The friend I have found in the Enneagram

Like Confucius, Michelle Obama and Meryl Streep, I am a “type 1.”

More specifi cally, a type 1w2. According to my Enneagram type, I am “The Advocate,” meaning I fall under the same umbrella as the perfectionists, principled and purposeful.

An Enneagram type is fi gured by an Enneagram test, a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. I discovered the Enneagram when I was a freshman. Having just started college, everything was so unfamiliar – and shockingly, myself included. I knew my major (English and secondary education), but I had not the faintest idea who I was and how I would relate to this new world I was living in.

The Enneagram Test consists of 14 pages of statements. Examples of these statements include “success, prestige and recognition really matter to me” and “I plan the next adventure before the current one is finished.” You are then directed to grade those statements yes, partly or no depending on if you feel that statement is true for you or not. Based on your answers, the test assigns you one of the nine personality types.

Every type has its wings: Usually one will have characteristics of one of the types that lie adjacent to one’s own that are more prominent, according to Eclectic Energies website.

Not only does the Enneagram test assign a personality type, it provides a great deal of information on the different types, prompting for self-actualization and growth. Excellent books on the Enneagram types are “Understanding the Enneagram: The Practical Guide to Personality Types” and “Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery” by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson.

For example, as a type 1w2, I am well-organized, orderly, and fastidious to a fault; I try to maintain high standards but can easily fall into the trap of being critical and perfectionistic. While my type 2 wing softens my tendency to be overly harsh, it often makes me more passionate.

The Enneagram also explains what I look like at my best (humane, inspiring and hopeful), and at my worst (nervous, cruel and depressed). Such insights help me regulate my levels of development, and this understanding has been vital to me during college. It explains so much – my irrational fear after taking an exam, my tendency to overcommit and my inability to accept anything less than my best.

The Enneagram offers helpful recommendations to someone, like me, who wrestles with their inner critic. One of which, according to the Enneagram, asserts that I would be well advised to keep a journal (and I do) so I can cope with all the messy emotions that make me human. It is also benefi cial for me to frequently check un-checked anger, as I have a habit of repressing even the slightest offense, by being more conscientious.

While I still feel the pressure to do good and be good all the time, I have learned to accept myself as I am, here and now.

I strongly encourage you to take the Enneagram test and utilize the resources on your own journey of introspection and improvement. Take a Enneagram test at