The Enneagram is so hot right now. It’s been hot for a while, but if you haven’t felt the heat, join me. There is a blizzard outside, and it’s been snowing since Christmas around here…even the sound of the word “hot” seems wildly attractive.
My love for assessments started with the CliftonStrengths. Their new feature allows you to see your full list in order. It’s amazing. When I looked through my entire list, my worst strength (is that a thing?), what I “least do best naturally” is individualization, meaning I have no idea why you are doing what you are doing, so much so that my husband and I have nearly the same CliftonStrengths and the same Enneagram Number. I married myself because I finally found someone I could understand…but I digress.
The Enneagram is the literal the Holy Grail for those of us who lack individualization, and likely also for those who don’t. For example, when my friend mentioned that she was going to have someone stop by that she hadn’t seen in years, I sent an emoji of a fire extinguisher exemplifying the complete panic I would be experiencing. My friend texted me a picture of a cat with a TV remote. I was so confused.
She sent me the Enneagram Assessment. When I took it, I was hooked. Goodbye lack of individualization, hello Enneagram Institute. The floodgates of understanding were opened. My number in stress goes to “pull my life together” mode, while my friend goes total “I feel nothing.” She was having a heart attack, her heart attack just looked different than mine.
The gals in my Bible study went through the book The Road Back to You, the place to dig in for all things Enneagram. It made a difference from week one. Rather than the typical, “Hi, I’m Sally I have three kids and I’m a nurse.” We started by introducing ourselves with our Enneagram number. We had a room full of Helpers, Perfectionists, Challengers, Loyalists and Achievers, rather than a group of women categorized by their jobs, marital status and number of children. We had a group of different types of people, and you know else we had? Understanding. We could understand each other better because we had a glimpse into how that person saw the world.
When a gal in our study was working towards the adoption of two children and seemed detached and distant about it, it wasn’t that she didn’t want to adopt them. Her Enneagram number grasps for control and to let herself feel open about the adoption process was to lose control. Knowing that, I could pray more specifically for her, rather than question her distance to the process (which wasn’t even distance, but was fear). Afraid she wouldn’t end up with her heart’s desire, she was actually feeling it all, deeply.
The difference in authentic conversations blew my mind.
I had my family members take the test, which helped me to identify when my mom might be feeling taken advantage of and why it’s important for my husband to get away for some adventure.
One of my favorite pages on the Enneagram Institute website is the section on marriage combinations. When you know the number for yourself and your spouse, you can read through how your personality types may combine with each other. It helps to shed light on the ways you likely interact with each other due to your number. It’s relationship-altering, on the level of, “I see us so much more accurately because I know this information.” Staggering.
I believe that we can have more authentic relationships when we better understand each other and then together we can be the best version of ourselves. Even when I know my friends well, the Enneagram helps us to understand each other’s undercurrents.
What are some resources that you can use to get started?
This Enneagram thing is a big deal. I believe it will improve your interactions with the people you care about and, with honest reflection, can help you stop and realign when life gets a little off.
You are going to be yourself your whole life. It’s worth the time to consider how to be your best.