“Losing” Your Enneagram Type (Part 1 of 3)
Personality Typology is fun (for the most part)- they give us in-depth information on how we process information, what our traits are, and the reason why we do things the way we do. But Enneagram, in particular, is a lot more complex. Not only does it give us clarity on our ego structure and worldview (the reason why we do things the way we do), but it’s also a tool for growth and personal development. It sheds light on our coping mechanisms and false narratives that we tell ourselves. It makes us realise that as human beings, we are highly adaptable and we’re able to tap into the strengths of other types and allows us to become the person we’re meant to be.
You might be thinking, how do we do this? Well, the answer is easier said than done. After all, changing one’s behaviour and mindset is the most challenging thing we can ever do as a human. There’s a lot of reason why a sustained change is tremendously difficult. At the same time, there’s a lot of benefits when we actively work on to change, you can read about it here.
The good news is that you can use Enneagram as a map for your self-growth journey and the whole aim is to “loose” or “lose” your type – reduce the influence of your core type’s fixation over your life.
So how do we use our knowledge of the Enneagram to become our best selves? Here’s what we can do:
- Focus on your non-dominant wing.
- Develop or exercise the traits of the 2 Types connected to your Core Type.
Let’s explore the first point. Below, I discuss how we can shift our focus in using our non-dominant wing:
- If you have a 9 Wing
A Type 1 with a 9 wing combines the perfectionism of Type 1 and the withdrawal from stress or conflict of Type 9. In times of stress, they may resort to over-controlling their emotions by repressing them but will resort to suspicion, blaming, and passive-aggressive behaviour. The less dominant wing 2 reminds them that they should put themselves in others’ shoes more often. The world in itself is broken and hurting- people aren’t always going to follow the rules and what’s right. That all of us humans and at some point have fallen short on some areas of our life. Being angry that people don’t measure up isn’t always the best way to deal with people, and sometimes you need to see where their difficulties are, meet them at their level and find ways to help them achieve breakthrough.
- If you have a 2 Wing
A Type 1 with a 2 wing combines the practicality of Type 1 and the external focus of Type 2. In times of stress, there’d be a tremendous conflict between Type 1’s perfectionism and Type 2’s pride of being kind and generous. They may spiral into hopelessness and may become violent due to repressed anger. When you lean towards your non-dominant wing 9, you’ll be more open to differing views and put in effort to understand others perspectives. Think about letting go and not focus too much on what’s right and wrong. And consider that a wise person knows how to pick their battles, and maybe the best way to deal with something is to let nature takes it course.
- If you have a 1 Wing
A Type 2 with a 1 wing are warm and generous combined with moral obligation of Type 1. According to Riso & Hudson, “They are often Good Samaritans, willing to take on thankless and unglamorous tasks that others generally avoid.” In times of stress, they would insist on helping others in the way that they think is the “right” or best way to help the person. They may find it harder to recognise their own needs and feelings and may further believe that having a personal desire is wrong and selfish. If they’re able to tap into the other wing that is 3, it allows them to focus on the tasks, goals, to-do list and KPI’s they have at hand. What they do for others might not be appreciated but they definitely need to learn to appreciate themselves for practicing self-love. The wing 3 reminds them that it is a disservice to neglect yourself (especially task assigned to you at work) in order to take care of others.
- If you have a 3 Wing
A Type 2 with a 3 wing being solidly in the Heart Triad, is very charismatic, chatty, versatile and more social than Type 2w1. They are generous in offering all their good qualities and advice to others. In times of stress, they might have a difficult time to see past their overwhelming feelings. They can become arrogant, overbearing and are prone to bursts of anger. If they tap into their non-dominant wing 1, they’d be able to set boundaries on how to differentiate what is the absolute right from what’s nice. Sometimes, it’s about asking themselves, if the nice thing they wanted to do (for others) is the absolute right thing to do. And instead of helping blindly, you could set some boundaries, conditions and “pre-requisites” before deciding whether to help or not.
- If you have a 2 Wing
A Type 3 with a 2 wing have a gift of making others feel special and are very influential by inspiring people to go after success and achieve what they want in life. In times of stress, they can be extremely competitive and may compare their success to others. There’s also a tendency to be “human doings”, to do tasks faster, tasks to be loved and admired. If they’re able to use the strengths of their 4 wing, they’ll go deep within themselves to feel and think about what matters to them – whether checking off of to-do lists and accomplishments alone can truly make them happy and feel loved. Ultimately, the 4 wing reminds them that they are truly unique as an individual and that they are deserving of love for who they are and not what they do.
- If you have a 4 Wing
A Type 3 with a 4 wing have a mastered skill set and a flair of creativity that allows them to accomplish their goals. They’re a little bit more reserved and introspective compared to the 3w2. When struggling, they tend to keep it within themselves, can be moody and cut off their emotions, burying themselves to work. The non-dominant 2 wing will encourage them to look outward, be more thoughtful and care more about people, and to use their talents and abilities to uplift and inspire others.
Next week, I’ll discuss Types’ 4, 5 and 6 on how they could use the traits of their non-dominant wing to bring up their self-mastery level.
Curious about your Enneagram type? Here’s a quick overview of the 9 Types. I know reading through these descriptions can be confusing. So save yourself from second-guessing and figure out your type with the help of our online test.