Right now, you are probably thinking one of two things:
1. I LOVE THE ENNEAGRAM
OR 2. I have no idea what you are talking about!
For those of you who responded to the latter, this post is for you. I found out about this personality tool over a year ago through my learned sister. It has truly changed and (I think) improved the way I interact with myself, my spouse, my family, and my friends. It’s a fabulous tool for understanding the intricacies of each person, but obviously we are each much more complex than the specific type we associate with. That being said, let’s dive into the history of the Enneagram, the nine different types, and how you can utilize this amazing personality tool for spiritual and personal growth.
The History of Enneagram
The Traditional Enneagram that we know today was first introduced in the 1960s by a man named Oscar Ichazo. He was a philosopher and worldly thinker that traveled the globe to discover and understand the human soul. He believed in three centers of intelligence: Thinking, Feeling, and Instinct. These are displayed as the Head (Types 5, 6, & 7), Heart (Types 2, 3, & 4), and Gut (Types 1, 8, & 9) Centers of the Enneagram.
The Versatility of the Enneagram
Oscar Ichazo’s philosophical work regarding the Enneagram stems from bits and pieces of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and ancient Greek philosophy. Without the foundation of all these religious traditions, his understanding of personality may have never risen out of antiquity. Therefore, the Enneagram was not initially created for one specific religious or spiritual sect. Many modern day Christians however have taken this generic tool and adapted it to deepen their understanding of personal faith and relationships. As a devout Christian myself, I have found myself using this personality tool to greater understand myself, my family, and my faithful pursuit of God. The Enneagram holds incredible potential for the Christian just as much as it does for the non-Christian, so if you aren’t religious, don’t fear this instrument.
Like many other personality tools, tests, and instruments, the Enneagram has a number of “types”. Nine to be exact. Each “type” has unique gifts, values, strengths, and weaknesses. The beauty of the Enneagram is that it interprets the individual without stagnancy. There is always room for growth and improvement for your specific type. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so drawn to use this tool , because it doesn’t allow the individual to settle for how they are now. It encourages the individual to grow, adapt, and thrive, even in the midst of trying circumstances.
How to Find Your Type
This is where it gets tricky. People have varying opinions on how you should find your type. There are tests you can take, experts you can talk with, and books you can read. But in my humble opinion, I’ve found the best way to find your type is to read the type descriptions and wait for enlightenment. You should be the one to find your type. Some third party shouldn’t be the one to tell you who you are. The more you read up on the different types, the closer you’ll be to finding a connection with your type.
How to Use the Enneagram in Your Faith Walk
The more we understand about ourselves (strengths, weaknesses, desires, sins), the better we can communicate with God. When we know the deficiencies of our personality, we can turn to God in prayer and ask for his help to grow. When we’re aware of the sins we repeat again and again because they coincide with our personality, we can ask God to intervene and bring resolution. Change of heart doesn’t happen without the knowledge of our lack. Faith is a product of realizing we can’t, but our God can. In the same way, we can use the Enneagram to better serve and glorify God by overcoming the areas of our person that need radical change. We can’t mend our brokenness alone, but with revelation of heart, we can with God’s glorious help.
My Favorite Instagram Accounts
@ashton.creates // @enneagramasthon // @ginagomez.co @enneagramandcoffee // @xoenneagram // @ninetypesco
so let’s get started with some of the different types…
Rational, Perfectionistic, Principled, Honest
Ones greatest desire is to exemplify goodness and integrity. They fiercely pursue balance, routine, and order. One of their greatest fears is being considered corrupt or evil. They are always striving to be better and do better so that they can be above the reproach of others. However, the inner critic of the One is probably the most pronounced of all nine types. They daily battle with inner thoughts of inadequacy and self-contempt. Unhealthy Ones tend to be perfectionistic to the point of being hyper-critical, judgmental, intolerant, and self-righteous. They can be difficult to be in relationship with when stressed, because they tend to only see the flaws and failings of themselves and others. Healthy Ones have an intense understanding of right and wrong and are discerning in their call to take action for justice. They are fair, service-oriented, and disciplined. Relaxation and sitting still may prove challenging. When growing and thriving, they are confident, funny, and relaxed. When stressed, they are critical, stubborn, anxious, and judgmental.
Songs for the One
“Flaws” // Bastille
“Note to Self” // Ben Rector
“In My Blood” // Shawn Mendes
“First Try” // Johnnyswim
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” // Kelly Clarkson
“Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” // Relient K
Generous, Selfless, Empathetic, Sincere
Twos greatest desire is to find love and to be loved. Like their name states, they love to help and be useful to other people. People are drawn to Twos because of their selflessness and warm personalities. They love making others feel comfortable, welcome, and known. Twos enliven relationships through their sincere admiration and attention of others. Twos are the ideal parent: they see people where they are, love them for who they are, and encourage them in their pursuits. However, their greatest fear is being unworthy of love and not being wanted by others. Unhealthy Twos can become resentful of others for not understanding their needs and manipulative of people in their desire to be needed and appreciated. Healthy Twos exemplify unconditional love altruistically. Their willingness to be open and vulnerable helps others be more self-aware, honest, and authentic.
Songs for the Two
“Make You Feel My Love” // Adele
“COUNT ON ME” // Needtobreathe
“When I’m With You” // Ben Rector
“Getting to Know You” // Julie Andrews
Driven, Pragmatic, Success-Oriented, Ambitious
Threes greatest desire is to feel valued, admired, and affirmed. They are ambitious, energetic, and highly driven by progress and betterment of self. Threes are known for their lifelong pursuits of success and popularity. They are often considered role models in their respective fields of work and among their peer groups. They embody some of the best qualities a culture stands for: ambition, reputation, confidence, and acceptance. Unhealthy Threes can become competitive workaholics. In times of stress, they may not even realize their own emotions or desires because of their relentless pursuit of seeking positive attention. Healthy Threes are authentic, the embodiment of balanced ambition and success. They are willing to put in the hard work to be the best of the best and are able to spur on others in the process. There is no such thing as a “nobody” Three, because this type is too busy crushing goals.
Songs for the Three
“The Man” // Taylor Swift
“Good as Hell” // Lizzo
“Confident” // Demi Lovato
“Good Thing” // Kehlani
“Try Everything” // Shakira
“Don’t Rain on My Parade” // Barbra Streisand
Expressive, Dramatic, Creative, Sensitive
Fours greatest desire is to have an identity, typically one that is unique and contrary to anyone else’s. They love surrounding themselves with beauty and culture. They see themselves as creative, original, and sensitive. Fours pursue deep, meaningful relationships that are grounded in truth and mutual vulnerability. Unhealthy Fours may struggle with self-esteem and negative self-image. They may also harbor hate, disgust, and hurt longer than other type because of their deep desire to be emotional and feel passion. Healthy Fours are honest and open about their emotions. They see and understand their inner struggles, motives, and conflicts, and don’t try to rationalize them away. Fours have the ability to endure suffering with great strength, because they find familiarity in the emotional toll of processing traumatic experiences that many other types might find overwhelming or excruciating.
Songs for the Four
“Lost In My Mind” // The Head and the Heart
“Landslide” // Fleetwood Mac
“Falling” // Harry Styles
“Helplessly Hoping” // Crosby, Stills & Nash
“The Night We Met” // Lord Huron
“Yesterday” // The Beatles
Cerebral, Innovative, Observant, Intense
Fives greatest desire is understand their environment and to feel capable and confident in all their pursuits. They are known for their complex thinking and wild imagination. They often see the world a little differently than most which makes them great problem solvers. They exhibit great attention to detail, intense focus, and extraordinary perceptiveness. Their greatest fear is to be considered useless or incapable. When it comes to their anxieties, most Fives tend to ignore them or focus their attention on their strengths and passions. Whether their anxiety is rooted in their health, relationships, or appearance, they tend to refrain from spending any time or energy eliminating them. Unhealthy Fives can become cynical, reclusive, and nihilistic. Social attachments can prove more challenging for Fives so its easy for them to isolate themselves in times of stress. Healthy Fives are visionaries often thinking and conjuring up ideas that are far ahead of their time. Famous examples include Darwin, Nietzsche, and Einstein.
Songs for the Five
“The Scientist” // Coldplay
“Perfectly Lonely” // John Mayer
“All We Ever Knew” // The Head and the Heart
“This Is Me” // Keala Settle
Fierce, Committed, Responsible, Anxious
Sixes greatest desire is to feel secure and supported. They are fabulous troubleshooters and work efficiently in times of crisis. That’s because Sixes have already thought through what to do in case of a crisis and all the worst-case scenarios of a situation. Their “thorn in the flesh” is suspicion and self-doubt. But when it comes to relationships and loyalty, they are tried and true to the very end. They defend their family, friends, and personal beliefs more ardently than they might defend themselves. Decision-making can prove challenging for this type, because they have to think through all the options and possibilities before arriving at a final conclusion. They often struggle with procrastination, not because of laziness, but because of the heavy burden of decision-making. Unhealthy Sixes tend to be anxious, defensive, and self-disparaging. Healthy Sixes learn to face their anxieties head-on knowing that although the world is perpetually changing, they can still find security and deep trust amidst the chaos.
Songs for the Six
“The Age of Worry” // John Mayer
“Peace” // Ben Rector
“Heavy” // Birdtalker
“Stubborn Love” // The Lumineers
“CAGES” // Needtobreathe
“Demons” // Imagine Dragons
Life-of-the-party, Spontaneous, Distractable, Curious
Sevens greatest desire is contentment. They are optimistic, enthusiastic, and vivacious about all their pursuits. Sevens are quick learners adept at memorizing and absorbing new information and skills. However, they struggle with making even the simplest of choices and can experience intense F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) if they feel they chose the wrong path. Sevens often busy themselves to keep their anxieties at bay or will try everything so as not to feel like they missed out on anything. They utilize the methodology of “trial and error” often. They are extremely joyful and upbeat people to be around and are terrific at elevating the spirits of those they come in contact with. Unhealthy Sevens can struggle with impulsivity and patience. They can also become distracted to the point of exhibiting manic tendencies. Healthy Sevens are excitable, extroverted, and eager for all that life has to offer. They’ve learned to quell their need for motion and find joy in the simple things.
Songs for the Seven
“Lovely Day” // Bill Withers
“Break My Stride” // Matthew Wilder
“Fun, Fun, Fun” // The Beach Boys
“Chandelier” // Sia
“Drive” // Ben Rector
“Don’t Stop Me Now” // Queen
Assertive, Willful, Leader, Confident
Eights greatest desire is to be in control of their circumstances and to be self-reliant. They are known for being resourceful, decisive, and natural leaders. However, they have a tendency to be domineering and confrontational to the point of being intimidating. They are truth-tellers always wanting to be honest and loyal to those they love. Eights are strong in their core and are skilled at leading their friends, neighbors, and communities. Their fear is manipulation or loss of control, therefore they will move heaven and earth to protect their sense of power. Eights are diligent workers but sometimes at the cost of feeling and expressing their emotions. Unhealthy Eights are dictatorial, boastful, and dominating, constantly in a power struggle. Healthy Eights are authoritative, protective, and honorable, seeking justice for all and confident in their abilities, ideas, and beliefs.
Songs for the Eight
“Truth Hurts” // Lizzo
“I Wanna Get Better” // Bleachers
“I Won’t Back Down” // Tom Petty
“Steamroller” // James Taylor
“Bite My Tongue” // Relient K
Agreeable, Reassuring, Self-Effacing, Patient
Nines greatest desire is to find inner balance and peace. They are supportive and optimistic bringing harmony to every situation they are faced with. No other type effectually strives for internal and external peace like the Nine. They are often referred to as the “Crown of the Enneagram,” because they are at the top of Enneagram symbol and help solidify the nine different types. Unfortunately though, Nines often struggle with their own sense of identity because of their ceaseless attempt to keep peace within their environment. They avoid conflict at all costs, even if that means denying the reality of the situations they are faced with. Unhealthy Nines repress their feelings and thoughts often to the point of creating different personas dependent on who they keep company with. This allows them to assimilate without having to acknowledge their own thoughts, desires, or emotions. Healthy Nines are receptive, supportive, and attuned to their own self. They know how to mediate and communicate with others just as much as they know how to acknowledge and honor their personal feelings.
Songs for the Nine
“I Like Me Better” // Lauv
“What a Wonderful World” // Louis Armstrong
“Breathe” // Michelle Branch
“Happy and Sad” // Kacey Musgraves
“Where Is The Love?” // The Black Eyed Peas
“Why Can’t We Be Friends?” // War
The Best of Each Type
For Self-Discovery: “The Road Back to You” // Ian Morgan Cron
For Relationships: “The Path Between Us” // Suzanne Stabile
For Marriage: “Becoming Us” // Beth McCord
For Spiritual Growth: “The Sacred Enneagram” // Christopher Heuertz
I hope you found this post informative! Whether you’re an Enneagram fanatic or new to this personality tool, my desire for you is that you use this information (and the resources listed above) to help you better understand yourself, your family, your friends, and your community. The more time and effort we put in to learn about our neighbors, the better we can love and spur them on for goodness.
Illustrations Courtesy of @ashton.creates Instagram account
She is a fabulous resource and a wealth of cute Ennegram posts!