Introduced to the West by the mystic George Gurdjieff, the nine Enneagram types represent nine essential tendencies that help explain why individuals act, think, and feel the way they do. Some argue that the Enneagram types have been in use in the Middle East for over four thousand years. Sufis and Jesuits use a similar device for spiritual transformation.
But the Enneagram is not a rigid box of personality traits and quirks. Rather, it’s a dynamic and nuanced system where each type blurs into adjoining types. It’s a tool to help connect you to your heart, to discover your authentic self and ultimately – to understand your purpose in life.
The Nine Enneagram Types
Read through each Enneagram personality type to determine which one feels right to you.
Type 1: The Teacher
Judge, reformer, critic, perfectionist, and entrepreneur – the Teacher is principled and opinionated. She believes that being your best self is a moral duty, and she strives to help others reach their potential too.
Need: To be right and justify her opinion.
Positive Aspects: Wise, discerning, strong personal integrity, fair, idealistic, rational.
Negative Aspects: Judgmental, preachy, punitive, self-righteous, overly critical.
Type 2: The Helper
Caretaker, planner, giver, and people-pleaser – the Helper sacrifices her own needs for those of others. Sensitive and outwardly focused, she expresses her feelings and wants others to reciprocate and acknowledge her worth.
Needs: To feel needed and appreciated.
Positive Aspects: Empathetic, caring, altruistic, generous, compassionate.
Negative Aspects: Patronizing, manipulative, martyr mentality, coercive, self-deceptive.
Type 3: The Achiever
Role model, communicator, performer, and magician – the Achiever desires to improve herself and be outstanding in everything, including a prestigious career and an attractive appearance. She is a self-assured ideal for others.
Needs: Affirmation and attention.
Positive Aspects: Confident, authentic, popular, ambitious, self-assured.
Negative Aspects: Narcissistic, competitive, arrogant, pretentious, calculating.
Type 4: The Artist
Individualist, creator, dreamer, and a true romantic – the Artist has powerful emotional reactions that require expression. She lives in the inner world of feelings and may over-indulge to counter the sense that something is missing.
Needs: Understanding and expression.
Seeks: Discovery of her authentic self.
Positive Aspects: Creative, humorous, inspired, romantic, emotional integrity.
Negative Aspects: Melancholic, masochistic, envious, overly dramatic, self-absorbed.
Type 5: The Thinker
Observer, innovator, visionary, and intellectual – the Thinker is insightful, drawing conclusions through thoughtful reflection. She may retreat from the world, choosing instead to gather knowledge and create safety in an imaginary realm.
Needs: Knowledge of the world.
Positive Aspects: Perceptive, original, analytical, smart, decisive.
Negative Aspects: Anxious, detached, reclusive, obsessive, extremist.
Type 6: The Guardian
Hero, skeptic, loyalist, and traditionalist – the Guardian values faithful support and mutual cooperation. She believes rules are made for a reason and tends to procrastinate vs. taking action.
Needs: Security and approval.
Positive Aspects: Trustworthy, dependable, hard-working, dutiful, loveable.
Negative Aspects: Insecure, fearful, rigid, indecisive, overly cautious.
Type 7: The Adventurer
Enthusiast, energizer, opportunist, and epicurean – the multi-talented Adventurer loves to stay busy with imaginative action. Do more, be more, see more. She feels awed by life’s wonders and avoids pain at all costs.
Needs: Activity and new experiences
Positive Aspects: Joyful, inspiring, gifted, vivacious, responsive.
Negative Aspects: Obnoxious, addictive, materialistic, impulsive, greedy.
Type 8: The Leader
Chief, challenger, protector, and boss-lady – the Leader is naturally self-reliant. She wants to make an impact on history and to do things her own way, prevailing over herself, others, and the environment.
Needs: Autonomy and influence
Positive Aspects: Honorable, enterprising, courageous, strong, inspirational.
Negative Aspects: Aggressive, insensitive, intimidating, megalomaniac, belligerent.
Type 9: The Peacemaker
Optimist, comforter, mediator, and friend – the good-natured Peacemaker has a passion for comfort. She wants everyone to get along and tends towards psychological inertia, merging with others to avoid strife and create harmony.
Needs: Preservation and routine
Positive Aspects: Content, easygoing, genuine, generous, tolerant.
Negative Aspects: Passive, complacent, oblivious, neglectful, ineffectual.
Each Enneagram type also has unique paths towards healing and disintegration; explore your type and learn more at enneagraminstitute.com.
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