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celebrating the enneagram

English: This is a colorful gradient version o...

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It’s obvious to anyone who has been in the presence of a very young child—or even a baby—that we each come into the world predisposed to respond to it in our own way. Our basic temperament is part of us from the very beginning and usually doesn’t change significantly as we grow older.

The fact that we have such different temperaments has led to many systems of classifying people according to personalities. I’ve studied and used several of these systems, but the one that has held up over my 20 years of experience with it is the enneagram.

The enneagram is an apparently simple yet rich and complex system that reveals our strengths and weaknesses, our deeper-level motivations, and most importantly, the compulsions that often rule our lives. We move through this world under the impression we’re making authentic choices, but most of the time we’re just blindly following our compulsions, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome. We’re living our lives on autopilot; asleep at the wheel.

The nine points on the diagram represent nine core personality types, each of which has a unique perspective and approach to life. The theory behind the Enneagram is that we each polarize at one of the nine points. We then overdevelop the characteristics associated with that point, while leaving the characteristics associated with the other points undeveloped. So each point also represents a particular type of imbalance. Our core personality type doesn’t change over the course of a lifetime, but as we become aware of our imbalances, we gain the ability to moderate them. We are no longer ruled by them.

I’ve learned a great deal about myself and about other people as a result of studying the enneagram. It has helped me take myself and my foibles less seriously and to stop expecting other people to see things the same way I do. And that’s definitely cause for celebration!

There are at least 5 reasons to learn about the enneagram. You can read about them here.

This post is part of April’s 30 Days of Celebration. To read more, click on the Celebration category link.

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