Now That I Know My Enneagram Type, What Do I Do?
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
converting vice to virtue on the path of personal transformation
Knowing your enneagram type makes your blind spots visible and your unconscious strategies conscious. This gives you the power to make informed choices in how you want to respond, rather than react, to life. Many theorists have juxtaposed the ideas of a True Self versus a false self, our Essence versus our persona, and a hero/heroine versus a villain aspect to our psyches. When you become aware of the self-cherishing motives you have for your behavior, this villain or shadow self is revealed and loses its power over you. In the language of Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, you begin the process of individuation (seeing the different parts of yourself that drive you) and so can integrate these unconscious processes into your awareness.
Now that you know your automatic thought processes (the mental fixation of your type), your habitual behavior (your strategy for coping), and your primary disordered need, how do you use this knowledge to grow into the highest version of yourself?
Reality unfolds in the present moment; and when we experience resistance in the form of the mental fixation, habitual behavior, and disordered need of our type, then we require the intervention of our core virtue for transformation to take place. The resistance of each type is transcended when the virtue of the type emerges. The virtue can emerge through subtraction or addition. Subtraction is through the path of consciously letting go of the mental fixation and unhealthy strategy of the type so that the virtue can arise.
Here’s how it works by addition:
From Self-Forgetting to Self-Remembering: Types 1, 9, & 8 (The Fixers)
Type 1 forgets their personal truth in deference to their inner rulebook—the should’s and ought’s that they have internalized. If you identify with type 1, your task in each experience is to remember the truth of your heart by practicing serenity.
Reality in the present + Resistance (resentment, anger, desire to be acknowledged, the need to be correct, constricted behavior, the need for control) + Serenity/Self-Remembering = Transformation
Type 9 forgets what is true for them in deference to what is true for others. If you identify with type 9, your task in each experience is to remember the truth of your heart by practicing loving, decisive action.
Reality in the present + Resistance (ruminating, numbing, avoiding, inertia, the need for control) + Decisive Action/Self-Remembering = Transformation
Type 8 forgets their softer side in deference to presenting a tough exterior. If you identify with type 8, your task in each experience is to remember the truth of your heart by practicing mercy.
Reality in the present + Resistance (desire for vengeance, lust for intensity, the need to be strong, impulsive behavior, the need for control) + Mercy/Self-Remembering = Transformation
From Self-Consciousness to Self-Awareness: Types 2, 3, & 4 (The People Pleasers)
Type 2 is self-conscious of how their efforts to connect with and help others are being received. If you identify with type 2, your task in each experience is to become aware of your own needs by practicing humility.
Reality in the present + Resistance (self-flattery, desire to be appreciated, sense of entitlement, pride, the need to be needed, desire for approval and validation) + Humility/Self-Awareness = Transformation
Type 3 is self-conscious of the impression they are making on others. If you identify with type 3, your task in each experience is to become aware of your personal truth by practicing authenticity.
Reality in the present + Resistance (vanity, deceitful presentation, the need to succeed, desire for approval and validation) + Authenticity/Self-Awareness = Transformation
Type 4 is self-conscious of how they appear in the eyes of others. If you identify with type 4, your task in each experience is to become aware of your inherent belonging by practicing equanimity.
Reality in the present + Resistance (longing for what is missing, envy, feeling fatally flawed, feeding emotions, the need to be unique, desire for approval and validation) + Equanimity/Self-Awareness = Transformation
From Self-Protection to Self-Trust: Types 5, 6, & 7 (The Over-Thinkers)
Type 5 is self-protecting through the acquisition of information and choosing to observe, rather than engage. If you identify with type 5, your task in each experience is to trust that the wisdom you need is within you by practicing non-attachment/full engagement.
Reality in the present + Resistance (obsession with knowledge acquisition, avarice, fear, the need to know, fear of engagement, desire for security) + Non-Attachment-Full Engagement/Self-Trust= Transformation
Type 6 is self-protecting through a focus on preparation for the worst-case scenario. If you identify with type 6, your task in each experience is to trust that you are inherently equipped to meet life’s challenges by practicing courage.
Reality in the present + Resistance (obsession with preparation, fear, skepticism, external locus of control, desire for security) + Courage/Self-Trust= Transformation
Type 7 is self-protecting through a focus on planning for a bright future. If you identify with type 7, your task in each experience is to trust that you are safe in this moment by practicing constancy/contentment.
Reality in the present + Resistance (obsession with planning, gluttonous distraction, fear, avoiding painful emotions, desire for security) + Sobriety-Contentment/Self-Trust= Transformation
The key to self-transformation is through diligently applying the virtue of your type and practicing self-remembering, self-awareness, and self-trust. Ongoing practices that help you open your heart, quiet your mind, and mindfully engage your body facilitate the process of living into your highest self. Make the choice to invest in yourself today, and thus becoming a peaceful presence for good.