Recently a friend tagged me in a new Instagram account that has been exploding in popularity. The account, Enneagram and Coffee, launched with a fun game called Enneagram Bingo, and received over 100,000 followers within a couple of days.
I didn’t know much about the Enneagram until I discovered the account, but I could identify myself very quickly on the bingo cards. I excitedly texted my friend back, “I feel...seen.”
The Enneagram is a complex personality typing system that looks a bit like a confusing and unsolvable diagram. The Enneagram types range from Type 1 to Type 9, so at least that part is simple. Although each person will fall under one type, most of us also have “wings,” which means you likely have characteristics of another Enneagram type as well. For example, I’m a Type 4, Wing 3.
According to Beth McCord at Your Enneagram Coach, “The Enneagram accurately and clearly describes why you think, feel and behave in particular ways based upon your core fears and core desires.”
After reading up on the different Enneagram types, and taking a test, I felt confident in the Enneagram type that I am. Not everyone figures their type out so quickly, but for me it was extremely obvious that I was a Type 4 with Type 3 tendencies. As a Type 4 I am characterized as sensitive, introspective, with dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental tendencies. That may sound a bit harsh (or according to my partner, spot on), but the point of the Enneagram is to point out these personality traits, and then find ways to overcome some of the less desirable tendencies.
For me, the beauty of the Enneagram was feeling less alone in my failures and struggles. I felt seen and recognized, like maybe I’m not as different or weird as I thought I was (a totally Type 4 feeling to have, anyway). But I also loved that the Enneagram doesn’t leave you in your mess. It gives you hope and challenges you to improve yourself. Being a Type 4 doesn’t excuse my selfishness, it just identifies it, and hopefully gives me a bit of insight into why I do the things I do.
I’m still learning a lot about the Enneagram, but one of the most exciting things I’ve learned is that each person will be functioning at different levels of development of their personality, and those levels can change. What that means is that I can be functioning as an unhealthy Type 4, an average Type 4, or a healthy Type 4. It sounds a bit like voodoo, but it makes sense when you think of yourself and the times that you’ve been in a healthy place in your life, versus unhealthy place.
Enneagram and Coffee remains one of my favourite Instagram accounts. It’s a lot of fun, and has tons of pop culture references and cute shareable memes. But I’ve also learned that an Instagram account cannot teach you nearly enough about the Enneagram, or offer you the insight into all the ways your personality type might be influencing your behaviours or tendencies. I love that Sara Jane Case, the creator of the account, is very honest about how much more there is out there, and how little she’s able to cover on social media.
Identifying myself as “The Individualist”, or Type 4, has given me real hope and excitement for myself and my future. I have always felt like I was unseen, or not special enough, and now I know that is normal for my personality, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. I’ve also struggled with sticking to things, and have accepted that I’ll never be driven enough to accomplish certain things. But that doesn’t always have to be the case either.
Enneagram has shown me who I am, but it’s also given me a glimpse into my potential.