What's all this About the Enneagram?
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
So, what IS the Enneagram anyway?
Depending on who you ask, you'll receive different answers. Some say it's a personality test or system, some say it's a typology. Still others go so far as to say it's perhaps a spiritual inner guide. I don't claim to have the answer to that completely, but I would sum it up as being downright helpful...and utterly fascinating in its ability to bring awareness to our inner workings.
There are many personality typing systems. Most of us have done one or the other of these tests - such as the Meyers-Briggs, DISC, and, Strengthsfinder.
The Enneagram is different than these other personality assessment because it doesn't merely measure behavior. Rather, it exposes our motivations by shedding light on the childhood experiences that have formed the lens through which we see the world. It brings to light both our unique contributions and particular struggles.
.About two years ago, my Life Coach introduced me to this system called the Enneagram. For some, the number they most identify with jumps out at them almost immediately. For others, it takes more time - "trying on" the numbers to see which one fits the best. For me, it has taken time. ...more on that in a bit...
We are all some of each of the numbers of the Enneagram. However, there will be one number that we identify with more completely. That's the first step in utilizing this beautiful tool of self-knowledge.
Of all the a-ha moments I've had while studying it, this is one I've found especially helpful: The Enneagram offers deep and profound insight into relationships by helping to understand how each number interacts with the other numbers.
I'll give you an example of how this has played out in my personal life: My husband is a self proclaimed pleaser and conflict avoider...at just about any cost. It takes a tremendous amount of motivation to jump start him into a debate or even to claim adamant space on a particular belief. He values peace. Rightfully so, he is the Peacemaker of the Enneagram.
I'm not a conflict avoider. In fact, if I'm honest, I kind of like the sparring that can happen between healthy people with differing deeply held beliefs. It feels like iron sharpening iron. I LOVE it!
As you can guess, this difference has caused us a fair amount of conflict...or rather "un-conflict!"
By understanding each of our motivations through our numbers on the Enneagram, we've been able to begin working toward a middle ground; one where we can engage in more spirited conversations while honoring his desire for peace. It's helped us explain to one another what we're looking for: what we need and want in the conversation.
He has come to understand my desire for disagreement and difference and I've come to understand his need for unity. As it happens, those bents in our personalities can serve to make a dynamic and meaningful relationship when we're aware. The lack of awareness has made for countless experiences of hurting each other.
If you'd like to explore your number, there are many sites that offer free tests. There are also tests you can take for a small fee. Any of these are a great start.
Oh...and, I am still landing on my number. Whatever it is, it's buried under layers of story, and it's taking time to figure out, Through the process, though, I'm finally coming "home" to myself.
...When I know, I'll let you know...
I hope you, too, have some fun with the process!