The following article is a brief overview of the Enneagram, which is a system that uses ancient geometrical theories and the fundamentals of personal psychology to divide personalities into nine different categories. These nine principal groups are differentiated from each other by human diversity and various characteristics and psychological forces.
This article is a concise overview of a system that is both complicated and multi-faceted while still being simple in use. If you are a beginner to the Enneagram, then you’ve found the right article; if you are already familiar with this system, then you may wish to read a more detailed and in-depth article on its subsets. There are many easily-accessible sites on the internet dedicated to the study of the Enneagram.
If you’ve never heard of the Enneagram, that’s okay. By using the Enneagram, you can discover your primary personality type. It can also tell you what your dominant personality type is, and what the most influential characteristics of those around you are as well.
Everyone can know the ins and outs, the good, the bad, and the ugly of their personality type using this system. It is incredibly useful for discovering your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of others, and ways to treat them.
By knowing your personality type and having the ability to discern that of others closest to you, you can have a significant impact on your day-to-day interactions with them and even more so an effect on how you relate to those around you. This understanding of characteristics enables you to learn more about yourself as well as learn to deal with and understand the needs of others.
A Closer Look at The Enneagram
Here is an example. Let’s hypothesize that every high school student knew from day one of their Freshman year of school what their occupation would be, and when they would be married and to whom, and what it was they wanted out of life. Don’t you think this would severely affect their actions, both for better or for worse?
Now, say you were to make every choice, every comment, and move to every action while taking into account the personality type of the one who could become your potential significant other. Do your personalities match, or do they clash against one another? Being able to understand whether or not they did is key to choosing the right partner. Knowing the personality of an individual can help in a lot of different situations.
It could potentially lead to fewer divorces and more happy marriages, considering that the majority of unhappy marriages ending in divorce are because one of the two spouses will say ‘we just weren’t right for each other in the end.’ Imagine how much heartbreak, time, love, and effort you could save if you just knew. That is why understanding personality types based on the Enneagram is so essential.
In other words, stating that most people would be much happier in life is a fair assumption to make. They would be more at peace and more comfortable with the choices that they make because they understand the significance of their actions and how it affects them as well as those close to them.
The individual equipped with this knowledge has the potential to become the best version of themselves that they can be, which leads to true happiness. They would understand why they felt drawn to certain areas and would understand their own behavioural habits, as well as be able to change them if they so wanted. This change means the banishment, once and for all, of the uncertainty and stress that comes with those bad habits.
More Good News
The good news that I can convey to you is that, well, the Enneagram is somewhat of a cheat-code to your life. You can learn about, in-depth, all of your attributes (negative or positive) that you may not even have been aware you had. You can also understand and relate to others so much more if you know what type they are. It helps you to be more kind to yourself and more considerate to others. The Enneagram is relevant to everyone, regardless of their role in society, their age, or their career.
The Enneagram is a tool that you can use to improve various aspects of your personal and social life. Before I get into how you can use it and apply it, it is essential to take a look at the Enneagram’s history, and it’s the origin of this revolutionary tool.
Brief History of Enneagram
The complete history of the Enneagram is still somewhat ambiguous. The origin of the word Enneagram comes from two Greek words; enna, meaning ‘nine,’ and gramma, which translates to ‘something that is drawn’ or ‘something that is written. With the etymology of the word cleared up, I should also mention that it is known by a second (and a longer) name, being ‘The Enneagram of Personality.’ It describes the nine genera of the human personality, and them separates them into nine personality types known as the ‘Enneatypes.’
The origin of this model is over a century old, and it has influences from the late Russian mystic and philosopher, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff. However, there is reason for historical dispute whether it originated with Gurdjieff or another man, a Chilean-born psychologist named Claudio Benjamin Naranjo Cohen. Both of these modern thinkers used this model in their teachings and practices. Additionally, they were able to deduce a new way of studying the human psyche because of their implementation of the Enneagram.
Why the Enneagram is Relevant to Everyone
The late author Don Richard Riso stated in one of his books, a paperback book on human psychology titled Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery, that the Enneagram was one of the most powerful tools in understanding one’s personality. The Enneagram articulately represents nine different human qualities and archetypes of character. Helping people to understand who they are, why they act, how they feel, think, and react to the world around them is the main focus of the Enneagram.
The nine-pointed sacred geometry of the Enneagram represents nine distinct personality types, and each numbered point on the Enneagram represents one of those nine personalities. The central premise of the Enneagram is that every personality has specific worldviews brought about from childhood orientation.
Our early childhood environment, as well as our genetic makeup, largely determines how we learn, function, and see the world. Every human emerges with one of the nine dominant personality types when they ascend the ladder into the conscious age. It is not uncommon, however, to find bits and pieces of your personality spread throughout different archetypes if one does not immediately stand out to you as being your dominant personality type.
A Foundation For Understanding
The Enneagram shows us how we adapt and respond to both stressful and supportive situations in our everyday life. It also shows us opportunities for personal development and a foundation for understanding and relating to others; equipped with this knowledge, we are able to change ourselves and those around us for the better.
As previously stated, the overall determining factors for our personality types come from a mixture of genetic makeup and childhood experiences. These experiences can range from things like what kind of neighborhood we lived in as a child, what country, and most importantly, our family and social life.
Some things are not taken into account, however. You may think that education would play a large roll in our character development, especially from such a young age. Still, personality is determined by intrinsic information and emotion, not things that you can learn in a classroom.
The system of the Enneagram allows you to delve deep into your personalities’ attributes, such as your motivations, characteristics, defense mechanisms, and strengths, and weaknesses. Studies have shown that adults exposed to the knowledge of the Enneagram have a more natural time understanding and accepting themselves.
This idea is essential, especially in today’s society, because so much of our western culture is permeated with this unfailing sense of self-loathing and non-acceptance to the point of dangerous levels of conformity.
The Enneagram, and Onions: An Analogy
Enneagrams and onions have one thing in common; layers. Lots of them. Imagine that the outer layer of an onion is what represents your general personality; the layer that you see is the same that you show the world, and in some cases, the only layer that you allow yourself to see. It is you, but it is not the how or why of your actions. Once you begin to peel the onion, you will start to understand the answer to those two questions.
By peeling the layers of the onion, you get to the heart of who you are and what drives you. In the same sense that the deeper you cut into an onion, the stronger your reaction is, the deeper you delve into the Enneagram, the more you begin to understand your personality type. The farther you shed the onion, so to speak, the more your core motivations, deep-rooted fears, and the logic behind your defense mechanisms begin to reveal themselves.
Do the Hard Work
To fully grasp the complexities of the Enneagram, you need to get on the chopping block and do the hard work. Unless you fully delve into the Enneagram’s inner workings, you simply will not benefit from it.
It may not be comfortable at times to continue to do so, but in the end, the process of educating yourself that you undertake with your study of the Enneagram puts you through will leave you fulfilled.
To understand the Enneagram and how it applies to you, however, you must research and understand the nine dominant personality types that the Enneagram outlines.
What are the Nine Personalities?
Even though you will find that you have one dominant personality type, everyone is their own unique blend of the different archetypes, in various forms. Your authoritative personality will lean towards one of the two types that are adjacent to your primary personality type on the perimeter of the Enneagram. This secondary form is known as The Wing. The nine personalities are then deconstructed further to outline the healthy and harmful nature of each.
The nine types are as follows;
- The Reformer
- The Helper
- The Achiever
- The Individualist
- The Observer
- The Loyalist
- The Enthusiast
- The Challenger
- The Peacemaker
As you can see, the Enneagram is somewhat paradoxical. It is profoundly complex while, at the same time, being exceptionally complex. The nine intersecting triangles in the sacred geometrical of the Enneagram, constructed in the shape of a hexagon, described the intricate framework on which the Enneagram is built.
The symbol is designed to draw your attention to the inside. In this case, since it represents the various personalities of the human character, inward to yourself. The inward journey that the Enneagram offers nourishes the soul and helps to dissolve obstacles on this adventure that we call life.