Personality Analysis & Why It's Beneficial
Personality is one of those funny, intangible things; we think we know ourselves, but sometimes our perceptions are very different to the ones others have of us, or we put certain ways of being down to our personality. But they are not set in stone; sure, there are traits we carry from childhood but we have the capacity to grow and shift in our personalities too. And while we think we may know ourselves inside out, it can be really helpful to have a framework that helps us understand ourselves and others on a deeper and more objective level. This in turn allows for greater self-acceptance and more harmonious relationships. If you read my acceptance, or perfectionist posts, you’ll know that I love this s**t.
The Enneagram is one such framework; a study of the nine basic types of people. I grew up knowing about this from my mum - and I have honestly found it SO helpful. Knowing more about our personality and behaviours gives us the tools to better understand our feelings and why we behave the way we do. The depth of this personality framework also challenges us; being open to growth and self-development promotes better self-esteem, more resilience, and gives us opportunities to learn from tough or icky moments that life throws at us.
So I thought I’d give you a taste of the types and pop in a diagram for some context; and hopefully this will help you when you get into the beefier sections of the actual website (trust me it’s worth it). One point I MUST stress - one type is not better than another. EVERY type has it’s strengths and flaws. And the type you are is more often than not the one that makes you cringe slightly.
Each type has a different number that we take on the positive qualities of when we are in a state of growth and happiness; and likewise, our type has a different number that we take on the negative qualities of when we are in a state of stress or anxiety. Each type also shares the qualities of the numbers that are directly next to it (as you can see in the diagram). It’s important to know this because it adds so much more depth than making you feel you only have the traits of one number, but I really encourage you to check out the types for yourself and learn about the intricacies and then we can nerd out over it together.
Type 1: The Reformer - realistic, conscientious, principled. Called this because they have a “sense of mission” that leads them to want to improve the world in various ways, using whatever degree of influence they have. They strive to live up to their high ideals, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. At their best they are wise, discerning and noble. Michelle Obama and Maggie Smith are Ones!
Type 2: The Helper - warm, concerned, nurturing and sensitive. An incredibly caring type, full of love and empathy. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. At their best they are unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.
Type 3: The Achiever - energetic, optimistic, driven. This type is very goal-oriented and ambitious. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. At their best they are self-accepting, authentic, and genuinely inspiring to others.
Type 4: The Individualist - warm, expressive, perceptive. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. They can withdraw in order to hide vulnerability. At their best they are inspiring and highly creative. One of my favourite singers, Florence Welch, is a Four.
Type 5: The Investigator - perceptive, innovative, curious and analytical. Fives are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills, but the flip side of this is becoming withdrawn and isolated. They are very alert and curious about the world. At their best they are visionary pioneers.
Type 6: The Loyalist - trust-worthy, loyal and hard-working. This type is very responsible and good at collaborating, but can be suspicious, defensive and doubtful of themselves. At their best they are internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
Type 7: The Enthusiast - spontaneous, adventurous, energetic. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. At their best they are able to focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.
Type 8: The Challenger - decisive, direct, self-confident. Eights are very protective and resourceful, but can also be controlling and intimidating. At their best they use their strength to improve others' lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.
Type 9: The Peacemaker - accepting, trusting and good-natured. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. At their best they are indomitable and all-embracing, bringing people together and healing conflicts. My favourite examples of type nines are Walt Disney and Audrey Hepburn.
I also wanted to write about this because it can be quite confronting to explore our own minds and admit to ourselves who we are, especially when it may not be very nice. Can we admit mistakes? Can we admit to envy, sadness and confusion? And when we are around others, it can be so easy to be reactive… but do we always need to be defensive? How quickly do we put up a barrier when there is feedback? How ready are we to learn, given that valuable lessons usually come in painful guises? I CERTAINLY have been challenged in this way over the last few weeks and it’s definitely a process, but one that is so important for our everyday lives.
I’d love to know your thoughts, comment below your type or any questions about personality! x