What Is The Enneagram About?

The Enneagram is a tool that awakens our compassion for people just as they are, not the people we wish they would become so our lives would become easier.

Ian Morgan Cron

I’m a big fan of Myers-Briggs, a personality tool that gives us a broad overview of how we operate in the world, but it’s essentially a descriptive tool. You won’t find much information or specific clues to identify what you may or may not need to change and improve based on your personality type. The Enneagram, however, gives you a clear and straight vision of how you can either break through or break down in life since it offers insights into what motivates you and what patterns may hold you back from being your best self.

Even people who think they know themselves enough can learn a lot from the enneagram. In fact, when you assume you already know yourself, that’s usually when you get comfortable and you stop questioning your behavior and attitudes. However, once we stop questioning, we stop learning, and we take our own very existence for granted. Spotting where we are misperceiving reality and where we are not using our essence to the best of our abilities becomes a difficult task.

There are lenses we use to interpret the reality that may have been useful in the past, in our childhood or teenage years. These lenses allowed us to survive and move through life, but that doesn’t mean they are adequate, healthy, or even helpful in the present moment. The Enneagram gives us guidance about what these lenses might be, how they manifest when we are under stress, and how we can tap into and return our true essence. According to the enneagram, connecting with our true essence allows us to stand on a path of integration instead of stress and overwhelm.

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In total, there are 9 different Enneagram personality types, which are represented in a nine-pointed geometric figure. Ennea means “nine”, and gram means “figure”. We tend to adopt one of these types in childhood to cope and survive. Each type holds a specific view of the world, which in turn shapes the way we think, feel and behave. Within each type, there are healthy, average, and unhealthy levels of functioning. These levels depend on self-awareness and circumstances.

When under stress, we tend to assume the negative characteristics of the personality style that is connected to our personality type in the figure by an arrow pointing away. When in balance, we tend to assume the positive characteristics of the type connected to ours by an arrow pointing back to our core personality number. For instance, I’m an enneagram 4 and, under stress, I assume the negative traits of enneagram 2, which are often related to codependency. When I’m in a good place, however, I assume some of the traits of enneagram 1, a personality that is driven by ethics and morals.

Concluding Thoughts

As a tool, the Enneagram gives us the opportunity to expand our self-knowledge, identify what limits us, what empowers us, and how to seek greater integration within ourselves while also respecting everyone’s differences. That’s why I agree when authors say the Enneagram is a tool that can help us become more compassionate toward each other.

We should never use, nonetheless, our personality as an excuse for wrongdoing and hurting others. You can’t say I’m like this so deal with it. To give you a concrete example, as an enneagram 4 I need to keep my intense emotions in check so that I don’t overwhelm others on a regular basis, and I also look forward to developing traits associated with enneagram type 1 (e.g. principled, purposeful), which help me ground my creativity.

To find out what Enneagram number you are, you can take this test.

Other blogs you may like to read:

What is Holding You Back? Four Major Psychological Roadblocks

Sometimes we want to move on with our lives and create positive change only to find out we can’t or that we are not ready yet. Sometimes we know why we remain stuck in old ways of behaving, thinking, and feeling, but other times we don’t. This list of major psychological roadblocks may help you tap into some hidden reasons or factors that have prevented you from designing and living the life you wish for yourself. If you have found you are being affected by one or more of these factors, please know you are not alone and you can ask for help.

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What is the Enneagram about

24 Comments

  1. Ezioma Kalu says:

    Wow. I never knew of anything like Enneagram before. Thanks for the enlightenment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m glad we brought you something new to learn 🤩 If you ever do the test, let us know which Enneagram number you are 🥰 There is now a link at the end of the post for a free online test ❤️

      Like

  2. I had not heard of this before but I’m really interested in finding out more; thanks for introducing the enneagram and explaining it so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Molly 😊

      Like

  3. AmethystAP says:

    Enneagrams are an interesting personality tool that can provide useful information about yourself, but it was confusing for me too. I did a test a while ago and initially got 5, I believe. Then I did it over more recently and got a 1. The thing about tests is sometimes I end up choosing what I’d like to be instead of what is, especially when the question isn’t relevant. Regardless, I think personality tests can be a great guide.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, the famous social desirability factor 😊 It’s a tricky thing to overcome sometimes. How we feel and whether we are going through distress or eustress can impact the results too. And even the test we take. Try to have a go on the test I linked to at the end of this post. I can help you figure it out from there if you want to ❤️ Drop me a DM on twitter or IG 😉

      Like

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of enneagram before, so it made for an interesting read to learn some basics about it. Thank for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, I’m glad you learned something new here 😉

      Like

  5. jkennedy says:

    I’m a 4w5 and it describes me to a T! I find the enneagram so fascinating. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there, my enneagram twin! I’m a 4w5 too 😉

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  6. thestoicpadawan says:

    This is the first time I really learned about Enneagram and something that sounds very interesting to investigate. I also like Myers-Briggs and this will make a very good addition to my exploration of myself. As you said, these are all tools. But we must learn how and when to use them. So thank you for bringing them to my attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree. They are useful maps but the map is never the territory. Let me know what enneagram number you are if you ever decide to take the test 😉

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  7. Jodie | That Happy Reader says:

    I actually did the Myers-Briggs way back in 2004 but I can’t remember the results! This is the first time I’ve read about Enneagram though and it does sound very interesting. I’ll need to check out the book if my library has it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, that’s a good call to retake the test and explore the enneagram perhaps 😁 There’s a link for a free online test now by the end of this post ❤️

      Like

  8. I read about this tool in one of my books about spirituality – it’s so interesting. I did the test and got a 2 but I do get overwhelmed with being the Caregiver at times so I probably need to do the test again. Thanks for sharing. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The way we feel and what we are dealing with at the moment might have an impact on test results. Each type assumes a different number whether they are in a situation that nurtures growth or stress. When under stress, 2s assume traits from 8s. When in growth, they assume traits from 4s. Try to retake it once you feel at ease and calm 🤗❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s so interesting Vanessa. I probably am a 2 then ☺️ x yeh I’ll retake it tomorrow. Had a few days away with my family so maybe I’m at my most peaceful and calm now lol x

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  9. Thanks for your blog, Vanessa. I have a few books about the enneagram, I will have to dig them up!
    Many Blessings
    Lisa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a good tool to work with clients, Lisa ❤️ Let me know which enneagram type you are once you find out 😍

      Liked by 1 person

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