Why Explore the Enneagram?

Click here for 5 reasons.

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11 responses to “Why Explore the Enneagram?

  1. Great post…as usual. BUT have trouble with point number 1. Without some sort of cautionary or limiting factor, it appears to give murderers, thieves, rapists a free ride. I know, I know…first three words are a limiting factor, but come on…

    • Maybe I’m crazy, but it seems to me that murderers, thieves, and rapists aren’t dealing with debilitating guilt over their crimes. I would further venture that they need anyone’s permission to let themselves off the hook. The work involved in self-understanding that is required before the Enneagram really frees you to let yourself off the hook would seem to be more than a murderer would be willing to do. I mean, I realize you don’t want people having an attitude that I can do whatever I want because they can always find a way to let themselves off the hook. But in general, I think it’s people who are struggling with day to day things, who need to give themselves credit for what they do and not beat themselves up for the shortcomings that come along.

  2. Don, I appreciate your concern and your comment. I know you think that point is too permissive, but I think many of the people who are likely to come in contact with the Enneagram have already been “working on themselves” and maybe spinning their wheels trying to understand what caused them to be the way they are or do the things they do. I know I have. If we can accept that something about ourselves is just “what’s so” (est terminology), we can stop fighting it–which paradoxically opens a window for change. Thank you!

  3. I take your point, but I am a newcomer to Enneagram (so new, I almost put “Enneagrams”) and read your posts as an outsider. Ergo, my reactions are those of an outsider, not someone familiar with the program (philosophy?). While I feel I can personally benefit from your first reason why the Enneagram should be important to me, there are many out there who will take it as excuse for despicable behavior. How many such people read blogs having to do with Enneagrams? I don’t know.

  4. Our disagreement is a great illustration of type bias–on both sides. In and of itself, the concept of letting oneself, or others, off the hook is not easy for 1s to swallow, especially without any caveats. Whereas as an 8w7, if I had read the paragraph under point one somewhere else, I’d be curious, but my automatic response would be, “Oh yeah? I’ll be the judge of that.”

    From my perspective, it’s a pretty big leap from letting oneself off the hook to abdicating all personal responsibility, and I don’t believe most reasonable, rational people are going to make that jump. I can’t account for the unreasonable, irrational ones or the serial criminals. (And I’m a little concerned about your interest in them….) Someone who has committed despicable acts has already ignored some much more significant constraints–legal, social, and/or moral. If such a person is looking for an excuse for that behavior, why wouldn’t he or she simply ignore any caveat I might insert into my blog post?

    • haha! But but but . . . maybe your caveat could be the turning point in the life of a hardened criminal. Of course, I’m kidding. And I think the point about the difference between letting yourself off the hook for a tendency or habit that is part of your personality and abdicating personal responsibility is a good one. I didn’t for one minute, for example, think that because I can let myself off the hook, I am now free to do whatever I please, regardless of the consequences.

  5. I LOVE this post! This concise list of reasons to at least explore the Enneagram totally resonated with me. I could go point by point, and so I shall.
    YOU’LL BE ABLE TO LET YOURSELF OFF THE HOOK. Oh my gosh! This is great! I can’t count the times I’ve ended up chastising myself for things that aren’t that important, but I focus on my shortcomings instead of trying to understand what is true about the facts. I’ll get after myself if I have work to do and I spend time doing something frivolous, even though I KNOW that it’s healthy to take a break. When I catch myself doing being too hard on myself, I try to remember to say to myself, “Oh, that’s just my six showing.” It helps me be a lot more considerate of myself and allows me to celebrate what I DO get done instead of focusing on what I haven’t done.

  6. 2. OTHER PEOPLE WILL MAKE YOU LESS CRAZY. For me, this follows up on being kinder and more considerate to myself. Once I recognize (or try to guess) what someone else’s type is, I don’t see their behavior as a person attempt on their part to drive me crazy. I’ve also noticed that I find myself asking, “How would that person handle a situation that I am dealing with?” It helps me to see options for my own thinking and doing from the perspectives of others. Of course, that’s NOT to say that I don’t still get amazing irritated with people. 😉

    3. YOU CAN STOP BANGING YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE WALL. For me, a 6w7 wing, this one just pairs beautifully with #1. I can let myself off the hook AND stop banging my head against the wall! How freeing! Because the reality is my compulsion for doing stuff gets me into the same dilemma every damn time I try it. I over commit to projects, particularly at work. So I feel buried by all the to-do lists and details. Every time I start a new job, I tell myself, “This time it will be different.” I don’t think I need to tell you how that’s worked out. 😉

  7. Hopefully, I’m not driving anyone crazy yet, but I still have points 4 and 5 to do, and since I said I would do them, well, damn it, that’s the way it is!
    4. IT’LL MAKE YOU SMARTER, IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY AND YOUR MOOD, AND KEEP YOUR BRAIN HEALTHY. Well, this just plain makes sense! Who doesn’t want to keep their mental functioning in top form? I’ve noticed that “playing” around with the Enneagram in terms of self-understanding actually gets me excited thinking about ideas and connections. I feel energized. I felt that sense of mental stimulation instantly when I read this post on the five reasons. I knew instantly on reading it that I had to engage with it more completely than a simple, “Nice post.” Rather, it turns out to be an AMAZING post that has me writing these comments at 12:30 in the morning. 🙂
    5. IT HAS WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR. I love that you can use the Enneagram to explore ANY aspect of personal exploration. How does being a 6w7 wing affect how I . . . .? The possibilities are endless: organizing projects; relationship to clutter; the sense of having to give myself permission to do things I enjoy. The list could go on, but I will fight the compulsion. 🙂

  8. Myriad234, I love your enthusiasm and I’m so glad the post resonated for you as much as it did. It inspired me to do a point-by-point review for myself.

    #1: I’ve been working on letting myself off the hook for my intensity and trying to tap into it only when it’s appropriate or really useful. It doesn’t have to be fully engaged a hundred percent of the time. #2: There are so many stories I could share on this one that probably deserve posts of their own. Given my type’s compulsion to want to whip everything and everyone into shape, this may be the most important point for me. #3: I’ve nearly stopped banging my head against the wall over my automatic anger response. I love this quote from Peter O’Hanrahan, an Enneagram teacher and fellow 8w7: “Today I get feedback from people that I don’t seem angry enough to be an Eight, which of course makes me mad at them.” #4: I love learning new things and discovering how different systems interface with and map onto each other. When I’m actively engaged in doing that (exploring the Enneagram, e.g.), I feel better, think more clearly, and have more energy. #5: I’ve used the Enneagram in every one of these areas. The fact that it can be approached on different levels and has so many applications seems remarkable to me.

    Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I really appreciate it.

  9. You’re welcome! And I found the quote from Peter O’Hanrahan quite humorous. 🙂

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