Every now and again, I come across something that just blows my curious mind in the best possible way. That is exactly how I’m feeling about the Enneagram. What a dynamic tool for lifelong self discovery and enriching personal relationships with others.
In a recent post I shared Beatrice Chestnut’s book, The Complete Enneagram and how it truly was a personal owner’s manual for each of us. Since then I have also read Ian Morgan Cron’s incredible book, The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery.
I found his book so fascinating that I sent copies to a few friends with a note telling them that I laughed out loud at some insights and cried at others. I was sure they’d have a similar experience as they read more about their own Enneagram type.
Ian Morgan Cron has a popular podcast called Typology https://www.typologypodcast.com featuring a broad diversity of guests who help “explore the mysteries of the human personality” and help us re-discover our most authentic selves.
At the onset of the quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ian did a whole series on each Enneagram Type and Stress. The podcasts were short in duration and long in helpful personalized advice for navigating anxiety during this time of great uncertainty.
In a subsequent series, he dedicated his teachings to the Enneagram and Parenting. I found the series to be so enlightening that I posted it on Facebook and shared links with my family. Who doesn’t benefit from solid parenting advice especially in the midst of COVID when so much about our daily routines have changed significantly?
I’ll often scroll through Ian’s podcast library to find topics and guests that might have answers to current questions I am pondering, or to gain deeper wisdom about my own type or that of a friend or family member. To my delight, I recently found one featuring Beatrice Chestnut, who is one of the foremost authorities on the Enneagram — and she just happens to be a Type 2 like me. Her knowledge and personal experience was revelational for me.
Father Richard Rohr is often credited with bringing the Enneagram to the general population decades ago when he offered 10 cassette tapes about the Enneagram. As he tells it, it was the first time people were hearing a voice explaining the value and wisdom of the Enneagram. I have listened to many of Father Rohr’s own podcasts about the Enneagram. His soothing voice and grounded genuine approach shed a lot of light on human nature, learned behavioral patterns and our blind spots (those places where we get in our own way and stunt our personal growth).
The Enneagram is often used in counseling sessions and with good reason. It is an objective, non-judgmental way to look at all the parts of ourselves and see clearly where we have room for growth. Admittedly, this isn’t always fun or easy, but the truth is we usually know we’ve got blind spots but its often hard to acknowledge it. It is those blind spots that inevitably are the cause of most of our self-created roadblocks. And as Brene Brown teaches us, when we armor up in an effort to protect our vulnerabilities, we lose our connection with our authentic selves.
It’s not hard to see how the Enneagram is such an invaluable tool for couples counseling also. Imagine the shift in relationship dynamics when each partner can have such clarity about the other — what motivates them, what their driving need truly is, their strengths and weaknesses — all without judgment, just pure awareness. I recently shared with a family member that I got answers to questions my former partner was never able to answer once I learned the complexities of his Enneagram type.
My enthusiasm for the Enneagram has been spilling over into my family and into my friendships. I have found some of my friends to be very experienced with the Enneagram and our conversations shed light on the many ways it can help deepen relationships and resolve familiar patterns of conflict.
There is nothing I enjoy more than helping others (that’s a classic Type 2), and now I feel I have a resource that helps me customize the best way to do that — for them! This is such a win-win because in the past, I would often help too much (the blind spot of a Type 2) and in the end I was tired and my friend was resentful of my overbearing help. Who knew?
During this quarantine time, I have been so fortunate to have reconnected with old friends, gotten to know my newer friends on a deeper level, and been participating in lively discussions with dynamic women on an “Untamed” Zoom book club. The compelling common denominator is that all of us are striving for personal growth to enrich this chapter of our lives. We’ve come to realize that the learning never ends and there is always room for improvement — that’s life. We also recognize that it is our friends who support us through this journey. The more we know and understand our unique authentic selves, the better we are for all those whose lives we touch.
Here are some of my favorite resources regarding the Enneagram:
The Enneagram Institute https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
Ian Morgan Cron Website https://ianmorgancron.com
The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self Knowledge – Author Beatrice Chestnut
The Chestnut Group – Empowering Change through the Enneagram https://beatricechestnut.com
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery – Authors Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile