We love using the Enneagram framework. It’s such a great tool to start your path of self-awareness and learning about interacting with the world around you. However, it does cover a lot of behaviors and their variations, like wings, instinct centers, and more. So, it doesn’t make sense to start going through all the information without knowing what you’re getting at the end of it. So to help you out, here are 4 life lessons we’ve learned through Enneagram.
1. If you want to succeed, you need to know yourself
It’s not uncommon for people to feel lost in life. You can have everything and still feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. This phenomenon is exacerbated with the unending wealth of information on the internet. We’re constantly being told that we can be whatever we want, as long as we work hard and hustle.
But what do we want?
Knowing yourself is the first step to answering that question. The society will tell you a gazillion different answers. Boatloads of cash, a great career, a house, and a car; you name it. But these might not necessarily be the things that you actually want deep down in your heart. Enneagram helps you understand what who you are in the deepest layer of your being. You learn about your desires and fears, your motivation and behaviors, as well as your instincts and nature. Understanding what makes you “you” is step one of living your true life.
Learning Enneagram might also keep your feet on the ground. When you’re grounded by the knowledge of who you are, you’re more likely to persist and follow through to your goals. On the contrary, if you’re just flitting about in new ideas, you’ll lose interest quickly or become demotivated when it doesn’t fall through.
2. Forming meaningful relationships with other people requires a certain degree of self-awareness
“You’re always doing this!”
“No, I don’t! You always exaggerate!”
Does that sound familiar?
When you don’t understand your own motives, it’s easy to get carried away at the moment and simply react to the situation. Social situations are hard enough as is. But with a little more self-awareness of why you do certain things, you can learn to avoid and deal with conflict.
The Enneagram system is basically a guidebook to help you start understanding what makes you tick in social situations as well as the communication style that works for you. It allows you to look deeply within yourself and to create a healthier relationship with yourself and your friends or partners. By learning Enneagram, you can lean into the healthier aspects of your Type and subsequently form less reactive relationships with other people that are meaningful and fulfilling.
When you inevitably start typing other people, it helps you see from their point of view. Knowing why people act in certain situations help you empathize and formulate a response that’s more suited for their Type. Although you could easily pigeonhole your friends into a certain Type, knowing where to start understanding them is the beginning to mutual understanding. It allows you to practice compassion and objectivity since you’ll start taking things less personally. After all, you’re allowed to have your Type quirks, why shouldn’t they?
3. Give yourself all the time you need
The beauty of Enneagram is its acknowledgment of growth and disintegration. Under stressful situations, you’ll inevitably fall back on less healthy behaviors to cope with the distress you’re feeling.
And that’s okay.
Everybody progresses at a different pace, especially when you’re on a path to self-discovery. Sometimes it’s easy, but for most people, it takes a long time to blossom into your true self. Unhealthy behaviors stem from forcing ourselves too hard and pushing ourselves beyond what we’re able to deal with.
Enneagram helps you notice your unhealthy regression and gives you the alarm bells you need to take a step back and reflect. The more you notice your behaviors – healthy or otherwise – the more you’re able to look at things objectively. When you can truly look at your behaviors without taking things personally, you’ll transcend the bounds of your insecurities and truly blossom into who you can become.
4. You are enough
Comparison has been the ultimate weapon parents use to push you to become better. And why not? It helps you measure yourself against other people so you know what to do and where to go.
On the flip side, it creates a lot of insecurities about where you are now, mentally and physically. When you look at people whom you perceived as better, it’s easy to sink into the feeling of not being enough. After all, if they are better off than you are, they must be doing something you’re not. That must mean that you’re not doing enough, right?
But you are.
Have you ever felt like you need to “fake it to make it”? Have you ever felt like you had to pretend to be something you’re not so that you achieve what you want? Many of us had felt like we needed to be more social to be a great manager. Or that we have to more organized to be successful. Except, everything that you are in your Type is what you need to include in your arsenal to be the best version you can be.
Instead of wishing to be someone else or something you’re not, Enneagram teaches us to leverage the strength that we have to achieve our goals. We learn to clearly identify what our pitfalls are so we can be aware of them and improve ourselves. It’s not telling you to be a person out of your Type. On the contrary, it teaches us to love ourselves and to find the weapons we need to kick ass in this game of life.
Learning the Enneagram framework and adapting it to your life is a lifelong learning process. It doesn’t teach you to be perfect; but rather, teaches you to find the balance between your goals and who you are as a person.
What was your journey like with Enneagram? Tell us in the comments below.