A few months back a favorite friend of mine introduced me to the Enneagram personality test and I have been fascinated ever since. Have you heard of this? Scholars have traced it back as far as 10,000 years and it is believed to have been woven into the Kabbalah. Interesting, right?
Of course I immediately took the (at times, tricky to answer) test and was my mind blown. Not only did it ring oh so true with me, but it has helped so much in terms of how I look at my relationships with others. My mom, sisters, friends, the husband. So fascinating and in a time when it could not be more important to open our minds a bit and understand where others are coming from, this has been so interesting to learn about.
The whole Enneagram way of thinking is quite complex, but it can be boiled down to some pretty simple points. Each number has sort of a ‘label.’ And while individuals go way beyond that simple label, the heart of that person is really right there. Learning about yourself in this way is very, well, freeing. To quote the Super Bowl super star, you are literally ‘born this way’ and once you figure out your number you can dive right into it all: the good and the bad.
And yes, there is bad. When I first started reading about myself I was a bit horrified. Then I got to my historical figure match and it was Jesus Christ so, you know, the confidence began to rise again. Each number highlights your strengths and weaknesses and shows how you can be ‘healthy’ in your number and how you can also be very ‘unhealthy’ in your number and what to do about it.
You are also given a ‘heart’ and ‘stress’ point, which go along with the healthy and unhealthy stages a person may go through. For example, I am a 2. When stressed, I lean towards negative tendencies of an 8 (which Mike just happens to be). This doesn’t mean he stresses me out, but, his overall character can, at times, reflect sides of me that I do not like. Mike married his heart point (I am a 2). How nice for him. HA, I kid. Again this doesn’t mean I am perfection for him but when he’s healthy he can go to some really positive sides that a 2 has.
I’ve become so fasciated with all this that I am pretty close to being able to label my good friends and family. Recently at our home for the Super Bowl all the lovely ladies were sitting around the kitchen counter, naturally, and the test came up. I was almost certain my one friends was a 9. She took the test and bam, 9. My other friend was a bit of a mystery and she threw me for a little loop being an 8, but, that can happen. My friend who introduced me to the test happened to be there. She was recently at talk by Enneagram Consultant and Licensed Therapist, Crissie Steyn, who shared the most entertaining and basic way to get a snapshot of each number, which my friend then shared with us. Definitely gave us a few laughs.
Let’s imagine it’s the first day of school and the teacher tells us we are going to do a craft. Each of us are given a paper shaped bell and one bead. We have to glue the bead to the bottom of the bell. Here we go.
1’s: The perfectionist: Grabs a ruler, draws a line straight down the center to the exact perfect middle, and glues the bead.
2’s: The helper: Turns to all classmates and helps them out first. Doesn’t do their own craft.
3’s: The achiever: Bam! Finished first.
4’s: The individualist: I’m going to glue mine to the LEFT side of the circle. Did you all see that?
5’s: The investigator: I am going to research this to the death to figure out the best way possible to complete this task.
6’s: The loyalist: (anxiously looks around) Wait, what is everyone else doing?
7’s: The enthusiast: Ooooohhhhh, glue!!!! FUN!!!
8’s: The challenger: This is stupid. (Throws craft on the floor).
9’s: The peacemaker: Is everyone doing the craft ok? Teacher, are we all doing it right?
Entertaining, right? I find myself, as a 2, drawn to 7’s, 9’s, and 8’s. Many of my closest relationships are those numbers and even with my stress point being an 8 I seem drawn to them. I think it’s the strong sense of self that I as a 2 ,who’s ‘self’ can sometimes be lost, admire. 7’s are just plain fun to have around and I seem to help keep them more structured, we are a good match 7’s. And 9’s are oh so kind. As a 2 I need kind as I tend to value myself solely on how I can help and relate to others. Do not take advantage of me, I will resent you. You’ve been warned, HA.
What do you think you are? How about your friends? If you’re interested in finding out simply download the EnneaApp. The test itself is free. To unlock your full results (which you will want to do) you can quickly share your number on Facebook (then delete if you want) or you can pay $1.99 for the whole app. A tip while taking the test, go with your gut answer and if you are stuck think about your 18 year old self if you can and answer that way.
The absolute best part of this app would be the ‘tips’ section. It lists out ‘how to get along with me.’ Reading this for yourself and about your friends is life changing, I promise. Maybe even show your significant other, too. (Wink wink).
Have fun with this and who knows, maybe it will open your eyes to your important relationships like it did for me.