When I first learned about the teachings of the Enneagram, I had a serious face palm moment. Suddenly, I understood myself at a deeper level and could be more accepting of who I am. I realized that my husband wasn’t doing things just to tick me off and that my mother-in-law seemed so difficult because she was operating with a level of anxiety that I had never known. I felt exposed and simultaneously curious and thirsty for more. I must know the secrets to understanding the people around me!
Many people see the Enneagram as a personality typing tool, like the Myers-Briggs or others used so widely. But fundamentally, the Enneagram is a model for developing consciousness. Rather than using behaviors as a way to categorize people, it identifies the underlying motivations that cause us to act the way we do and helps uncover the patterns that we tend to get stuck in.
This means that it doesn’t stop at typing people - in fact, discovering your Enneagram type is just the beginning of the journey. By understanding your core fears and motivations for your behavior, you can start to make different choices. The more you understand the different types and their corresponding patterns, the more compassion you develop for yourself and others. (I feel like the teachings on the centers of intelligence or our instincts are especially informative regardless of your type.)
Even more exciting, the Enneagram helps us step into a bigger and deeper humanity. By identifying the gifts of each type and describing what we look like when we are healthy and fully in our essential nature, we are given a beautiful picture of human potential. I’ve used this bigger picture to give others the benefit of the doubt, to guide my parenting, and to develop potential in the people I work with. It is such a gift to be able to fully own and claim what is you, and to let go of those things that are not you. The Enneagram provides clarity on our conditioning and limiting beliefs, and can accelerate your growth and the achievement of your goals.
But even if you are stuck or in a rock bottom in your life, the Enneagram offers insight. We rarely find our external conditions how we want them to be. This system helps us find something in us that can be stable when everything around us is changing. While it can be painful at first to see the ways in which you might be contributing to your current situation, it is also empowering to know exactly what you can do to shift the dynamic.
The Enneagram is a system that will start you on your journey to living a more grounded and centered life, full of joy and providing insight into times of sorrow. It isn’t a quick fix, but it will help point you in the direction of growth. You will find yourself acting from a deeper, more grounded, more true version of you. It will illuminate the tricks of your ego and personality, and offer practices to both accept who you are and transcend your current circumstances.
I cannot fully articulate how impactful this system has been to me personally. As a self-help and personal development junkie, I am familiar with most systems or tools for personal growth out there today. I promise you that it is worth the investment of your time to dig in and explore this rabbit trail of wisdom that spans centuries.