This summer I finished three amazing novels that I really enjoyed and would absolutely recommend. In between the life work of Steinbeck and some of our recent generations’ best fiction, I also really appreciated reading the collaborative effort of the psychiatrists that wrote the webpage for the Enneagram type 4 personality description.
I’ll spare you the description- its a really long page- but for reference, I’m allegedly as infatuated with beauty, obsessed with maintaining moods, over-involved and self-aware as Edgar Allen Poe, Cher and Paul Simon. Heck yeah.
First of all I don’t think I learned anything new about myself from taking and reading the Enneagram. It didn’t suggest to me anything about myself that I didn’t already suspect. I can’t speak for everyone (I’m self-aware, remember?), but I don’t think that’s necessarily the point of filing yourself into a personality type system like the enneagram or the myers-briggs. I think its less about learning about yourself and more about understanding yourself.
The biggest advantage seems to be understanding your motivations and being able to anticipate your future behavior. Knowing yourself is kind of like being able to see your own future.
I think some people are afraid to use personality tests because they think it will either just flatter them or provide them with a useless scapegoat on which to blame their flaws. It’s not exactly flattering to read about all the things I am prone to be while knowing a lot of my flaws embody themselves very visibly.
Reading my enneagram gave me a really tangible way to ‘start with the man in the mirror.’ Knowing ourselves is the only first step to being able to better how we function as individuals and in society. Knowing what you need to be healthy and what qualities you have that benefit others answers a lot of the questions we have about how we relate to others and gives us a lot of direction.
it also gave me the words behind some of the things I haven’t been able to explain about myself.
Maybe I’m unusually susceptible to finding meaning where I want meaning to exist, (the 4 description will tell you that) but I really don’t think I’m gullible. People who know me have been able to trace the threads of the Enneagram 4 page through my life and altogether, it sews a pretty accurate depiction of my personality, and I feel better off with that knowledge in my pocket.