What is Enneagram and Why Should I be Interested?
If you have stumbled across the term ‘enneagram’ and thought It’s all Greek to me, then you’re actually onto something. The word is derived from the Greek words ennea (nine) and gramma (written or drawn).
Benefits of the Enneagram
- Shows you what motivates you
- Clarity about what drives you
- Helps you see what you are unconsciously seeking
- Shows what causes relationships that you to flourish or flounder
- Gives direction to what is best to focus on for spiritual and personal growth
- Helps you understand those patterns that are self-defeating and cause pain and suffering
- It will also help you improve your parenting skills, your purpose, communication and connection to your “True Self”
- The Reformer
- The Helper
- The Achiever
- The Individualist
- The Investigator
- The Loyalist
- The Enthusiast
- The Challenger
- The Peacemaker
Simply put, the enneagram is an approach to understanding your personality.
Each of these personality types has healthy, average and unhealthy traits. However, it would be incorrect to assume that this is a superficial and straightforward approach to what is essentially a very complex topic. As we all have experienced, personalities are multifaceted. The beauty of the enneagram is that it has the subtleties and complexity to account for the nuances and intricacies of our individual personalities.
An enneagram test will reveal which one of the nine personality types is dominant in you. This is referred to as your basic personality type. According to the Enneagram Institute, we are all born with one dominant personality type. This then develops through nature and is nurtured into the specific individual personality that we have as adults.
What differentiates the enneagram from your garden variety popular magazine personality test is that it accounts for a variety of childhood influences on the development of personality. It also allows for the fact that each one of us will probably identify with some characteristics associated with every one of the nine personality types.
The Enneagram Institute makes several important points about personality. No matter how much you might dislike your neighbor there will never be such a thing as Extreme Makeover Personality Edition. Someone cannot change from one basic personality type to another. You will also not embody all the traits associated with your personality type all the time. People fluctuate over time, in different circumstances, etc.
Importantly, there is no bias associated with any of the personality types. None of these personality types is seen as masculine or feminine. No one type is seen as better than another (the numbers are value-neutral).
These are the highlights of your basic personality type:
- The Reformer is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and a perfectionist.
- The Helper is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
- The Achiever is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
- The Individualist is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
- The Investigator is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
- The Loyalist is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
- The Enthusiast is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
- The Challenger is self-confident, decisive, wilful, and confrontational.
- The Peacemaker is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.
Now it’s time to get a little more complex. Don’t be put off by the seemingly complex facets of this theory – this is necessary if you are to get an accurate representation of your personality that you can use to your best advantage.
The nine personality types are grouped into three centers:
- The Instinctive Center: The Challenger, The Peacemaker, and The Reformer (8, 9, 1)
- The Feeling Center: The Helper, The Achiever, and The Individualist (2, 3, 4)
- The Thinking Center: The Investigator, The Loyalist, and the Enthusiast (5, 6, 7)
Each of these Centers has an emotional theme, which affects the relevant personalities in that particular Center:
- The Instinctive Center: anger or rage
- The Feeling Center: shame
- The Thinking Center: fear
Depending on your basic personality type, you will have a different way of dealing with the dominant emotion in your center.
In addition to basic personality types and the three Centers, the enneagram also incorporates ‘wings’. And no, this has nothing to do with birds! While you have a basic personality type, it is likely that your personality incorporates elements from one of the two personality types on either side of it on the enneagram circumference. For example, as a Nine it is likely that you will have either an Eight-Wing or a One-Wing. These additional elements will complement, and sometimes contradict, your basic personality type.
And there’s more! Each personality type consists of behaviors, attitudes, motivations and defenses. These exist on a continuum, referred to as Levels of Development. According to the Enneagram Institute, these can be defined as follows:
Level 1: The Level of Liberation
Level 2: The Level of Psychological Capacity
Level 3: The Level of Social Value
Level 4: The Level of Imbalance/Social Role
Level 5: The Level of Interpersonal Control
Level 6: The Level of Overcompensation
Level 7: The Level of Violation
Level 8: The Level of Obsession and Compulsion
Level 9: The Level of Pathological Destructiveness
And if that wasn’t enough… The nine personality types are connected on the enneagram diagram by a series of lines. These lines are either Directions of Integration (growth) or Directions of Disintegration (stress). Essentially, these lines show you how you will behave when you are acting in a way that will promote your health and wellbeing, and how you will act when you feel pressurized, stressed, and out of control of the situation at hand.
As you can see, the enneagram is no run of the mill personality test. It provides you with a comprehensive interpretation of who you are, and how you can develop and grow as a person. It takes your basic personality type, wings, levels of development and directions of integration and disintegration into account. In addition, three instincts (self-preservation, sexual and social) are used to add additional detail to the picture of who you are.
So, it’s time to take your enneagram personality test! Simply conduct an Internet search for ‘enneagram test free’ to find some great resources. After you do the test, come back and read this article again and it will help you understand your results even better.
Have fun with this. It is a great tool to help you better understand your personality, how and why you function the way you do. Once you learn more about this fascinating body of work you will also have a better understanding of those in your Life and why they do what they do. When you have more understanding of yourself and others you will have decreased stress. When you have decreased stress you will enjoy your relationships and your Life more completely!
Author: Esateys Stuchiner
Esateys (pronounced Ee sáh teez) is an International Life Transformational Speaker, Author, Master Facilitator, Life Coach and Expert in the Human condition. She is a Nationally and Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. For over 30 years, she has practiced, taught and lectured extensively in the allopathic and alternative medicine field.
Esateys is known for her groundbreaking work in the areas of personal empowerment and health restoration using mindset and inner connection as the catalyst for all change.
Esateys describes herself as the ‘Architect of the New You’ and has dedicated her life and professional career to helping her clients create “New Beginnings” by facilitating self empowerment, economic freedom and restored health.
For more information, go to esateys.com.