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What is the Enneagram?

Updated: May 18, 2022

Let’s kick things off by defining this enigmatic “personality assessment” that has taken the mainstream by storm these past few years. Is it just another personality test? Is it even a personality assessment at its core?! Well, let’s get into it!


TLDR


The Enneagram IS NOT

  • A tool for stereotyping people

  • Focused on personality traits

  • Rooted in the occult

The Enneagram IS

  • A tool for navigating self-awareness

  • Focused on your core motivations

  • A mix of psychology & spirituality

 

I think a lot of people would call the Enneagram just another personality assessment, much like Meyers-Briggs, or Strengths-Finder, or DISC. The problem with that is…


The goal of the Enneagram is not to describe your personality.

The enneagram is only concerned with your personality in so far as it's a blockade to who you really are. There are two key terms that summarize what the enneagram is actually all about:


EGO & ESSENCE


Your Ego is your Personality.


The Enneagram uses ego & personality somewhat interchangeably. That's because Oscar Ichazo, one of the pioneers of the enneagram, did not call them “Enneagram Personality Types” back in the day, but rather “Ego Fixations.”


Your Ego is who you've become as you've bounced off the world around you.


Everything your parents did to you, any traumatic experiences you had, anything you did great and got praise for, all that stuff influences who you think you should be - aka your ego.


Your Essence is who you really are, from the minute you were born.


Think of it like your ego's home base. The further your ego moves you away from home, the more you'll be filled with a deep restlessness or general dissatisfaction with life. Your ego may keep you physically healthy, wealthy, and popular, but it wont make you whole and it certainly wont make you happy in the long run.


All of us struggle with our ego everyday.


We fight the tendency to drift away from our essence because life is tough, it beats us down and keeps us thinking we lack something so we need to change the way we talk, dress, tell jokes, or what we do for a living. It's human nature to be influenced by our environment, and it seems like these days, thanks to social media and artificial intelligence, our environment is getting pretty damn effective at molding us into whatever version of ourselves is the easiest to manipulate. Thankfully, the enneagram can become…


A compass to help us navigate our Ego so we can get back to our Essence - our true self.

That's why my concern, or general disdain for most personality assessments, comes from the fact that they plant your identity in the Ego portion of you - the person that you've forced yourself to become to fit in or survive, rather than allow you to move and change and grow over time as you work your way back to your true self (your essence)!


Without getting into the weeds too much, the Enneagram is incredibly fluid and it allows for the natural ups & downs of life and all the various environments you may find yourself in. Yes, you have one type, but you also have a wing, you have three different instincts, and different directions you move when you're stressed out vs. when you're healthy & self-aware.


Overall, there are 54 different variations of Enneagram Types AND a system of triads that I’ll spend a great deal of time describe here on this blog and in my video series.


All that to say, the Enneagram is a wee bit different than other systems that tell you you're either THIS OR THAT, an extrovert or an introvert, and that's “just the way it is.”


So what is the enneagram?


The Enneagram is a tool to navigate the lifelong journey from our Ego back to our Essence.

If you're interested in that journey, I've got plenty of good content here for you! (And more always on the way…)


If not, no harm no foul. I know some of this language sounds pretty ‘woo-woo’ and it's certainly not for everybody, so congrats on making it through this brief blog despite your skepticism ;)


Either way, I'm super excited to fuel your enneagram curiosity, because I know firsthand how much growth, insight and healing there is when you take the enneagram seriously.


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