The Ancient Power of the Enneagram

Author Lisa Oz shares how to improve your most cherished relationships by unlocking your real self using the ancient Enneagram system. Find out which of the 9 personality categories you belong to.

Posted on | By Lisa Oz

Lisa Oz, who coauthored all the You books with her husband Dr. Oz, takes on relationships in her own book, Us: Transforming Ourselves and the Relationships that Matter Most. To read an excerpt from her new book, click here.

 

Relationships define us and give us meaning. Based on 25 years of marriage, Lisa makes the argument that to be in a healthy relationship, you need to be in a good relationship with yourself.

"You need to get beyond the stuff of false identity that makes up ego -- your  looks, brains, job, money," says Lisa. "You need to get in touch with your real self so you can be more intimate with others."

To help discover your real self, Lisa recommends the Enneagram, an ancient system of personality typing. Although its exact origin is unclear, the Enneagram is thought to have been used by the Ancient Desert Fathers and Sufi mystics thousands of years ago, and was brought to America by the spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff in the early 20th century. 

The Enneagram's purpose is to help you see yourself more clearly; it reveals both your strengths and weaknesses, which paradoxically, are often the same thing.

"By identifying where we are on that chart, we see how we behave habitually, how we may not be living the most conscious life we can," says Lisa. 

There are 9 different personality types. For instance, Dr. Oz identifies as type # 3: The Achiever; he's highly driven toward success but also fears failure. Lisa falls under type #6: The Loyalist; she's deeply loyal and affectionate, but also craves certainty and has difficulty managing fear.

"For me," says Lisa, "all of transformation is about letting go of ego identification."  The Enneagram system identifies certain fear and attachments so self-revelation can occur. Then, you can love yourself and others more deeply and unconditionally.

Below are general descriptions of the 9 Enneagram personality types:  

 

The Enneagram Types

Type 1: The Perfectionist

Ones are very idealistic and self-controlled; they think everything should be perfect. You are also moral, hardworking and noble. Your downfall: You can be self-righteous and hypocritical. You need to learn to accept life's imperfections.

Type 2: The Helper
Twos are helpers and enablers; those who spend their time caring for everyone else. Underneath you need others to need you, to measure your own self-worth. You can feel a bit superior for putting others first. You need to be clear about giving with no strings attached so there is no disappointment.

 

Type 3: The Achiever

Threes are the overachievers, those who become politicians, business moguls and media stars. You are self-assured, social, confident and highly driven to succeed. But, you can become blinded by your ambition and self-deluded. You need to see the truth clearly so your leadership can really inspire.

 

Type 4: The Individualist

Fours love being different and often become poets, actors or painters. You're not only creative and dramatic, but very sensitive and intuitive. However, you can be self-absorbed. You need to detach from your inner world more and put your creative energies toward things outside yourself.

 

Type 5: The Intellectual

Fives are cerebral; they love to learn. You are curious and open-minded, at home in the world of ideas. You can be aloof, though, and have a hard time expressing your feelings. You are not a natural giver. To grow, you need to get out of your head and open your heart.

 

Type 6: The Loyalist

Sixes are loyal, trustworthy, hard-working and affectionate - the most common Enneagram type in the Western World. But sixes are full of contradictions: they're strong and weak; generous and petty; bold and fearful. Your biggest challenge is letting go of fear. You need to discover faith in yourself and others.

 

Type 7: The Optimist

Sevens are cheerful, fun-loving and full of genuine wonder.  But your drive for constant pleasure masks a need to avoid pain. Your downfall can be excess activities and possessions. You need to acknowledge suffering to add depth to your own experience.

 

Type 8: The Reformer

Eights are assertive, self confident and resourceful, the reformers and warriors out to change the world. You love a good fight and see it as a chance to prove your heroism. But conflict can be a way of life. You need to learn how to let your guard down and allow vulnerability in.

 

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Nines are calm, easy-going and look for the best in people. You are a natural peacemaker, crave harmony and are spiritually inclined. Yet, you can be avoiding and very stubborn. You need to become less passive and more engaged to find the true meaning of peace.

 

Observing the Self

Once you've identified your type, become mindful of how you react to situations and others. This understanding will help you embark on a higher journey toward personal growth and improved relationships.

Article written by Lisa Oz
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