People desire to be known. The idea of being understood and loved are traits that are rooted in our foundation—something that can’t be ignored. Cultivated to help people better understand themselves and others, the Enneagram is a way to see “[…] ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge” according to the Enneagram Institute.
On the Enneagram Institute’s website, it explains a few key factors that help people understand how their test works. It describes that there are nine different personality types and it’s normal to see yourself in each of the types.
But in the end, we all have a dominating type—a number that better describes us than any of the others. At a young age, we have what is called a “sense of self,” an idea of who we are but our identity is still being discovered according to the Enneagram Institute.
As previously stated, there are nine personality types:
- The Reformer
- The Helper
- The Achiever
- The Individualist
- The Investigator
- The Loyalist
- The Enthusiast
- The Challenger
- The Peacemaker
The test asks a series of questions and you can choose which answer best describes you. At the end, it will give you a personality type and a description of the potential habits or tendencies of that type plus the possible wings that you might have.
Their intent behind the numbers is not to put people in boxes or categories. The personality types are not definite descriptions of individuals; they are the tendencies and average traits of the people within that number. The point of the Enneagram is to better understand yourself and others, not to put yourself or others in a label of confinement.
“I love the Enneagram because I love people,” Emily Gehlbach, a sophomore psychology major says. “The Enneagram doesn’t categorize humanity into nine factions, but rather each of the nine numbers is a color. Each color has millions of hues. Ultimately, the Enneagram is a useful start and tool to self-knowledge and self-awareness. Those two ideals are huge, and in my eyes necessary for any individual really.”
I used to think this personality test was a fad and people were taking it to selfishly figure themselves out—we all know that one person. But realistically, the Enneagram is everything but that. It is a way to better understand your needs, thought processes, actions and emotions. It allows you to see how you and those around you cope under stress and how you grow best— things so many people go through life without figuring out.
When you keep in mind that the Enneagram was created to be a helpful tool instead of a label maker, it allows new doors to be opened in friendships, relationships and acquaintanceships.
Hannah Preston is a junior multimedia journalism major.