The first time I heard about the Enneagram was in 2003 from my college roommate. She asked me to go online and take this personality test. So I did. It said I was a personality type 6 – the loyalist. She exclaimed, “I knew it! I knew it!” I read the description and thought, yeah, that could be me. I didn’t think much of it after that.
In 2004 I started going to therapy to figure out why I kept making the same mistakes in relationships over and over again. I had just ended an engagement and knew I needed some healing. My therapist used the Enneagram in her practice, so I told her, “I’m a 6.” After talking a bit, she said, “Have you looked at personality type 9 – the peacemaker?” I defiantly said no, I was a 6. She gently handed me a piece of paper that described the 9. I remember looking at it and recoiling because, damn it, I was a 6. But, wait…maybe? My therapist suggested I go home and read about the personality type 9.
And I did. It freaked me out. As I read the chapter in the Enneagram book I kept thinking, “Is this person inside my head? How do they know all these things about me?” I was a 9. But why did I test as a 6?
Well, further investigation told me that when the 9 is under stress, it takes on attributes of the 6. At the time I took the test, I was living with my fiancé and his 6 year old daughter, with his dog and my dog, in my parent’s house with their dog. (And yes, my parents are saints.) It’s a long story as to WHY this situation occurred. All we need to know is the obvious: I was living under a lot of stress. I was basically living in the 6 personality.
Learning that I was a 9 on the Enneagram opened a whole new world to me. It put a mirror in front of my face and said, “Stop sleepwalking and look at yourself!” It helped me understand WHY I behave the way I do by explaining the motivation behind my actions. And when you know that, you can start healing the motivation behind your actions.
The 9 personality is the peacemaker. This is a wonderful thing because 9s can see all sides of a problem, everyone’s point of view. They are the great mediators. Being a peacemaker is a horrible thing because they are so focused on seeing every other point of view that they don’t know their own. They are so focused on keeping the peace that they run from confrontation and forego any boundaries to protect themselves. To avoid confrontation they believe it is better not to be seen. Deep down, 9s believe their existence doesn’t matter.
To hear something like that about yourself, and then look back on your life is a heavy, heavy thing. But with that knowledge you are able to have true compassion for yourself in a way that wasn’t possible before. This is the first gift of the Enneagram, learning compassion for yourself and others. The second gift is courage. It gives you the courage to say, “You know, it doesn’t have to be this way. What can I do to heal this belief?” And for me it meant a new mantra, “I matter. My presence matters in the world.”
Since then I have taken baby steps to the person I am today. And trust me, I am still learning. Just when you think you have it all figured out, another layer appears and you have an “aha” moment. With that layer comes more compassion and more courage. And with each layer you accept and love yourself more and more. That is the final gift of the Enneagram. Learning to be happy with 100% of who you are, the good and the bad.
I love sharing the Enneagram with people. I love seeing their eyes light up when they have “aha” moments. I love seeing people grow and blossom with compassion and courage. No other personality typing system that I know of has sparked growth and change in people. My plan is to share the Enneagram journey through this blog. First explaining the Enneagram, then sharing insight from myself as well from other personality types.
There are 9 types on the Enneagram. They are all unique and wonderful. Curious which personality you are? Then take the first step…
Follow this link to take a free Enneagram test. Now, you know from my experience that these tests aren’t the definite answer. Taking a test is a place to start.
From there, go here to read a brief description about all 9 personality types. Which one resonates with you?
Feel free to comment on what type you might be. Or ask any questions if you are confused. I’m here to help you on your first step of the journey.
Did you like this post? Spread the Yoga Nerd love and share with your friends!