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ENNEAGRAM

WHY THE ENNEAGRAM?

The Enneagram is a study of nine basic personality types. It explains why we behave the way we do, and it points to specific directions for individual growth at all levels. It is an important tool for improving relationships, teamwork and for a heightened awareness in our spiritual life.

The-enneagram

 

THEORY

The Enneagram system is represented by a circle containing a nine-pointed star-like shape.  Ennea is Greek for the number nine, and gram is Greek for points or a drawing. The Enneagram is "a drawing with nine points". The nine points appear on a circle and are interconnected by arrows. Each point represents a different personality type.

The Enneagram teaches us that we were born free and innocent in our original essence – specific to each person. Early in life we learned to survive and to cope with stress, by developing a strategy based on our natural talents and abilities. The initial gift, intended for the good of humanity, becomes a self-oriented compulsive behaviour where the real gift is, so to speak, covered up and paralyzed. By learning the Enneagram, we develop a deeper understanding of who we really are, and what wants to grow within ourselves. This helps us to discover alternative patterns of behaviour. It also promotes an understanding and acceptance of others, and of our relationships with them. The Enneagram helps us to break free from worn-out strategies. It helps us to discover where we are stuck and it helps us to begin to see life from a broader point of view.

KNOW YOUR OWN WORLD VIEW

  • ONES want to get it right.
  • TWOS want to help others.
  • THREES want to work hard and be successful.
  • FOURS want to explore their true feelings and make you feel special.
  • FIVES want objective information and privacy.
  • SIXES want to know what is happening behind their backs.
  • SEVENS want to plan for plentiful positive possibilities.
  • EIGHTS want to take control and be in charge.
  • NINES want everyone to get along and make the world a better place.

TYPE ONE: THE REFORMER

PROFILE

Type ONES are Perfectionists and they believe that they must be good and right to be worthy. They readily and instinctively know what is best and work for it, seeking the ideal in everything and everyone. They demand perfection of themselves and of others and they expect it in life around them and in everything they put their hand to. ONES are people who drive through life with the brakes on. Their ideal self is to be right, hard-working, good and in tight control. They are responsible, work with a high energy level, and will initiate reforms if necessary.

ONES are hyper-critical of themselves and others. Anger is experienced when they do not find or achieve this ideal, but they avoid their anger and deny it, because it too is seen as an imperfection even though it is an energy making them capable of sticking to their efforts. This unexpressed anger develops into inner resentment and sharp outer criticism of even small details. The striving for perfection can lead to self-hatred, as well as disappointment and intolerance towards others. They hesitate to share responsibility as they believe they do things best themselves.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

They strive for the ideal: to improve the world, to constantly justify their position to be beyond criticism, to show strong disapproval of those who do not live up to their ideal, including themselves.

CHALLENGES

They are judgmental, impatient, intolerant, proud of perfection and unwilling to share responsibility, irritable, moody, pessimistic and stubborn.

STRENGTHS

Persistent effort, correct action, honesty, responsibility, concern for improvement, accomplishment, idealism, high standards, self-reliance and dedication.

TYPE TWO – THE HELPER

PROFILE

Type TWOS are people of service: the helpers, the co-dependents, the overworked mothers and self-sacrificing partners. They are extremely generous. They are sensitive to other's needs and love to give. Twos take pride in being helpful. For them, self-worth lies in being needed. They delight in coming to the rescue and in being seen as saviours. They are affectionate, compassionate and can naturally move into another person's feelings. Relationships are key to life and friendships are faithfully cared for. They will remember your birthday.

They avoid their personal needs and find it difficult to ask for or to receive help. This results in projecting their own needs onto others and solving them out there. They pride themselves on their helper role, while in fact they need constant affirmation. If services are ignored, flattery is used. They may become possessive of people, using their services to get the desired approval and love. Their world is disrupted when they are no longer needed. Their "selfless service" is actually not selfless at all. It is rather the TWO, trying to gain love and self-esteem by taking care of someone else.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

They are motivated by their need for approval, by their admiration for self-sacrifice, by wanting to express feelings for others, having others respond and pay attention to them. They often do not see the real needs of others.

CHALLENGES

They are possessive of people, smothering, have pride in helping, are manipulative, insincere, impatient.

STRENGTHS

TWOS' strengths include being giving, helpful, generous, romantic, sensitive to others' feelings, appreciative, supportive, energetic and willing.

TYPE THREE – THE PERFORMER

PROFILE

Type THREES value success. They gain self worth through production. They present themselves as shiny, bright, successful and shallow. They are extremely efficient and usually excel in whatever they put their hand to. They climb the social ladder and being "number one" is important to them. The world is right when they have a chance to prove they can do it, whatever is valued. They are natural executives, moving smoothly and with polish. They are persuasive and will motivate you to be on their team. They project a lot of self-confidence.

Any failure, or appearance of it, is devastating and avoided. They can get trapped in their need for efficiency and so become insensitive to others. They even use others for their own purposes, to get where they want to be. They do not hesitate to practise deceit to ensure an aura of success. The end (success) justifies the means: a half-truth or being overly competitive or switching sides. They are good at propaganda or selling – be it of ideas, plans, products or their own image. "Well done!" must be stamped on all they undertake.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

THREES constantly aim at self-improvement, draw attention by impressing others, they use or do whatever to stay at top, even at the cost of ruining others. They are very good at delegating and they know how to use their charm.

CHALLENGES

The end justifies the means. They are vain, will lie to protect their image, are insensitive, self-centered, cold, unable to face failure, overly competitive.

STRENGTHS

THREES' strengths include leadership, possibility, enthusiasm, action, encouragement, problem solving, ability to provide, efficiency, practicality and competence.

TYPE FOUR – THE ROMANTIC

PROFILE

Type FOURS are special, unique and different. They will have very personal ways of doing things. They are artistic, creative and intuitively perceptive of the emotional tone of others around them. They help others see the beauty and they live everything intensely. They have a tragic perception of life and they love the melancholic. FOURS remember their experiences with a sense of drama and depth of feeling.

They are in fact the natural drama queens of the Enneagram. They carry with them a sense of loss and never really feel at home in any environment: "I don't belong". They are the artists, dancers and workshop junkies of the world. FOURS feel great longing, and tend to be melodramatic and highly emotional. "Nobody suffers like I do!" is their lament. They avoid ordinariness and things are never simple. If so, then they are unworthy of notice. They experience moodiness, are up or down, but never in-between. When they feel misunderstood, they withdraw into self-pity, melancholia and depression. Clothes and manners are often rehearsed for effect. Authenticity in expressing who they really are, is a trap and becomes a quest. They are looking for someone who will truly understand them as they are, and accept them that way. They envy those who seem to be at home everywhere.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

It is important for FOURS to express themselves and create something beautiful that will communicate their uniqueness to others. They tend to withdraw to sort out their intensive emotional reactions to life. They indulge themselves often in some special communion with nature, to make up for what they feel they are missing in the real world.

CHALLENGES

They are snobbish, belittling of others, despairing, show excessive moodiness, jealousy and envy, and dwell in the past.

STRENGTHS

FOURS' strengths include sensitivity and empathy, especially with suffering. They are attuned to feelings, are intense, romantic, appreciative of the unique, and passionate and idealistic.

TYPE FIVE – THE OBSERVER

PROFILE

Type FIVES set value on wisdom and the pursuit of knowledge. Their ideal self is to know. Here is the reflective person, good at grasping precise details, seeing essentials and making connections detective style. FIVES love truth, are good listeners and very perceptive. When you need to know who is where and what is when, they'll probably have the information. They fear their own emptiness and seek to fill it with knowledge. They will not speak until they are very sure of having all the answers and will not risk doing so until they feel fully prepared. Because of this, they keep much inside and seem stingy, not sharing their inner wealth easily with others. They may stand back, observing life, while remaining aloof and fascinated by it, too fearful to participate in it. They will be critical, even sarcastic, of anyone not thoroughly grounded in their subject.

FIVES are fiercely independent, non-conforming rebels. They try to create peace through the exclusion of the outside world, dealing with their fear by reducing life to manageable proportions. FIVES love to be on the outer edges at social gatherings.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

FIVES observe, study and research their environment. They like to gain more knowledge, to have intellectual certitude, to back off from whatever seems threatening.

CHALLENGES

They are critical, sarcastic, cynical, stingy and selfish.

STRENGTHS

FIVES' strengths include being scholarly, knowing, thoughtful, calm in crisis, respectful, dependable, keeper of confidences, and appreciative of simplicity.

TYPE SIX – THE LOYALIST

PROFILE

Type SIXES stand for law and order. They rely on sound authority to lead and support them. In return they are extremely conscientious, loyal and faithful. For the religiously inclined, this will be God's Will underlying all they do. They feel responsible for the law and will defend it. They have a sense of tradition, with an understanding of what a group has in common. This must be preserved and kept intact. They are cautious by nature, but will challenge authority if it seems to detour in any way. They can sway back and forth in the face of a decision to be taken, endlessly weighing pros and cons. As a result, they worry excessively.

They cannot tolerate deviancy of any kind. They have a hard time seeing their own blame, or they go in the opposite direction of excessive guilt. When criticized, they will easily say, "I did as I was told." SIXES become fearful if they have to act on personal initiative. They look for the security of outside support. They will identify with and take on authority, rather than do something in their own name. They like to follow the law, can become rigid and intolerant, stubborn and harsh. SIXES are observers, safe behind their questioning mind and also the doubters who look for hidden meaning, but overlook the obvious.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

SIXES are very loyal and faithful. They seek the approval of figures of authority who come to their aid; they like to test the attitude of others towards themselves, they fight against anxiety and insecurity, constantly asserting themselves to overcome their fears, even to the extent of courting danger (counter phobic SIXES)

CHALLENGES

They are rigid, stubborn, intolerant, harsh, judgmental, proud of being obedient, scared of change.

STRENGTHS

SIXES' strengths include being thoughtful, warm, protective, devoted to others, trusting (as faith develops), intuitive, sensitive, loyal, fair, witty and full of ideas.

TYPE SEVEN – THE ADVENTURER

PROFILE

Type SEVENS are persons of joy and optimism. They are the charmers, con artists and cosmic travelers of the Enneagram. Peter Pan is the Type SEVEN. They accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative. Life is made for happiness and they make fun things happen. They live in a kind of utopia, assured that tomorrow will turn out much better than today, if only they plan for it. Magical thinking and "don't bring me down" are hallmarks of a SEVEN. They dream of a world where everyone is joyful and everything is in harmony: no more tears, no more dying.

Their security is in being able to say "I am fine" whatever is happening. They avoid what is painful, dull, boring or unpleasant. They block it out and become insensitive to it - pretend it away. They want instant gratification of their desires for good things, while anything painful is put off. The gluttony and over-indulgence is for anything they like. They are fast and usually have several things going on at the same time. They travel from job to job, relationship to relationship, always seeking outside themselves, greedy for something new.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

SEVENS seek happiness, to have fun and amusement, to do and have more of everything good; to escape anxiety by staying in motion regardless of consequences; to follow impulses, to avoid feeling of, and dealing or staying with pain.

CHALLENGES

They gloss over pain. They are gluttons; they fail to follow through on plans, are self-indulgent, superficial in relationships, avoid commitment, are impatient, intolerant of plans of others, and lack seriousness.

STRENGTHS

SEVENS' strengths include loving life, thinking positive and being playful, enjoyable, inventive, imaginative, energetic, optimistic, helpful and open to possibilities.

TYPE EIGHT – THE PROTECTOR

PROFILE

Type EIGHTS are persons of power. They really are strong in many ways. They love a challenge and take it on without hesitation. They need to feel that they have control over whatever touches their lives. Any show of weakness is avoided and any expressions of tenderness are carefully guarded. They have strength of character, the courage of their convictions and are truthful and honest. They are natural leaders and will influence the direction of any group they belong to. They are very sensitive to injustice and to unfair situations and will confront these.

Their pitfall is to think they can handle any problem by fighting. They love to fight for justice and the underdog, but are often the biggest bullies themselves. They assert themselves at the expense of others. They are comfortable with being against others as well as over them. Their arrogance can be felt as they become impatient, sarcastic, verbally and physically abusive. Their anger is open and explosive. They will respond with vengeance if crossed. They are driven by lust, not only sexual lust, but also a lust for life and over-consumption. Whatever EIGHTS do, they do excessively.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

EIGHTS have strong opinions, with no tolerance for other views, which give them a rigid and limited horizon. They despise cowards and weaklings and hate liars. EIGHTS dominate their environment with their loud appearance, their fight for survival. They assert and prove themselves and are feared by others. EIGHTS pursue their powerful and often forceful ways, which protect their façade of being invulnerable, while promoting justice and truth.

CHALLENGES

They are impatient, sarcastic, verbally and physically abusive. They show intense anger, are arrogant, domineering, and reject weakness and tenderness. Everything is black or white, and they push to the limits at all costs.

STRENGTHS

EIGHTS' strengths include being strong, powerful, exciting, intense, determined, courageous, persistent, protective of others, just, friendly, truthful, fair, clear, straightforward and firm.

TYPE NINE - THE PEACEMAKER

PROFILE

Type NINES are people of peace who value serenity. They avoid anger on a deep, primal level, idealizing their self image as a loving person. They pride themselves on being settled. They are usually free and easy to be with, natural mediators, quiet, calm, non-threatening and accepting of what is. They are non-judgmental and make empathic counselors. They naturally conserve energy, and will not take two steps when one will do. On the surface, NINES appear to be sweet, easy-going and gentle, but don't let that fool you: when the elephant decides to move, nothing will stand in his/her way.

They avoid conflict and do not take sides or prioritize values. They put off decision-making where they have to take responsibility. They avoid being the centre of attention. They have two speeds – slow and stop, to the point of indolence or laziness. They are seekers who look to others for solutions. They are overly patient, they complain rather than clear things up and they love to stay uninvolved. NINES can listen without hearing. They easily procrastinate: "Why do today what can be done tomorrow?"

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

NINES primarily want to have peace and harmony. They are gentle, awaken trust, mediate quarrels, try to bring people back together, want to preserve things as they are, minimize problems and deny the existence of difficulties hard to handle.

CHALLENGES

They are overly patient, complaining, uninvolved, insensitive to enthusiasm, they listen but do not hear, they procrastinate.

STRENGTHS

NINES' strengths include being caring, attentive to others, giving, empathetic, adaptive, accepting, supportive, accountable, sensitive, steady, calming, receptive and generally non-judgmental.

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