The Enneagram System of nine dynamic personality patterns and three sub-instincts is one of the most powerful and elegant tools available for self-awareness and mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It describes nine distinct and fundamentally different patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. It thus provides a path of personal and emotional development and growth, which allows for the emergence of greater compassion, kindness, and gentleness.

Typing does not put one in a box; rather, it explains the box from which we view the world. The growth comes in recognizing and redirecting the conditioned and habituated mind, or the everyday ego, as you begin transcending the illusion of separation from your truest self. This involves recognizing where your focus of attention lies, your coping strategies, and experience of development. In expanding freedom and flexibility to respond to the world as it is, our divine spark can shine forth, leading to a life more full of grace, empowerment, and vitality.

While I don’t believe the Enneagram is the answer to everything, it helps with many issues, including the human ego holding sway, engaging in shadow work, the ability to handle emotions, and to conduct oneself from a more mature stance.

Type 1

Ones seek a perfect world and work diligently to improve both themselves and others.

  • Life Lesson – To change what can be changed, to accept what cannot be changed, and to develop the wisdom to know the difference
  • Strengths – strive for quality, perceptive, honest, responsible for making things right, dependable, self-reliant, hard-working, big picture and detail-oriented, high standards – both technical and moral
  • Development – resentful, rigid, judgmental, reactive, critical, opinionated, impatient, repress impulses and desires, live with an inner critic

Type 2

Twos want to be liked by those they want to like them, try to meet the needs, feelings, and desires of others, and attempt to orchestrate the people and events in their lives.

  • Life Lesson – To develop the humility that comes from allowing yourself to be loved without being needed and to have needs of your own.
  • Strengths – helpful, relationship-oriented, empathic, supportive, motivating, warm, generous, supportive and exuberant
  • Development – prideful, dependent on approval of others, accommodating, indirect, angry when unappreciated, overextending, intrusive, demanding, privileged

Type 3

Threes organize their lives to accomplish and achieve specific goals and to appear successful in order to gain the respect and admiration of others.

  • Life Lesson – To reclaim the truth that love comes to you because of who you are, not because of what you do
  • Strengths – energetic, entrepreneurial, efficient, confident, results oriented, successful, practical, competent.
  • Development – competitive, abrupt, overly focused, selectively disclosing, inattentive to feelings, impatient, image-driven, over-worked, out of touch with feelings, substituting success for feelings, neglecting to solicit input from others

Type 4

Fours desire deep connections with their own inner worlds and with others and feel most alive when they authentically express their feelings and emotions. They search for an ideal or perfect state by finding the unique and special.

  • Life Lesson – To reclaim wholeness in the present moment by appreciating what is here and now, feeling the experience in their bodies rather than over-indulging in the story of what’s happening, and accepting yourself as you are without needing to be special or unique
  • Strengths – inspiring, introspective, expressive, capable of emotional depth, idealistic, empathic, innovative, creative flair
  • Development – intense, self-conscious, moody, guilt-ridden, self-absorbed, dramatic, demanding, withdrawn, over-sensitive, unsatisfied with now

Type 5

Fives thirst for information and knowledge and use emotional detachment as a way of keeping involvement with others to a minimum. They want to protect themselves from a world that demands too much and gives too little.

  • Life Lesson – To reconnect to the vitality of your life force and your heartfelt feelings, realizing that ample energy and resources are available
  • Strengths – analytic, objective, systematic, expert, unobtrusive, scholarly, self-reliant, calm in crisis
  • Development– secretive, detached autonomous, overwhelmed by others’ demands, under-emphasize relationships, withholding, detached, isolated, overly intellectual, hoarding

Type 6

Sixes are seeking certainty and security in a hazardous world in which others can’t be trusted. They are insightful, prone to worry, and anticipate concerns in order to feel prepared if something goes wrong, some engage in risk to prove their fearlessness.

  • Life Lesson – To reclaim trust in yourself, others, and the world, and live comfortably with uncertainty
  • Strengths – intuitive, inquisitive, loyal, collaborative, persevering, strategic problem solving, troubleshooting, warm, sensitive, courageous
  • Development – worrying, tolerance of ambiguity, analysis paralysis, martyring, fearful, doubt own power/authority

Type 7

Sevens are upbeat and crave stimulation from new ideas, people, and experiences, avoid pain, and engage in positive possibility planning in order to keep all their options open.

  • Life Lesson – To reclaim and accept all of life, the pleasures and the pains, in the present moment
  • Strengths – imaginative, enthusiastic, engaging, quick thinking, adventurous, optimistic, charming, egalitarian style
  • Development – impulsive, unfocused, rebellious, pain avoidant, uncommitted, self-serving and indifferent to others’ input

Type 8

Eights believe that by being strong and powerful it will assure protection and regard in the world. They protect the truth and seek justice, to keep situations under control, want to make important things happen, and try to hide their vulnerability.

  • Life Lesson – To harness the life force in productive ways, integrating self-assertion with vulnerability
  • Strengths – direct, strategic, protective, big action-oriented, zestful, energetic, big-hearted
  • Development – controlling, demanding, confrontational, disdaining weakness, impatient with deliberation, intimidating, excessive, impulsive, overly impactful

Type 9

Nines seek peace, harmony, and positive mutual regard and dislike conflict, tension, demands and ill will.

  • Life Lesson – To reclaim yourself and wake up to personal priorities
  • Strengths – diplomatic, easygoing, accepting, affable, inclusive of both feelings and facts, empathic, see things from many angles, steady
  • Development – conflict avoidant, unassertive, procrastinating, indecisive, scattered, unclear, gets “foggy” when asked for opinion, overly conciliatory

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