Have you ever wondered why some people are motivated by wealth and external success, while others are content with peace and relaxation? Why do some people revel in the company of others, while others seem to enjoy quiet and solitude? Why do some people love nature and the outdoors
so much, while others would like nothing better than to stay inside?… Yes, we are all slightly different people inside, aren’t we? We are all programmed a little bit differently according to fundamental aspects of our human personality, reflecting distinct habits of thinking, feeling and behaving, which can be understood through a personality theory described in the Enneagram.
What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a complete system of human psychology that defines 9 different personality types, which influence our conscious and subconscious thinking, automatic habits, feelings, and motivations. A mixture of these 9 personality types embodies us, and distinguishes each one of us at a fundamental level. The word Enneagram is derived from a combination of the Greek words ennea which means nine, and gram which means something that has been written down. As Ginger Lapid Bogda writes in one of her several books on the enneagram, ‘The Enneagram is actually a profound map that illuminates the nine different architectures of Human personality. It is also the most powerful and practical system available for increasing emotional intelligence, with insights that can be used for personal and professional development’
The Enneagram is represented as a nine-pointed pentagon symbol enclosed within a circle. Each corner of the pentagon represents one of the nine personality types. The lines between each number demonstrate how the personalities are linked to one another and influence each other.
One might wonder ‘why a pentagon was chosen over other more practical options?’ Well, this shape has special significance and comes with an explanation. According to research, the shape of the Enneagram comes from the ancient tradition of sacred geometry, resembling the spiral-like shape that is found everywhere in nature from intricate patterns in a sea-shell to the unfurling of a fern, or the way in which the petals of a flower are arranged.
The Enneagram and modern psychology
The Enneagram,as we know today, has been derived from the original teachings of renowned philosophers, G I Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, the psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo and in the contemporary world, by teachers like Don Riso, Helen Palmer, Russ Hudson to name a few. It has been acclaimed amongst psychologists as an excellent tool for the ego development of the adult mind and is recommended as a subject of importance for psychiatry resident doctors as mentioned in the American journal of psychiatry. The enneagram provides many deep insights for emotional and psychological growth, for professional success and leadership development and for evolving on the spiritual dimensions. The enneagram is being used by helping professionals, coaches, spiritual teachers increasingly to help their clients understand, accept and embrace their unique personality design. It is also being used in the organisational contexts where both inter-personal and intra-personal factors are critical for professionals and leaders to grow and prosper. Enneagram, again to quote Ginger, and from my personal experience, indeed allows and enables the learners to take ownership and do a great deal of their development work, themselves.
How can the Enneagram help you towards your life path?
The Enneagram helps us to understand not just what our behaviours are, but also what our subconscious mind desires for – what gives us the maximum joy in life. It recognizes what we are afraid of at a subconscious level, so that we may overcome it.
Learning your Enneagram type will help you to discover the strong suits of your personality, and what can be some of your challenges. It will provide you a deep understanding of yourself so that you can gain self-acceptance, identify and action goals that will matter the most to you, according to your personality. It will teach you how to form intimate meaningful relationships with the loved ones in your life by recognizing what matters to them most as well.
According to the Enneagram, there are nine different personality types defined.
Introduction to the nine personality archetypes of the Enneagram
- The Reformer or the perfectionist, also an idealist is guided by a strong moral compass with a rigid sense of right and wrong. They strive to bring justice and equality.
- The Helper or the caregiver are people who are guided by a genuine sense of compassion for others. They feel the most fulfilled when they can bring happiness into other people’s lives.
- The Achiever or the performer is naturally motivated with a high drive and ambitiousness. They are goal-oriented people who relish in setting and achieving milestones.
- The Individualist looks to carve out a unique identity for them in the world. They are highly creative, expressive but sensitive people.
- The Investigator or a thinker have an ability to form independent opinions. They love to delve deeper into the world or people around them, and dislike meaningless surface-level interactions.
- The Loyalist looks to form strong bonds with people around them and loves to engage in teamwork for a common goal. They are hard-working and active people.
- The Enthusiast or the adventurer are spontaneous lively people who embrace new experiences and relationships.
- The Challenger or the protector are independent strong willed people who love to tackle difficult situations head on. They are confident and have great potential to become natural leaders.
- The Peacemaker loves to be calm, collected and optimistic. They are positive people who tend to avoid conflict.
How detailed is the Enneagram?
The nine personality types are shown in the image of the Enneagram are only the archetypes of personalities. Each of us is a mixture of aspects of these personalities to varying degrees. The intermingling of the archetypes produces subsets of personalities. For example, when Type 1 – The Reformer personality meets with Type – 9 Peacemaker, and there is a high degree of Type 1 mixed with a small amount of Type 9, we get Type 1w9 – The Idealist. Similarly, when there is a high degree of Type 9 mixed with some qualities of Type 1 – we get Type 9w1 – The Dreamer.
The Enneagram is not just another framework which puts you in a box or a frame. For each personality type the Enneagram goes deep to understand 1. ego fixation, 2. holy (central) idea, 3. basic fear, 4. basic desire, 5. temptation, 6. vice, 7. virtue, 8. stress or disintegration and 9. security or integration levels. For example, for a pure type 1 personality – the reformer, his holy idea is perfectionism in work and relationships. If a type 1 personality individual cannot achieve such perfection, he battles with resentment, which is his ego fixation. Type 1 also has the basic fear of corruption and imbalance, and may also be prone to hypercriticism which according to the Enneagram is his temptation. And these are just some elements of the whole picture that helps us not just understand, but also dive deep, reflect, accept and embrace our unique self- with our strengths and our vulnerabilities. Then get started on our own magical journey of growth- a growth that is not superficial, of fixing a few behaviors, but of connecting to our life-lessons and our life path.
What can you gain by understanding your enneagram personality type?
- A roadmap to maximise spiritual and material success in your personal life.
Get access to deep insights into your own psyche, understand what motivates your personality type, set goals that can provide you the maximum sense of fulfilment.
- Meaningful relationships with your loved ones, colleagues and friends.
Recognize their personality types and understand the source of their patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours, learn what drives them, what fears and needs shape their being.
- A sense of sustainable peace and self- acceptance.
Recognise that each one of us is unique with our own set of strengths and short-comings. Learn to play on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.
- Expand your horizons about the complexities and possibilities of the human mind
The Enneagram is definitely one of the most complex and detailed studies into the human psyche and the subconscious. It is a must for anyone curious about the inner workings of the human mind. If you enjoy and love the process of personal growth, or even if you are currently afraid of facing the challenges of evolution, Sign up to get your Enneagram report and you can also choose to connect with your Dewdrops Coach for a debrief and a deeper awareness of your life path.
We may feel defined by our inherent personality, but we can choose not to be limited by it. At Dewdrops Life Coaching, we distill the complicated and intricate theories of the Enneagram to help you know yourself and fall in love with yourself, for who you are. Take up this process of self- discovery, You will find it an enriching investment.