Carl Jung once said that “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” And this statement could not be truer when it comes to the Enneagram of Personality – a nine-point personality system that explains which subconscious fears and motivations are driving our decisions, and therefore subtly shaping our lives.
The Enneagram is anything but a rose-colored personality inventory. It delves into the deepest, murkiest truths of our nature and explains why we often find the same problems cropping up, over and over again in life.
On some level, all of us are unknowingly creating problems for ourselves. In fact, we’re often downright sabotaging our own lives without realizing it. And based on your Enneagram type, here’s how you’re doing exactly that:
Type 1 – The more you try to suppress your anger through perfectionism, the more angry you become at yourself for falling short.
The paradox of the 1 type is that they’re constantly attempting to suppress their inherent feelings of anger by setting moral standards for themselves and those around them to live up to.
However, the more they strive for moral perfection, the more they end up falling short (since perfection is an unrealistic target), and the imperfect nature of themselves and the world around them ends up becoming just another source of anger for the 1.
Until the 1 type learns to acknowledge and manage their repressed anger, this type will constantly be recreating patterns of anger and frustration in their own lives.
Type 2 – You’re searching so desperately for acceptance that you end up driving people away.
The paradox of the 2 type is that they strive to become indispensable to others so that others will love and accept them – but the more desperately they strive for validation, the less genuine they seem, and therefore the more they end up driving people away.
Until the 2 type learns to be comfortable alone, they will continuously struggle to maintain meaningful relationships with those around them, because their intense need for validation will ultimately be what makes people wary of getting too close to them.
Type 3 – You believe you won’t be loved until you’re perfect so you reject love when it comes your way, in favor of chasing perfection.
The paradox of the 3 type is that they fear no one will love them until they’re highly accomplished – however, they will often turn away love if it comes their way in favor of pursuing more accomplishments.
This type will continuously find themselves alone in life, unless and until they learn to let others accept them as they are – that is, as a continuous work in progress, rather than a finished masterpiece.
Type 4 – You’re so afraid of being average that you forgo the hard work and humility it takes to become exceptional.
The paradox of the 4 type is that they’re so afraid of being average and uninteresting that they sabotage their chances of becoming exceptional by refusing to engage in the ‘commonplace’ behaviors it would take to get there.
While this type possesses the intelligence, creativity and drive to succeed and inspire the masses, they would rather be a tragic failure than a moderate success – so instead of shooting for the moon (and risking ending up as just one more average star), they stay stuck in the gutter, where they can at least reassure themselves that if they did try, they’d be far more impressive than everyone else who’s out there trying.
Type 5 – You’re so afraid of acting without adequate knowledge or experience that you forgo the valuable lessons you can only learn through experience.
The paradox of the 5 type is that they only want to act once they have examined a given issue from every angle – and yet there are certain angles that can only be experienced through trial and error. Therefore, the 5’s unwillingness to act is often the exact thing keeping them in the dark.
This type will continue to find themselves paralyzed unless and until they learn to make peace with acting before they are 100% in the know – and trusting that the answers will follow.
Type 6 – You spend so much time preparing for the worst-case scenario that you leave yourself no time or energy to pursue the best-case scenario.
The paradox of the 6 type is that they spend so much time preparing things to go wrong that they often find themselves completely unprepared for things to go right. Believing that most things are ‘too good to be true,’ the 6 type subconsciously rejects many wonderful opportunities, which proves their underlying belief that things will not work out in their favor.
The 6 type will continue to find themselves in a cycle of preparing for and then experiencing the worst, unless and until they learn to trust that things can also go right.
Type 7 – You spend so much time chasing toward the good things in life that you run right past the great things on your way.
The paradox of the 7 type is that they spend so much time trying to avoid their inner emptiness by chasing after joy and excitement that they run right past the things that would actually fulfill them in a meaningful way in life. They may never pause long enough to form deep relationships, succeed at a long-standing project or establish a deep-rooted community.
These types will continue to feel restless unless and until they realize that their hedonistic tendencies are much like a junk food diet – satisfying in the moment of indulgence but direly unhealthy and unsatisfying in the long run.
Type 8 – You constantly suspect the worst in people, which ends up bringing out the worst in people.
The paradox of the 8 is that their inherent suspicion of others prevents them from establishing trusting relationships – which means that the people in their lives become as untrustworthy as the 8 fears them to be.
This type will continue to find themselves feeling slighted by others unless and until they learn to see the best in and trust others in the first place. Doing so makes the people in their lives feel valued and respected, and makes them want to prove the 8 right about their choice to trust them (“You teach people how to treat you,” right?)
Type 9 – You’re so desperate to maintain peace that your passiveness ends up becoming a source of frustration.
The paradox of the 9 type is that they fear conflict so intensely that their unwillingness to take a stance can become a source of conflict in and of itself. When this type experiences a set of conflicting desires, they dread facing the conflict head-on and may avoid it until it becomes a much greater conflict than it needed to be.
This type will find themselves continuously facing conflict unless and until they learn to nip it in the bud and assert themselves before a given issue spirals out of control.