives and jaw-dropping spiritual awakening.
Another noteworthy difference is the Enneagram model is dynamic, not static.
It loosely groups individuals into numbers 1-9.
A brief rundown of them is:
1. Reformer- perfectionist, responsible and critical
2. Helper - giving, nurturing and intrusive
3. Performer - efficient, productive and inattentive
4. Individualist -artistic, empathetic and dramatic
5. Investigator - knowledgeable, thoughtful and miserly
6. Loyalist - dutiful, strategic and pessimistic
7. Epicure - enthusiastic, joyful and inconsiderate
8. Challenger - magnanimous, intense and dominating
9. Peacemaker - accepting, caring and stubborn
The main focus of discovering one's number is not to revel in it at at party. It doesn't have the last word. It's not a parlor trick or an excuse for bad behavior. It doesn't give you one up on your step-sister. Though it may serve in all of those petty ways, the deeper application is to become aware of our blind-spots. We have each developed unconscious behaviors that helped us survive real or perceived threats we encountered as children. Psychologists describe this collectively as our personality.
But we can be liberated!
Enneagram helps us to catch ourselves in the act of some of our most deeply ingrained patterns and allows us to release them for more constructive ways. It shows us why we do what we do and gives us the opportunity to reflect on our anger, shame and fear.
We can work through those and come out a better person.
The numbers are arranged on a diagram and are interconnected.
We are each born a certain number and we keep that as our "home-base" throughout our life. The dynamism is that we naturally tap into the number to our left, as well as the one to our right. We also visit an entirely different number when we are stressed or taxed and we borrow from a wholly different number when we are integrated and at our best (these are the lines projecting from your main number). Therefore, we each access our own home-base, the two numbers to our sides and two other numbers.
This means five numbers of the nine will be familiar to each of us as we learn the system.
Its use is primarily for self-discovery. For sure, it can lead to a personal renaissance and enlightenment. Yet, first it drags us through the mud, kicks us, throws in a few gut-punches and body slams us. Growing pains are real.
It has dramatically improved my life, marriage, friendships, family dynamics and the space and grace I am able to extend to others. No other tool has been so valuable when it comes to personal growth and relationships. It teaches us how to love better.
Nobody "owns" the Enneagram. There are certainly well-known seekers, psychologists, an researchers who teach it, but its origins are foggy and not specific.
Psychology can be difficult. Skeptics get irritated that it is a soft science. While I don't fundamentally disagree with that claim, it only takes some application and investigation to experience how true this information is. It's not woo-woo though it is rooted in sacred tradition. Today, University Professors and Doctors are using it to help others improve well-being.
With the enormous difference it has made in my life and those close to me, we no longer need clinical proof. The proof is our experience and growth.
There are online Enneagram tests and books and all sorts of resources on it. It was originally an oral tradition, meaning that the ancients didn't take a "test" they just listened to the story and let time reveal what number they were. That is definitely the best way to know your number. This sucker is not a quick fix. It is a lifelong journey and practice for those who dare. The problem with simply taking a test is you have to know yourself to know your number and if you are disconnected (which many of us are) it can be hard to accurately typify oneself. Heads up, those who are 6s and 3s have a particularly hard time testing.
There will be more blogs about this topic since it's so meaningful.
For now, suffice it to say, Enneagram is something we could all learn from.
From an Epicure,
Jessica Morgan McAtee