On a recent yoga retreat (which was magical and spiritual all in itself and is another post entirely), I was introduced or re-introduced to a personality typing system called the enneagram. It is based heavily on Jungian archetypes and I am shocked at how spot on the analyses are so far. The typing test is simple with two main questions, and if the response is not clear after those two questions each of the nine types has additional specific questions to help clarify your own type.
I will not get into too much detail at this point, except to say that learning my type and the types of others around me is simply likely changing my life. It is allowing me to confront some of my own negative patterns and to better understand where they are rooted, the childhood patterns behind them, the fears and basic desires underlying them. It is basically soul work from a personality point of view.
Learning the types of others around me and their own basic fears and desires is also teaching me how to love others better, to understand them when they are completely different from me. Granted, it is really something people have to be ready for if they want to do the internal work themselves. When I started to read about my own type I knew I needed to take it slow, so I bought a journal specifically for this topic and began making notes and writing myself questions as I went along.
I admit learning your type can sometimes make you feel validated im some of your behaviors. However, that is not really the point. The point is to understand them to know how to be the most healthy version of yourself, and that often requires change and facing the ugly in your own personality. Some people simply aren’t ready for that, and that is OK. I suppose everyone goes through periods of time when they are open to self work.
If you are interested, I highly recommend the “blue book”, as people refer to it, titled The Wisdom of the Enneagram. You can grab it off Amazon, and I do recommend a hard copy of this book versus and a Kindle or other electronic version, as it’s helpful to write in it. I have jotted notes throughout mine and highlighted items that I wanted to remember.
For what it is worth, and in the interest of vulnerability, which is a struggle for my type, I am a seven – the Enthusiast, or Epicure. It is easy to think the seven is a great type, because we are prone to joy, Optimism, and positivity. However, there are some real downfalls, as with any type, like escapism, not being present and feeling things fully, and in all honesty, some selfishness. That is hard for me to write or to say in anyway, because it’s honestly a bit embarrassing. But I suppose if I want to heal old wounds and become a truly healthy seven I need to be able to be vulnerable and open about the path.
I will likely follow up with some individual posts on specific topics as I learn more about my type and work with the enneagram. For now I consider this a tiny introduction to something I feel is very valuable, and I would love to hear from others if you have experience working with this….