Enneagram Symbol

Why Learn About Your Enneagram Type

Why learn about your Enneagram type? What’s the point? How can it help you?

Like this: it helps you identify your issues. It helps you call yourself on your shit.

There’s certainly value in identifying and charting out the details of your personality type, as is frequently done with Myers-Briggs and other systems (including the Enneagram). I’m like this, this and this. I’m certainly not like that. I work best at a job that lets me ______, but doesn’t make me  ______.

It’s also helpful to have your personality validated as a legitimate way for a person to be, especially if your set of inclinations and abilities isn’t the one your culture holds up as That To Which Everyone Should Aspire.

But your personality isn’t who you really are. It’s a protective shell. It’s a survival strategy, developed early in life, to get your needs met. And up to a certain point, it works.

In fact, it works so well, we come to identify with it. We describe ourselves in terms of our personality: “I’m strong and assertive – don’t mess with me!” “I’m kind and helpful – I can always tell what others need before they do!” “I’m sensitive and unique – no one understands me!”

But there’s an essential “you” beneath these characteristics.

And as time goes on, the personlity’s attempts to protect us stop helping. We unconsciously expect every situation and relationship to conform to our personality’s special strategy. We automatically enact that strategy, even when it isn’t appropriate. This prevents us from participating in the world as it actually is.

So the ultimate goal of learning about your personality type is to transcend its trappings. It’s to deal with your shadows. “All Enneagram work is a shadow work,” as teacher and writer Russ Hudson has said.

Step one is understanding the many facets of your personality type.

Step two is identifying your shadow issues and blind spots.

Step three is catching yourself in the act as these issues manifest in your day to day life.

Step four is developing and implementing practices to help you take steps toward living as your authentic Self, increasingly able to experience the simple, always available miracle of being alive, right now.

2 thoughts on “Why Learn About Your Enneagram Type

  1. Leah Adams

    Shadows can be elusive and tricky. This would be a great reason to seek the assistance of a coach. I sound like a bot, but I’m not. We’re caught up in our layers, invested in them and working to maintain them. Changing the way we work forces us to be vulnerable, a difficult state to maintain without support.

  2. Lindsay

    Thanks Leah. Shadows are tricky indeed. It’s an interesting term ‘shadow’. When it comes to our personalty, our shadow is something we don’t see about ourself right away. But really, we can see our actual shadow. It’s more about what’s hiding in the shadows, than the shadow itself. The Enneagram helps us shine a light in those dark places and see what’s there. What we see can be difficult but we’re always better for it. A coach or counsellor is definitely an asset for some people in this process whether they work with the Enneagram or not.


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