The Enneagram is used today to help people better understand themselves and others. Understanding personality types and how we each affect one another can be an important tool for self-improvement. This can assist us in having better and more meaningful relationships with others. That’s one reason why the Enneagram is a game-changer in our relationships with others. Through growing self-awareness, the Enneagram provides profound insight into how we think, feel, act, and relate to others. Understanding our type can enormously impact life by helping us get along better with those close to us, those we work with, and our acquaintances. Oftentimes, we have blind spots. Better understanding our personality type points these out, helping us to see ourselves more clearly. This new information allows us to access new information about ourselves we may not have seen before which is helpful.
Knowing that each type has both assets and opportunities for self-improvement leaves us all on an equal playing field. There is no one Enneagram type that is better or more healthy than any other.
Many don’t realize that personality develops as a means or strategy to manage our lives. The beginning of this process happens when we are very young. It’s astonishing that we continue to employ variations of these very young strategies to assist us as we grow into adulthood. Of course, many times they no longer work.
Our personalities have placed us in a box. The Enneagram is a revolutionary tool because it gives us clues about how we can get out of the box we have placed ourselves in. Through continued study and practices of watching and noticing our personality patterns, we see ourselves more clearly and can use that knowledge to shift our thoughts, emotions, and reactions. This shift also impacts our world views and general perspective. It is an integral tool in learning more about our personalities. It helps us understand that our personality is a style of being in the world and not who we actually are. There is hope in knowing that what is no longer working as a strategy can be shifted, giving us hope that we can change.
The Enneagram: Not Just Another Personality System
The Enneagram is not just another personality system. It is so much more. It is the most advanced system of understanding personality to date. There are no other personality typing systems that offer us insight into why we do what we do. Looking at why we do what we do helps us to better understand our motivation for our patterns of reacting, feeling, and thinking. As we better understand how and why personality develops, we learn how type continues to develop as a brilliant means of handling this human existence we call life. We begin to notice how our distinct personality is more like an operating system that we default to. Our strategies which began in the earliest ways we handled life may be in need of an update. Seeing personality development through this lens helps us to begin to understand although we use these strategies of personality that we are each so much more than our personality patterns and characteristics.
Understanding Personality and Beyond
We all began as helpless creatures needing others to care for us. As infants, we were very impressionable and could not function without the assistance of others. Even well-intentioned parents and caregivers are not perfect. Most do the best they can, but each is human and makes mistakes. The life circumstances of each of our caregivers may have a compromising influence on their ability to care for us too.
Although we’ve each been created by our parents, our creation also includes something additional that is far greater than our current understanding. Some of us call this the spiritual or religious aspect of our existence. From a spiritual perspective, we are each part of something much more than the strategies we use to manage our existence. The Enneagram speaks about this using various terms such as Divine Essence, Virtues, and Holy Ideas.
The Enneagram is a personality system that includes all parts of us. It is a holistic discussion about personality including our spiritual beginnings, the way we think, feel and act. We learn that we come from the Divine (spiritual essence), we have thoughts, (mental attributes), feelings (emotional attributes), and reactions (behavioral attributes). All of these work in conjunction with one another and all must be better understood if we are to grow and change.
The Enneagram: An Important Tool
If you want to improve yourself and become a better version of yourself, it is vital to understand your personality patterns and what your tendencies are. This knowledge provides insights about yourself and how your traits might impact other people. Without insight, we are not likely to take personal responsibility for making the changes necessary for self-improvement. In addition, people who understand their Enneagram type can learn to identify destructive habits and intervene before it is too late.
As we grow in our understanding of ourselves and others, there is something alchemical. It allows us to become more compassionate, understanding, tolerant, and accepting of others.
Some begin by investigating their Enneagram type and others may want to focus on different types of those in their lives they wish were different. A word of advice, begin with yourself first. Beginning with yourself, you can implement changes and see how powerful this study and the practices associated with it are.
The Enneagram can ultimately help mend broken relationships and encourage greater authenticity and honesty in a relationship. If someone can take an honest look at their true self by using the Enneagram as a guide, it’s truly a game-changer.
The Enneagram can help us gain clarity, discernment and make better decisions in all aspects of our lives. Understanding who can boost self-confidence and creates a stronger sense of identity. It is empowering to know how your personality traits affect other people and people’s choices because of it.
The Enneagram & Self-awareness
Self-awareness is the first key to beginning personal and professional growth. Without self-awareness, it’s almost impossible to make and sustain changes in your life. That being said, self-awareness must be followed by other practices such as continued acknowledgment of the patterns of type, self-compassion or appreciation of the patterns, and action steps to make changes for the process of self-improvement to continue.
For some of us, it’s more difficult than for others to realize that we might be behaving in unproductive or damaging ways; it becomes easier when we understand ourselves as a personality type trying to manage life with strategies that we believe work, even when they don’t.
Most people would agree that we are all different. However, it is difficult to believe that others see the world differently than we do. Differing worldviews and perspectives are apparent as we look around at others, but nonetheless, we continue having difficulty when others don’t see things as we do. Most of us try tirelessly to convince others to see things as we do. The Enneagram provides a framework for us to begin to understand in a more profound way how and why we differ.
Many Enneagram studies put people of the same type into groups with the same type. When you work with people of your same type and then listen to people of other types, you see in real-time how profoundly each type is different from another and at the same time may notice how you have some of the characteristics of each of the types.
Our Enneagram study makes it easier: the more we understand ourselves, the more self-awareness and understanding we have of how everyone else operates, making it much easier to interact positively with one another. As humans, our worst enemy is ourselves because we sometimes work so hard to fit in or be accepted. By observing ourselves and adapting our behaviors, we can gain insights into how other people interact with us due to these behaviors. It is simple: Self-awareness can help us with self-improvement, which leads to personal growth, ultimately assisting us with being more tolerant of ourselves and others.
The Enneagram helps you see how your deepest motivations drive your actions, feelings, and thoughts and how you can change and grow based on that knowledge. I’ll repeat it because it’s worth repeating: understanding who you are is powerful, but knowing why you are the way you are gives you a deeper understanding of yourself… not to mention allowing others to know and love the real person living inside of you. It’s a game-changer, and the world would be a better place if everyone decided to play.
Explore More About Your Personality
This blog post has served as a brief introduction to the Enneagram. It is my hope that this information will spur interest in exploring more about how your personality type impacts you and those around you!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Enneagram and the nine Enneagram types, I highly recommend checking out my podcast series Enneagram Conversations, where I interview guests from all walks of life with various backgrounds and have different Enneagram types. You’ll learn so much about the Enneagram and how to apply it to your personal & professional growth.