Our first experience of the Enneagram can be one of curiosity, scepticism, confusion or relief, and our Enneagram type is not alone in influencing such responses.
Some people find their type very quickly and others find the process of discovering their type for themselves, tedious, time consuming or too confusing.
The temptation on the part of more knowledgeable Enneagram enthusiasts or Enneagram teachers, may be to tell the person their type, whether invited or not. The eagerness on the part of the Enneagram typer is a subject deserving of its own discussion. For now, I would like to offer an opinion and insight on the questions around discovering your type based on my experiences as an Enneagram Institute Authorised Teacher and coach.
I suspect most people enjoy different aspect of journeys, even though getting the end may be the aim as well as a relief. Knowing the final score of a tennis match or football game tends to devalue the experience and enjoyment of watching the game. Even worse would be to know the outcome is fixed, unless your real delight is from knowing you have a sure bet placed on the fixed winner!
Most people enjoy watching films or TV suspense from the position of not knowing who it was that dunnit. There are always exceptions – some people get more pleasure from dissecting the plot or character development. You may be somebody who likes to feel your Christmas present whilst they sit under the tree, in order to guess the contents prior to uncovering the delights of what has been gifted to you.
The process of discovering your own type will most likely have some familiar expectations, needs and frustrations.
Either because the type, as with some gifts, is not what you expected or wanted. The delight and learning we gain from following plots of a film, identifying errors or nuances of a particular skill of an athlete, can be similar to what we learn from discovering our type for ourselves. In fact, I would suggest that being told your type by somebody else denies you of the most valuable personal developments and learning objectives you can derive from working with the Enneagram. We only really come to know what is true in a way that is irrefutable, when we learn from direct experience. All else is belief!
What we develop from direct experience is a capacity to be with aspects of our experience that we may otherwise turn away from. This helps to see more clearly the unhelpful attitudes and limiting beliefs. It is with the blend of directed attention, objective exploration and somatic re-education that we then digest the obstacles to deeper connection with our Essential Self -thus, mature as beings of grace, love and spirit. This is our true Humanity.
So we begin learning about ourselves from Self Observation, which is an art and a science that practices Directed Attention and Objective Reason. We begin to be truthful of our experience, and objective in our review, bringing a quality of non-judgemental, compassionate awareness.
With the insights offered from the Enneagram of Personality, you can begin to compare and contrast what is the perceived wisdom with your own experience of your behaviours and attitudes. We may not get an exact match, as the descriptions cover a bandwidth of behaviour, within each type.
This is why it is helpful and important to fully understand the dynamics of the Enneagram Levels Of Development, the Wings, the Stress Points, Security Issues, and the Instinctual Variants for each type before jumping to a conclusion of what your, or anyone else’s type is.
That is also why, as Enneagram Institute Authorised Teachers we do not subscribe to telling you your type. In any consultation session we would explore all these dynamics together, but the final decision and discovery remains yours.
With regards to the online questionnaires, it is significant that the “I” in RHETI stand for “indicator” as it is then for you to validate, from your own direct experience from “coming to know thyself” that your Basic Enneagram type, can be derived.
In conclusion, enjoy the ride, be patient with yourself whilst you realise and actualise the benefits of not-knowing, curiosity and the learning to be gained from your personal inner exploration.