Sometimes in life, we’re blessed with a moment of epiphany, and the night that I was introduced to the Enneagram, I had mine. It literally changed my life.
There I was on an uneventful winter evening, reading through the Nine Types halfheartedly, expecting to be completely unimpressed. But when I got to Type Seven I unexpectedly met myself on the typed page. It could have just as well said: Type Seven: Harmoni: The Enthusiast, the optimist, the flake with constant FOMO, whose life goal is to do all the things at once.
It was a blow to the ego to see myself basically condensed into paragraph form, and then to realize I was just acting out an archetype, which by actual definition means “a very typical example of a certain person or thing”. It’s hard to continue viewing your quirks as cute once you realize your just another “typical example.” Ouch.
This is what the Enneagram is good at. It dismantles your view of yourself, or maybe a better explanation is that it allows your inner workings to be clearly seen. You become transparent. For some people, this feels like an immediate relief, and for others, it can be devastating. I think I fell somewhere in the middle.
Whatever my emotions were that night, the truth of the matter is that I immediately was able to let a part of myself go, the part that wanted to run in a billion different directions all at once. I couldn’t justify it anymore. I understood why I was attracted to the next best thing, and why my mailbox was overflowing with books ordered from Amazon, and why I was always on the lookout for the something that would change my life.
It’s been a few years now since that night, and I’ve since become a mother. This has caused me to think a lot about my Enneagram type and what effects it could have on my parenting style if I’m not paying attention. I know my predisposition to being attracted to every new thing could easily resurface, and I’ve seen it pop its head up a few times in the last few months.
Who doesn’t want to give their kid the world? Who doesn’t want their kid to experience life to the fullest? For Sevens this is a slippery slope. I have to continuously and consciously pull myself back to my center, and remind myself that all the ways and all the things are not what’s best. For me, and for most Sevens, the motto needs to be “deeper, not wider”.
The more I’ve been thinking about my Enneagram Type and motherhood, the more I’ve realizedcthe wisdom each Type has specifically for parents. It’s like a having a personal cheat-sheet that shows your own typical patterns of behavior so that maybe you can try to curb the detrimental ones before they happen.
This is where some sort of spiritual practice would be really helpful. The Enneagram in itself is completely nondenominational, but at the same time requires a spiritual practice to cement what’s being learned. I lean Buddhist, but it works with anything, as long as that anything provides you with a practice of inner reflection.
So here’s the list and description of all the Types taken directly out of my beloved “The Wisdom of the Enneagram” book. If you don’t already know your Type, read through them and see what fits. You’ll be able to tell by just the short description alone what the good and the bad in your parenting style looks like. If you happen to fall in love with the Enneagram as I did, get the book. There’s so much more in there then I could ever condense into one blog post.
Type One: The Reformer
The principled, idealistic type. Ones are ethical and conscientious, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers and crusaders, 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 repressed anger and impatience. At their best, healthy Ones are wise, discerning, realistic, and noble, as well as morally heroic.
Type Two: The Helper
The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but they can also be sentimental flattering, and people-pleasing. They are driven to be close to others, and they often do things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems taking care of themselves and acknowledging their own needs. At their best, healthy Twos are unselfish and altruistic and have unconditional love for themselves and others.
Type Three: The Achiever
The adaptable, success-oriented type. Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for personal advancement. Threes are often concerned about their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their best, healthy Threes are self-accepting, authentic, and role-models who inspire others.
Type Four: The Individualist
The romantic, introspective type. Fours are self-aware, sensitive, reserved, and quiet. They are self-revealing, emotionally honest, and personal, but they can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with self-indulgence and self-pity. At their best, healthy Fours are inspired and highly creative, able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.
Type Five: The Investigator
The intense, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent and innovative, they can be preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with isolation, eccentricity, and nihilism. At their best, healthy Fives are visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time and able to see the world in an entirely new way.
Type Six: The Loyalist
The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hardworking, and responsible, but they can also be defensive, evasive, and highly anxious- running on stress while complaining about it. They are often cautious and indecisive but can also be reactive, defiant, and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their best, healthy Sixes are internally stable, self-confident, and self-reliant, courageously supporting the weak and powerless.
Type Seven: The Enthusiast
The busy, productive type. Sevens are versatile, optimistic, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can be overextended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but they can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with superficiality and impulsiveness. At their best, healthy Sevens focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming joyous, highly accomplished, and full of gratitude.
Type Eight: The Challenger
The powerful, dominating type. Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, and decisive, they can also be proud and domineering. Eights feel that they must control their environment, often becoming confrontational and intimidating. They typically have problems with allowing themselves to be close to others. At their best, healthy Eights are self-mastering- they use their strength to improve other’s lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and sometimes historically great.
Type Nine: The Peacemaker
The easygoing, self-effacing type. Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are good-natured, kindhearted, easygoing, and supportive but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to be without conflict but can tend to be complacent and minimize anything upsetting. They typically have problems with passivity and stubbornness. At their best, healthy Nines are indomitable and all-embracing; they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.
There they are, all 9 types. I hope you stumbled on yours, because the Enneagram is the key to unlocking our potential as parents more than anything else that I know of. If you’re as excited as I am about, click the following links for further exploration.
So what do you think-do any of these fit your personality? What do you think about the Enneagram? Let me know in the comments bellow :)