As you know, I’ve been doing some teachings in Mighty Networks. If you don’t know, these are free, mini- teachings on each Enneagram type. If you join the fun, you’ll hear 15 minutes of teaching and I’ll stay on the call after the teaching for 15 minutes of Q&A.
I was immersing myself in some Enneagram type 5 energy as I prepared today’s teaching and realized I could easily identify with Enneagram type 5 except for one thing: the type 5 in me doesn’t trip me up. It isn’t where I struggle. The behaviors are there but the core motivation, to be competent, is far enough away from me that my ego doesn’t confuse it with who I am.
Like those whose primary type is Enneagram type 5,
- I live for an “aha” moment
- Competency is important to me
- I can be wordy and tell you too much about what I know
- I might not want to do something if I don’t know enough about it
- I can hoard paper, books, and “information” because “I might need them”
That’s all true.
If I identified with Enneagram type 5, these things would cause me some level of suffering because they’d be coming from a deep fear that I might not know enough. They’d get in the way of me living my life with a sense of freedom. I’d have an almost compulsive need to know that would run the show and drive my loved ones a little (or a lot) batty.
The essential qualities of Enneagram type 5, clarity and illumination (about myself, others, and the world), would be my greatest longing. And it would take a whole lot more than mindset to change that.
I identify with Enneagram type 7 which shares a line with Enneagram type 5. This means that we have a lot to learn from each other.
As an Enneagram type 7, nothing gets in the way for me more than my deep desire to be content, ok, or even just fine. I’ve been doing inner work with the Enneagram for a long time and, while not logical, I still have a visceral response to the word “suffering”. Without awareness, I assumed everyone wanted to be like me: content, ok, or even just fine. Not true.
So what’s wrong with wanting to be content, fine, or even happy?
Nothing. However, the fact that, without awareness, my ego is completely wrapped around this idea and there is nothing less content, ok, or fine than requiring myself to be content, ok, and fine. And by the way, I need you that way, too.
Prior to working with Enneagram teachers and guides, I had no idea that this was really at the core of any and all of my suffering (that I denied because, well, I need to be content, ok, or fine!), but I now see it on a daily basis. Literally.
This basic desire of my ego (aka personality) is the source of
- My need to change your viewpoint on many topics
- Difficulty making choices
- My inability to deeply focus on one thing for an extended period of time
You see, if I’m going to be content, ok, or fine, I really need you to be that way, too. Because unless you are, I can’t be. So my life revolves around this incessant need to be and do all kinds of things to make you content, ok, or fine and when it doesn’t work, I’ll begin to tell you all the reasons you should be content, ok, or fine. I start to demand you see things my way.
The farther I get from living a conscious, awake life, the more I double down on this.
You get the point, right?
When I’m in this place, the lower-average level of Enneagram type 7, much of what I most need comes from the gifts of Enneagram type 5. I need that
- depth of clarity
- beautiful focus & attention
- ability to sit still
Those identifying with Enneagram type 5 experience these traits when they are living a conscious & awake life.
The experience I had preparing my latest teaching, observing how Enneagram type 5 lives in me, made me think about all the people who ask about typing.
Sure, if I was filling out a questionnaire or reading a description, I might assign myself any one of the nine Enneagram types. And I’d be wrong. It wouldn’t be useless, but it wouldn’t take me to the healing I most need.
Accurate Enneagram typing can only come from an experience that merges information with self-observation. There are other things that will support your experience of Enneagram typing (a community of learners, a mentor or guide, and a sense of humor about yourself), but if you are serious about finding your Enneagram type, it starts with self-observation.
If you want to find your Enneagram type to connect with others at a party, then type yourself however you want.
But if you want to find your Enneagram type to live a richer, whole life, free from your habitual reactivity and predictable patterns of behavior, then dig in and be a student of yourself.
Accurately finding your Enneagram type is the beginning of the end of your suffering.
If you’d like to explore this with me, you can schedule a stand-alone typing session here: