How to type yourself in the enneagram

Finding your Enneagram type can be hard, especially if you're new to the system!

Most people I know went through a long period of thinking they were one type, only to realize years later that they had been wrong the whole time.

So I thought I would gather my thoughts on the topic here so I can help you find your type and use it to make positive changes in your life faster!

-Find your Tri-type first

In the Enneagram, you have a primary type in each of the triads: The Heart Triad (2, 3, 4), the Head Triad (5, 6, 7), and the Gut Triad (8, 9, 1). Of those three types, one with be your MAIN type, but it's also very easy to identify with the wrong type if it is actually part of who you are.

So figure out your type in each triad first, then it will be easier to narrow down between those three into a final type. As you go through that process, if you find that you identify with two types that are adjacent, you may be looking at your primary type and wing type.

-Let go of your identifications

You aren't defined by single attributes. Nobody is a "giving" person, or a "creative" person, an "angry" person, etc. If you have identifications like that, it has much more to do with past emotional experiences than who you are at your core.

Whether the identification is positive or negative, accurate or not, explore where it came from. If an idea that you have about yourself brings up an emotion, or creates tension inside of you when others question it, that idea is holding you back.

Defending your image is basically always counter-productive, and letting go of the feelings that hold that image in place is key to being more honest with yourself and finding your type. You don't have to be attached to past precedent, or to things other people have told you about who you are - you can be whoever you want to be.

-Type your parents

I thought I was a 5 for a long time, and guess what? My father is a 5.

But there's no way around the psychological trap of over-identifying with your parents' characteristics. When you're young you haven't settled into your own personality in full yet, so your only option is to emulate your family.

So as an adult, you can resolve a lot of cognitive dissonance by re-writing the way you view yourself to match who you really are, not who you acted like to get by when you were young.

-Don't be afraid to re-visit the most basic aspects of each type.

The Enneagram is a robust system with a lot of experts weighing in on niche aspects of it. But ultimately, it's easy to miss the forest through the trees. Don't be afraid to refresh your understanding of the types by re-reading parts of descriptions you've already gone through a few times.

-Connect to what primary types are in reality, rather than what they seem like from descriptions.

The key to each type is in the basics, the hard part is connecting those basics to real people.

I remember thinking I understood each type early on, and I could give textbook answers for what each type "looks like". But those descriptions outline concepts, and I couldn't connect them easily to people.

There are no "unicorns" here, you've definitely met many people of each type. Make sure that you try to find realistic examples of each type among the people you actually know.

Start with people you know well, including people you see often but don't interact with (such as a coworker, for example). If you want to type celebrities as an exercise, focus on one-on-one interviews with those people rather than speeches, movies, music videos, etc. The more organic the better.

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