Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Enneagram

Most of my adult life I have been a little obsessed with trying to understand what makes me tick.  I have wondered why I think and act as I do.  Why am I who I am?  One of the great things that has helped me in my understanding of myself, and others, is called the Enneagram.  The Enneagram is a personality system, similar to the Myers-Briggs, but much deeper in my opinion, that has given me much insight into my own behavior.  In this system, there are nine basic personality types.  Each has their positive and negative traits.  Typically one finds their type from the somewhat painful acceptance of their negative or dark side.  In terms of the positive traits of each type, it is usually easy to identify with all of them since most of us have exaggerated images of ourselves.  Here is a brief description of the nine types.  Of course, it’s more complicated than these simple descriptions and there are many subtle dynamics.  One insight I have gotten from the Enneagram is the realization that our gift is also our curse.  It’s the “too much of a good thing is a bad thing” conundrum.  Some of you may quickly see yourself in one of these types. I am a Type Nine.  I highly recommend Richard Rohr's The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective.
1.       The Perfectionist-Motivated by the need to be right.
2.       The Helper-Motivated by the need to love.
3.       The Achiever-Motivated by the need to be successful.
4.       The Romantic-Motivated by the need to be special.
5.       The Observer-Motivated by the need to know.
6.       The Questioner-Motivated by the need to be certain.
7.       The Adventurer-Motivated by the need to avoid pain.
8.       The Asserter-Motivated by the need to be against.
9.       The Peacemaker-Motivated by the need to avoid.

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