Enneagram Meaning And Definition
The Enneagram, a system for personality typing, describes patterns in people’s perceptions of the world and their ability to manage their emotions.
It can tell whether a person has a dominant type of personality or whether someone is the peacemaker type, the self-controlled, or a self-confident one.
The Enneagram lists nine types of personality. Each type is mapped on a nine-pointed diagram that helps to show how they relate to each other.
The Enneagram’s name comes from Greek origin: Ennea means nine in Greek, and Gramma means something that can be drawn or written.
Take the free Enneagram Test here to find your type.
What Does The Enneagram Tell Us?
The Enneagram identifies nine personality types. Each type is defined by a core belief about the world and its workings. This core belief is what drives your deepest motives and fears. It shapes your worldview and how you see the world around you.
According to Enneagram theorists, our temperament, other pre natal factors, early childhood environment, and other factors all play a part in determining our type.
Although they are not always wrong, core beliefs can limit and blind people.
Understanding how our Enneagram type affects our perceptions and shapes our perspectives can help us broaden our outlook and better approach situations.
Knowing the Enneagram type of a person helps us understand why they behave the way they do.
Each Enneagram type has a set of core beliefs that will motivate them to take specific actions and guide them in making decisions. Therefore, if we can understand a person’s Enneagram type, many behaviors can be explained even if it seems confusing or contradictory.
The Enneagram can also help us understand a person’s stress reactions. The Enneagram describes how each Enneatype reacts to stress and supports situations.
This provides opportunities for personal growth and a foundation for understanding others.
How To Understand The Enneagram Symbol
The Enneagram is based on a nine-pointed geometric symbol, composed of an outer circle on which nine points (represent personalities) are evenly spaced and numbered clockwise.
Another triangle connects points 9, 3, and 6, and an irregular hexagon connects the other points.
The circle symbolizes the wholeness and unity in human life, while the other shapes indicate how it is divided.
The wings are the type of personality on either side of each core type. Wings are thought to be related personality styles that we can change into for us to discover new aspects of ourselves.
In addition to a person’s basic type, many people identify strongly with the description of one or two of their wings. Understanding the concept of Enneagram’s wings can help one to understand themselves better.
Every basic type of the Enneagram has two lines connecting it to two other types.
Example: Type 1 connects to Type 7 and Type 4.
The first line refers to the type that the person has lost or suppressed in childhood. These characteristics must be reintegrated to allow the person to grow.
The second line refers to the type that the person might become once they reach a higher level of development.
These connecting lines illustrate how each primary personality type has indispensable strengths and darker sides that pose challenges.
These lines transform the Enneagram model from descriptive to dynamic and show how personality can change according to different circumstances.
How The Enneagram Works
As people grow into adulthood, their fears and motives will be dominated by nine Enneagram personality types.
While biological factors are the most critical influencers of your basic type, environmental influences like family dynamics or parent relationships can also impact it.
Each type of Enneagram is designated using a number system. Because it is a horizontal growth system, one number does not necessarily mean another is better.
Although individuals may be able to relate to multiple types, the consensus is that Enneagram personalities do not change. Therefore, they are more compatible with different traits depending upon their health.
Each type has its own motivations and fears, which largely influence their actions and decisions. Learn more about the 9 Enneagram types here (Enneagram Types page).
Origin And History Of Enneagram
Although we don’t know where the Enneagram originated, we know it has a varied history.
Some believe the Enneagram theory has ancient roots in Babylon, while others think it is rooted in classical Greek philosophy, dating back to around 2,500 years.
It has been suggested that the Jewish Kabbalah and Christian mysticism are responsible for the model as well as Sufism, a mystical type of Islam.
It has been suggested that Dante had a good understanding of the Enneagram as the characters in The Divine Comedy are largely similar to those types!
We do know that contemporary authors created the Enneagram system of today.
The model was developed by Georg Ivanovich Gurdjieff, a spiritual teacher and mystic. It arrived in America in the 1960s.
Claudio Naranjo and Oscar Ichazo are two other notable Enneagram teachers from the 20th century.
Naranjo, a Chilean psychiatrist who discovered the Enneagram from Ichazo’s work, is best known for introducing the Enneagram to modern psychology.
Later, the system was introduced to many religious and spiritual groups throughout the United States.
Today’s researchers tend to concentrate on the psychological side of Enneagram rather than the religious, drawing comparisons with other personality models such as the Myers–Briggs system.
The Enneagram: Applications
The concept of the nine Enneagram types can be used to improve your self-knowledge and personality.
It is a powerful tool that helps to better understand your core motivations. You can then apply this knowledge in all areas of your life, including conflict resolution and leadership.
Because it can identify opportunities for growth for each type of person, it is used extensively in areas like counseling, psychotherapy, and business development.
This system inspired many Enneagram personality tests and books on various topics, including personal growth and spiritual development, relationships, and career and self-development.