There Are Many Personality Type Tests...
but there are only three I routinely use in my practice. People generally love taking personality assessments and then talking about what type they are with their friends and family. Interestingly, the personality type test that can really transform our lives and relationships is one that first makes us cringe. We often do not like what we learn about ourselves when we discover our Enneagram type. Why?
- The Enneagram highlights our limiting emotional patterns and distorted assumptions about ourselves and the world.
- Each of the nine types reveals the personality habits that are both part of our the wiring we come in with and also that formed early in life as a way to protect ourselves emotionally from what felt overwhelming or threatening. Rather than telling us "this is the way you are and you are supposed to stay this way " the Enneagram test reveals "this is what you have become, you don't even know it, and it is limiting the fullness of your life."
- The Enneagram personality type test reveals the distorted coping mechanisms we all develop as part of our personality and how that skews and limits our life energy and what we pay attention to.
People Often Cringe On Discovering Their Type
We love personality type tests that applaud our way of being in the world. The Enneagram is more challenging than that. It is also a far more accurate and honest assessment of psycho-spiritual functioning. It is based on the assumption that to become a fully free and functioning human being we need to grow and change. Your personality type only points the way toward your path of conscious choice and maturity. The Enneagram system:
- Understands that we are far more than our personality habits.
- Understands that discerning your type requires a bit more self-reflection than your average magazine personality type test.
- It does not let you use your personality type as an excuse (“That’s the way I am.”) It expects that once you have identified your type you will then work consciously to correct the imbalances in behavior and emotional responses that are always present in any personality. The enneagram also illuminates the gifts of each type when expressed at its highest functioning.
The Book That Makes It Easier
I was happy to discover a book that makes the Enneagram personality type assessment much easier for my clients: Essential Enneagram: The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide. I like the Essential Enneagram because in just 110 pages:
- It makes recognizing your type easier than books I have owned in the past.
- It has a simple way to make sure you are not misdiagnosing yourself.
How Can Knowing Your Type Transform Your Life?
Once you identify your type in the Essential Enneagram there is a two page spread for each type that clearly outlines:
o The important truth your type has lost sight of
o The distorted belief of your type
o The compensating life strategy you developed
o What your communication style is
o What your strengths are
o What you prefer to put your attention on
o What causes your type stress
o What makes your type angry and defensive
o What your type avoids
o What the healing goal is for your type
o How you can further your personal development
o What hinders your personal development
o How the significant people in your life can best support you as you reclaim balance and freedom in your life
- Once you know the type of a significant other in your life, you can look it up so you will know how to best support them (which may differ quite a bit from what you have assumed!)
- The book then offers three pages of reflective awareness challenges and actions that will help correct the imbalances of your personality type.
The Enneagram personality type test is not for those who are simply seeking interesting cocktail party material (‘what’s your sign?”) It is a powerful psycho-spiritual tool for those seeking to foster truly positive change in their lives and relationships. I have seen it create transformation many times in the lives of my clients. It has provided valuable insight in my own life and into the dynamics of my 38+ year marriage!
You are more than you think you are, and something in you knows it. Jean Houston
Want to Explore Further?
I was recently privileged to meet Robin Cameron, one of the founding members of the Arizona Enneagram Association. She is available to offer long distance support and insight for your journey into the Enneagram. (You can reach Robin at: 928 282 4470)