For those of you who were once fascinated by Myers Briggs, question your zodiac and love the web of psychology, you’d love the Enneagram. The enneagram is a psychological structure representing 9 entirely unique types of people. It is not simply a description of our personalities but who we are innately, who we have been since we were little kids! It is not simply a reflection of our environment or our experiences but rather how we’ve been viewing our environments and approaching our experiences from day one, and why. You’ll know which one is yours when you start to feel uncomfortable with the description. It allows you to look at yourself objectively during the worst moments of your life and the best.
There are actually 9 levels within each Enneagram Type, the first 3 being when you’re at your healthiest, the middle 3 levels being the goldilocks of feelings, you’re not too happy but not too sad either. The last 3 levels represent those moments when you are feeling depressed or full of despair. What’s interesting is, if you read the levels of your enneagram you can recognize that you have been most if not all of the 9 levels at one point or another. What does this mean? It means that we fall down in life and we get stuck, but we also rise above it all and every fleeting moment we are changing and are able to change our state of mind. We can be authentically us, at our best and our worst but the goal should always be to keep our perspective in check.
We all have major flaws that we are entirely ashamed of and strengths that we want everyone to know about. The enneagram is a break down of just that. If you decide to read them all, you will see that every single person in your life has the same about of weaknesses as they do strengths. The goal shouldn’t be to hide our vulnerabilities or our dark spots but to allow those perceived “flaws” to live amongst the parts of us that we are most proud of, because that is what makes us human. That mix of who we are, makes us relatable and lovable.
I love the enneagram, it allowed me to confront a lot of my truths, though incredibly awkward… it also helped me to better understand the most important people in my life. My husband knows his enneagram now, my best friend, my sister and my parents. I can usually figure out people’s enneagrams pretty quickly these days. It helps me relate better to them, it gives me patience for how they communicate and how they “understand” or uh…don’t. It’s okay. We are all wired so differently.
The enneagram is far more complex than I am making it. Each of the 9 types are broken down into sub types, 1. heart 2. head 3. body. Enneagrams 2, 3 and 4 are all emotionally focused types that over feel, holding everything in their “heart”. Enneagrams 5, 6 and 7 are ver cerebral, over thinking life and holding everything in their “head”. Enneagram 8, 9 and 1 suppress most of what they think and feel, holding everything in their “body”.
You can have wings that extend to different types that border yours. So if you are a 4 you can have a 3 wing or a 5 wing, you might even have 2 wings. You’ll also notice that with each type, you can default to being like 2 other types, one that will bring out the worst in you and one that will bring out the best in you. And yes, all of us have parts of each type in us, but if you read more in depth, you’ll know which one represents who you came to be at a very early age. Read below to figure out your type. Sure, there’s a quiz but the one online isn’t very thorough. Just read!
Type One- The reformer
Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic. If this sounds like you or someone close to you, you can read more here and here.
Type Two – The Helper
Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others. If this sounds like you or someone close to you, you can read more here and here.
Type Three – The achiever
Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others. If this sounds like you or someone close to you, you can read more here and here.
Type Four- The individualist
Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity. At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences. If this sounds like you or someone close to you, you can read more here and here.
Type Five – The investigator
Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way. If this sounds like you or someone close to you, you can read more here and here.
Type Six – The loyalist
The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their Best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others. If this sounds like you or someone close to you, you can read more here and here.
Type Seven- The enthusiast
Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over- extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied. If this sounds like you or someone close to you, you can read more here and here.
Type Eight – The challenger
Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable.At their Best: self- mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring. If this sounds like you or someone close to you, you can read more here and here.
Type Nine – The peacemaker
Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts. If this sounds like you or someone close to you, you can read more here and here.
Once you know your type, take a look at these “charts” to better understand our differences. Again, there’s a lot more to it and it was overwhelming for me in the beginning. Start small. 🙂
Love to you,
- Enhancing Relationships With the Enneagram (healthstream.typepad.com)
- Enneagram Tritypes (waysofwisdom.wordpress.com)
- enneagram personality test (n0nissues.wordpress.com)
- Finding Out My Enneagram Personality Types (artfulparent.com)
- Thinking Cap Column: Focus on Enneagram Personality Theory From Its Institute (socyberty.com)
- Enneagram Types in the Suspenseful Movie “Separate Lies” (psychologytoday.com)
- this is who I am today but it seems we all change all the time (lassyalone.com)
- A Dangerous Practice: Catholic interest in the Enneagram persists (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Type 2: The Helper (stillindecisive.wordpress.com)