As I mentioned in a past blog post (link here to rabbit hole or flow), I’ve been exploring Enneagram. I’m definitely thinking it’s a rabbit hole, as I have explored multiple sites, listened into a full week of seminars on the topic, and done hours of information synthesis. Every time I delve in, hours disappear! But, I was encouraged (by Kathy @ Smart Living 365 – link here) to share some insights I’ve gleaned, and so here it goes.
This is a summary of elements from multiple places. Different sites name the Enneagram Types differently and different names bring different emotions into play. In the chart below I avoided naming the Types for this reason. Note that ALL Types have both positive (strength/gift) and negative (shadow/fear) characteristics and often your greatest strength is also your greatest fear.
Enneagram Types outline patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. They are considered your core (innate) gifts, fears, coping styles, and blind spots. They do not change – it’s your hard wiring, and the behaviors patterns (coping mechanisms) they have created are deeply embedded in you. Understanding your Enneagram is about becoming more aware of who you are, utilizing (celebrating) the gifts you have, accepting your total self (managing your stress response, understanding the negative voices), and ultimately learning to love your authentic self.
An individual will usually have one dominant/ primary Type with a “harmony triad” – two other Types (one thrive /one stress) to integrate for increased awareness/authenticity. Also, a Wing is the Type directly next to your dominant one, and can also show up in your patterns. Some more recent conversations (lectures in seminar) talk about 3 main Types – one from the heart area, one from the mind area, and one from the body area, but still with one Type being dominant. And other lecturers have even indicated that you have all Types within you, just certain ones are more dominant. Essentially, an individual is an amalgamation of multiple aspects. But looking at your dominant Type is a great starting point!
A big AHA for me was the concept of deeply held fears and self-limiting beliefs that each Enneagram Type uniquely has. As awareness is always the first step of change (including growth), the articulation of these deeply held beliefs was really informative. In many readings, there are suggestions on managing the stress or unhealthy behaviors/shadows of the Type, great ideas for personal growth
For each Type, I am sharing a very brief synopsis of the strengths, the shadows, and the deeply held (and untrue) fears and beliefs. There is a lot of depth in Enneagram and this barely touches on the insights for each type.
Deeper insights come from delving into each Type after identifying your dominant, stress/thrive, and wing Types. You can better understand your triggers, your stress responses, and how to work towards becoming more “healthy/balanced”.
Do you see yourself in any of these brief descriptions? See someone else? I have been able to see some of my friends and my husband, and understand them a bit better (via reading more in-depth descriptions and realizing what their deeply held beliefs might be).
While there are many tests on-line (link here to site with one of the better information and tests), here is one easy tool to define primary type: Which set of words would someone use to describe you (or would you use to describe someone else)?
- Rational, Principled, Organized, A Perfectionist
- Caring, Generous, Warm-hearted, Helpful, Clingy
- Success-Oriented, Pragmatic, Driven, Image Conscious
- Expressive, Sensitive, Creative, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed
- Intensive, Perceptive, Innovative, Over-thinker, Isolated
- Loyal, Committed, Security-oriented, Prepared/Vigilant
- Enthusiastic, Fun-loving, Adventurous, Impulsive
- Powerful, Take Charge, Decisive, Confident, Confrontational
- Calm, Accommodating, Non-judgmental, Agreeable, Complacent
Becoming more aware of my dominant Type, and understanding my harmony triad, my wing, and my heart/mind/body Types, has confirmed some of the work I did last year on identifying and releasing self-limiting beliefs. It supported many of the changes I am working on – stop “hearing” expectations, stop the Compare & Despair I am prone to do, be more non-judgmental (so challenging), lower my expectations in general (accept the messiness, accept less than perfect), don’t react to criticism as “lack of love/worth”, and be less hard on myself and others. I am still a work in progress on all these changes … better, but not perfect yet! Yup, I am a Type 1.
Again, did you see yourself in the descriptions? Do you know what Enneagram Type you are?
If you’d like more, please let me know. I have crafted short paragraphs on each Type, synthesizing much of what I have read. It’s just too much for a blog post – even short paragraphs when multiplied by nine becomes a very long document!