“If you could tell your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be?”
This was the question posed to me this morning during an ice breaker. My immediate answer?
I wish I would have known my Enneagram number.
For the past couple years or so, I’ve been hearing about the Enneagram. For those that don’t know, the Enneagram is a personality typing system that gives 9 different personality profiles, each of them are a different number, 1-9. People I trust and respect were talking about the Enneagram and the subsequent self-realization they had as a result of finding out their number, but I put it off. For months. The reason I didn’t take the ten-minute test? I was afraid of what I’d find out.
But one day, I finally took the test. I found out I’m a 7 on the Enneagram. Here’s a brief description of a 7:
Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.
Basic Fear: Of being deprived and in pain
Basic Desire: To be satisfied and content—to have their needs fulfilled
Enneagram Seven with a Six-Wing: “The Entertainer”
Enneagram Seven with an Eight-Wing: “The Realist”
Key Motivations: Want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain.
If you know me at all personally, this is pretty much spot-on. Creepily spot on.
You may be thinking, “how is this different than the million other personality tests I’ve taken?” What is different about the Enneagram is that it doesn’t just look at what we do as people, it looks at WHY we do it. It examines the motivation behind how you operate.
A lot of the things I learned about myself in Enneagram research was really just putting a name on things I had always done, but never really thought much about.
Knowing my number has brought so much healing because for years I was deemed “too much.” If you are an outspoken, extroverted female, you’ve probably been told this plenty of times too. So I tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to “tone down” who I was depending on the group I was with. What I always viewed as broken within me was really just who God made me to be.
Lack of self-awareness is a pretty big issue in life. It’s rampant in our society, hence people go on American Idol that can’t sing a tune. If you want to grow, be in healthy relationships, and begin to accept yourself…it’s essential. Within the Church self-awareness stops at “you’re a sinner” all too often. There has to be more to it. God didn’t make us all different so we could try to be the same. The Lord gives every person different gifts, different personalities; we need to live into those and not be ashamed of who we are.
If you’ve made it this far, here are some resources if you want to dive into the Enneagram world. I highly recommend it, it’s kind of like having a backstage pass to people.
Enneagram Test (There’s a ton out there, but this one is free): https://www.exploreyourtype.com/details
Podcast: Typology with Ian Morgan Cron https://www.typologypodcast.com
***He interviews different number types. I truly thought to myself, I didn’t know anyone else thought these weird thoughts…turns out people do. For instance, a lot of 7’s give people nicknames.
Books(There are a LOT of books out there, but I’ve read these two):
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron
The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz
As an FYI, once you know your type, you’re going to want to know all the people in your life’s number. Buckle up, it’s a journey.