A Map To Better Relationships With Yourself and Others
The Enneagram (pronounced ANY-a-gram) is a profound and comprehensive personality typing system that helps you to understand yourself and other people with new depth and accuracy. It is like having X-ray glasses that enables you to see yourself and others with startling new clarity. Because understanding yourself and others is so important, this knowledge has the potential to change your life and all your relationships.
The word Enneagram comes from the Greek words ennea (“nine”) and gramma (“something written down”) and refers to the nine pointed Enneagram symbol that represents the nine basic personality types in people and their paths of personal development.
Most personality typologies explain “what” you do. The Enneagram, on the other hand, goes much deeper. It explains “why you do what you do.” It shows your heart’s intent and motivation on why you think, feel, and behave the way you do. Most of us live unaware or asleep to the real reasons behind what makes us tick. In order for real transformational growth to happen, we must become awake and aware to who we really are and the driving force behind everything we do. The beauty of the Enneagram is that it gives us profound information on our inner world so that we can begin walking on the path toward personal transformation.
The goal of the Enneagram is that as we grow, we will embody more of our type’s positive qualities and less of the negative qualities. We will be able to move around the circle and be our best selves. Through this system, we also gain immensely practical wisdom on communication and relationships that is not clouded by generalized assumptions.
Wings and Lines
You are not purely one personality type, but a unique mixture of your main type, the two types next to your personality type (called Wings) and the two types that are connected to your personality through the lines (called Line or Arrows).
WINGS – Wings are the two personality types on either side of your personality type. For instance, wings for Type Nine are Type Eight and Type One. One wing is usually (but not always) used more than the other and brings a new dimension and depth to your main type. Think of them like salt and pepper. They add flavor and more complexity to the main type. Your main type dominates how you perceive and experience life, but your wings influence your main type. We can take on the strengths of our wings to be healthy and balanced, but we can also access the areas of weakness from our wings when we are struggling. To understand yourself to a great degree, you will want to also learn about your wings, the two types directly next to yours and see how they are impacting your main type.
LINES or ARROWS – The Enneagram symbol is a dynamic map for self-discovery and growth. The lines in the symbol represent important paths for self-awareness and development. When we are under stress our personality will take on the average characteristics of the type moving in the direction of the red arrow. When we are relaxed and doing well, we will move to the higher qualities of the type in the direction of the yellow arrow.
Example: Type 9 is connected to Type 6 and Type 3. This means that when a Type 9 is under stress, they can take on some average to negative attributes of Type 6 (worry, anxiety, thinking of worst case scenarios). When a type 9 is feeling secure and healthy, they tend take on some of the higher and healthier qualities of the Type 3 (self-assertive, confident, achieving). During this movement along the lines, they are still a Type 9, but these other two types greatly effect and influence how they interact with their circumstances.
The Nine Enneagram Personality Types
1. THE REFORMER
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
Type One In Brief
Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At Their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.
Basic Fear: Of being corrupt/evil, defective
Basic Desire: To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced
Enneagram One with a Nine-Wing: “The Idealist”
Enneagram One with a Two-Wing: “The Advocate”
Want to be right, to strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.
The Meaning of the Arrows (in brief)
When moving in their Direction of Disintegration (stress), methodical Ones suddenly become moody and irrational at Four. However, when moving in their Direction of Integration (growth), angry, critical Ones become more spontaneous and joyful, like healthy Sevens.
Type One Overview
We have named personality type One The Reformer because Ones have a “sense of mission” that leads them to want to improve the world in various ways, using whatever degree of influence they have. They strive to overcome adversity—particularly moral adversity—so that the human spirit can shine through and make a difference. They strive after “higher values,” even at the cost of great personal sacrifice.
History is full of Ones who have left comfortable lives to do something extraordinary because they felt that something higher was calling them. During the Second World War, Raoul Wallenburg left a comfortable middle-class life to work for the protection of thousands of European Jews from invading Nazis. In India, Gandhi left behind his wife and family and life as a successful lawyer to become an itinerant advocate of Indian independence and non-violent social changes. Joan of Arc left her village in France to restore the throne to the Dauphin and to expel the English from the country. The idealism of each of these Ones has inspired millions.
Ones are people of practical action—they wish to be useful in the best sense of the word. On some level of consciousness, they feel that they “have a mission” to fulfill in life, if only to try their best to reduce the disorder they see in their environment.
Although Ones have a strong sense of purpose, they also typically feel that they have to justify their actions to themselves, and often to others as well. This orientation causes Ones to spend a lot of time thinking about the consequences of their actions, as well as about how to keep from acting contrary to their convictions. Because of this, Ones often persuade themselves that they are “head” types, rationalists who proceed only on logic and objective truth. But, the real picture is somewhat different: Ones are actually activists who are searching for an acceptable rationale for what they feel they must do. They are people of instinct and passion who use convictions and judgments to control and direct themselves and their actions.
In the effort to stay true to their principles, Ones resist being affected by their instinctual drives, consciously not giving in to them or expressing them too freely. The result is a personality type that has problems with repression, resistance, and aggression. They are usually seen by others as highly self- controlled, even rigid, although this is not how Ones experience themselves. It seems to them that they are sitting on a cauldron of passions and desires, and they had better “keep the lid on” lest they and everyone else around them regret it.
Cassandra is a therapist in private practice who recalls the difficulty this caused her in her youth:
I remember in high school getting feedback that I had no feelings. Inside, I felt my feelings intensely and yet I just couldn’t let them out as intensely as I felt them. Even now, if I have a conflict with a friend and need to address an issue, I rehearse ahead of time how to express clearly what I want, need, and observe, and yet, not be harsh or blaming in my anger which is often scathing.
Ones believe that being strict with themselves (and eventually becoming “perfect”) will justify them in their own eyes and in the eyes of others. But by attempting to create their own brand of perfection, they often create their own personal hell. Instead of agreeing with the statement in Genesis that God saw what He had created, “and it was good,” Ones intensely feel that “It wasn’t—there obviously have been some mistakes here!” This orientation makes it difficult for them to trust their inner guidance—indeed, to trust life—so Ones come to rely heavily on their superego, a learned voice from their childhood, to guide them toward “the greater good” which they so passionately seek. When Ones have gotten completely entranced in their personality, there is little distinction between them and this severe, unforgiving voice. Separating from it and seeing its genuine strengths and limitations is what growth for Ones is about.