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Enneagram: Take it with a Gram of Salt

Updated: May 12, 2022

By now, most people have probably heard of the enneagram personality test. There has been a plethora of books, Instagram pages, and blogs dedicated to this test and the personality types that are showcased from it. Many are amazed to find that this test has the uncanny ability to explain who they are and why they are the way that they are. Upon discovering which enneagram type they are, many people find that the description of their personality, along with their strengths and weaknesses, are almost scarily accurate. Although this personality test offers great insight, there are a few things to consider before jumping whole-heartedly into the enneagram world.

One aspect of the enneagram to reflect on is confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the notion that when we believe something to be true, we filter the world and information through that lens. The enneagram breaks down strengths, weaknesses, and distinct personality characteristics of each personality type. Sometimes, it can be tempting to think that the description of our personality type is actually more accurate than it is. For example, if someone’s personality type claims that they are investigative, they may think of all the times that they are investigative, even when that is not typical for them.

Another potential con surrounding the enneagram is that it may make people feel stuck in their personality traits. For example, if the enneagram claims that a 9 hates conflict, those that fall in that personality type may feel stuck being uncomfortable with facing conflict, as they may think that this is a personality trait that is set for life. In addition, some may not realize that they have a number of different personality traits from different personality types. This may cause people to miss out on great insights and knowledge from other enneagram numbers, as they may think that they only fit in one number. Finally, if people know someone else’s personality type, they may tend to view that person through that lens, and not give them much wiggle room. For instance, enneagram type 2’s are expected to be helpful, even to the detriment of themselves. People may unwittingly tend to take advantage of the 2’s generosity, and become shocked at those instances when they say “no.”

Overall, the enneagram is a great tool which aids in self-exploration and helps us see our strengths, and most importantly, helps us to realize where we can grow. It would be beneficial to see the enneagram as a source of guidance, and not a means of putting yourself in a box.

Lynette Figueroa

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