The Enneagram. I’ve been doing a lot of research on this topic lately. When I say a lot of research, I mean I took a deep dive, and still have only scratched the surface!
It seems to be the latest topic of discussions and posts – what type are you, what’s your wing, what actually IS the Enneagram? I first heard about this a few years ago and just brushed it off as the latest personality test fad that I didn’t need to spend time on. I wish I had listened then! The Enneagram goes beyond just how you interact with others (the external) like I feel a Myers-Briggs test does, but rather goes deeper into the drivers of why you do what you do (internal).
Here’s a short summary from the book website that I’m currently reading “The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile:
“The Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively… the wisdom of the Enneagram can help take you further along into who you really are―leading you into places of spiritual discovery you would never have found on your own, and paving the way to the wiser, more compassionate person you want to become.
By challenging us to bravely explore who we really are, the Enneagram helps us recognize and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior and to become our most authentic selves.”
As I’ve said in my previous blog, #Goals, I really am working towards being the most healthy Kristen mentally/emotionally, and part of that journey has been the Enneagram. This past fall it came back up as a topic of discussion with our Retreat Team. I decided to take the test, and between the results, a few mentions in my favorite podcast, a few texts with friends already knowledgeable, and finding some new podcasts (like this one, and this one), that’s all it took – I was hooked! You want to know why? I finally felt like I wasn’t a crazy person! Maybe I really am crazy, hence the singleness, but I legit have had moments of questioning my own sanity.
Here’s why – I’m a Type 1: The Perfectionist / The Moral Perfectionist. Here are a few points from Your Enneagram Coach’s site (free assessment) for a summary of a Type 1:
“Ones want to be accurate, thorough, fair, and objective. More importantly, they want to be respectable, to do what is right, and to be appropriate. They see themselves as rational, orderly, and principled. They are particularly serious people who are constantly striving to improve themselves, others, and the world.
Type Ones have an extremely strong and loud ‘inner critic’ that is relentlessly and constantly telling them what they did wrong and how to improve. This inner critic never lets up and is rarely encouraging.
At times, they can be judgmental and critical of others, telling them what they think is right… They feel that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. As a result, they are only satisfied when something matches their ideal.
Life for them is about adhering to their inner critic’s standards above all else. They do desire to be able to have more fun, but this is hard for them to do unless they are on vacation. When they are not on vacation, their inner critic will show them all the things they should be doing instead of having fun. Privately, they will criticize themselves for their shortcomings far more than they will ever criticize anyone else. It is helpful if others recognize how painful it is to live with their inner critic. Because they can be so hard on themselves.”
You guys – this is me. To. A. T.
Discovering my Type and reading up on what a healthy and unhealthy Type 1 looks like, I’ve been able to navigate better my thought life, emotions, and reactions to others. This looks like taming my “inner critic”, realizing that perfection is something that no one (including myself) can attain, and recognize when my expectations of others are unrealistic.
I think my biggest gain in this discovery, is the relationship between my type and my faith, or how I view aspects of faith/God. One very small example – in the song “One” (which is based on the types) by Sleeping At Last, there’s a line that says “grace requires nothing of me”. To remember that I’m going to fall short of Christ’s perfection and that God’s grace, love, and salvation I cannot earn through works or by doing the right thing.
“8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
It’s a gift! A FREE gift! I’m realizing more and more how I need to find rest in that. To remember that there is not a work of my own hands that I can do that saves me, but that my works should be an overflowing of a heart of thankfulness. Always a good reminder!!
SO! What type are you!? I’m really curious about others types, and it’s also a great way for me to know how best to communicate/be a friend to you! Next time you see me, share it!