The Enneagram is simply a diagram of nine core personality types within a circle. The circle represents wholeness, which contains the nine basic types, none of which is better or worse than the other. Think of these types as points of entry into wholeness. We all likely have some characteristics of each of the types, but one primary type. Each type represents a certain way of interacting with the world.

We develop our way of interacting with the world through some combination of nature and nurture. In other words, we are likely born with a certain temperament that is then shaped by formative life experiences. In this sense, our personality type is not “who we are.” Rather, our personality is instead more like a defense mechanism which serves to form and protect our ego, or “false self.”  This ego serves to protect us as we mature, but at some point (often mid-life), it mostly outlives its usefulness, and we must let it go, like a butterfly breaking from its cocoon, in order to continue to grow into wholeness.

Who we are at our essence — who we are in wholeness — is not our personality type, but discovering our type can help us discover our true selves. It can also reveal to us how our patterns can become our stumbling blocks. Discovering our Enneagram type helps us confront patterns and blind spots which keep us locked into our defenses. If we can see our type as a doorway leading to wholeness, then the challenge, if we choose to accept it, is to enter through the doorway rather than being our own doorstop.

I have studied the Enneagram since around 2005, and I enjoy using it to help clients better understand themselves and their relationships with others. If you are interested in working with the Enneagram as a means of self-discovery, I would love to assist you.

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