Inside: Exploring the Enneagram helps you meet and get to know your true self, to witness your strength and struggle, and begin walking in greater self-compassion and freedom. It’s a life-changer for many people, including myself. This post includes referral links where relevant.
The Exploring the Enneagram Mini-course is offered to help you learn to use the Enneagram to get to know and appreciate yourself better and walk in greater freedom. The Enneagram has been a game-changer for me.
For years I happily dove into varied personality assessments and expanded my understanding of self in helpful ways. All models are “useful but wrong” or can only offer “partial truth” but nothing has positively impacted my growth and healing, shone a light on my areas of strength and struggle, greatly improved my relationships, or otherwise helped me put down roots of self-awareness and self-compassion like my exploration of the Enneagram and my Enneatype.
you are not your personality
Riso and Hudson write that the Enneagram is a “modern amalgam, from a number of ancient wisdom traditions combined with modern psychology.” It is principally understood and taught as a typology of 27-character archetypes or “false selves” with plenty of complexity and nuance.
A couple of important caveats: First, our personality is not the full truth of who we are; it’s how we learned to navigate the world. Models like the Enneagram help us uncover our truest selves underneath all our layers of self-protection and shadow, efforts at finding belonging, or the masks we wear (unconscious or not). Second, the Enneagram does not put us into a box as some fear, but it helps us identify the box we’re already in so we can climb out and then choose our path forward.
“Becoming” via unearthing and understanding our wiring and awakening to our essence or truest self helps us feel at home in our own skin and walk through this world with greater confidence and ease.
It empowers us to write a new story for our life.
Landing on a number on the spectrum doesn’t make you identical to other people with your number. I appreciate LMFT Michael Shahan’s “shades of a color” example: “We have the color red, but we also have scarlet, crimson, burgundy, auburn, and maroon. They all fit into the red family, but they’re very different from one another. This same concept can apply to your Enneagram number.”
Our core type doesn’t change but there’s a whole lot of movement that can happen. We have wings on either side of our number that influence our behaviour, we pull from two different points on the model (our stretch and release points), we shift between our subtypes (sometimes called Instincts), and we move up and down the ladder of health or integration for our dominant type. You can go into this later, if you take the course, but for now I want to emphasize the joyful possibility that presents itself as we awaken to who and how and why we are and become more fully ourselves.
THE ENNEGRAM can equip you to choose who and how you want to be
The Enneagram can feel confronting at first. Richard Rohr says, “If you don’t sense the whole thing as somehow humiliating, you haven’t yet found your number.” It can feel like seeing the truth of oneself laid bare, maybe for the first time, and it feels vulnerable and raw (yet also can feel incredibly freeing and affirming).
While the journey can be uncomfortable at times, the intention is not to simply point out our flaws and failings. Instead, it invites us into truth-telling and deep growth work and helps us release judgement, witness our strength and gifting, and better equip us to show up fully to life with joy and on purpose in every season.
The Enneagram describes motivation not behaviour. Understanding our WHY or the roots of our behaviour including our core fears and desires is where things get interesting. The more we learn about our own type/ways of showing up in the world, the less triggered or reactive we become and the more we move into authentic relationship with those around us and CHOOSE our response. It’s fun if family and friends want to explore this with us, but even if they don’t, as we begin to see differently, our life experience is impacted.
We can spend a lifetime exploring the Enneagram; I keep learning and going deeper in my understanding and application because life constantly calls us into growth. Not everyone wants to deep dive though and that’s ok too; whatever level we want to engage with it, it can be a useful tool.
Exploring The Enneagram ($97) is offered FREE, along with another mini-course, Exploring the Gifts + Challenges of High Sensitivity ($57), to members of the Brave + Beautiful Community.