How The Enneagram Sparked My Journey To Self-Awareness

How The Enneagram Sparked My Journey To Self-Awareness

2019 is all about your existential journey and how you cultivate relationships with others around you.


For those who haven't heard of the Enneagram, it is a subtle, yet complex, system that categorizes each of the nine basic personality types by a designated number:

1 - The Reformer

2 - The Helper

3 - The Achiever

4 - The Individualist

5 - The Investigator

6 - The Loyalist

7 - The Enthusiast

8 - The Challenger

9 - The Peacemaker

Each personality type is described by four keywords. Now, this is where the Enneagram can get a little confusing. The Enneagram is a 3x3 arrangement, which means the nine personality types are divided into three Centers, the Instinctive Center, the Feeling Center, and the Thinking Center. Each Center contains three personality types that display assets and qualities of the Center in which it is located. Check out this graphic for a visual:

The Enneagram divided into personality types and CentersThe Enneagram Institute

It gets a little more in-depth from here. According to the Enneagram system, no one consists of one personality type. Typically, you are one basic personality type and one of the types adjacent on the Enneagram circumference. This is known as a "wing." For example, I am a 9w1. My basic personality type is 9, The Peacemaker, but I have tendencies of a type 1, The Reformer. Within each type, there are Levels of Development and Directions of Growth and Stress.

Although the Enneagram seems very complex, once you read through it a time or two, you understand it pretty thoroughly. There are books, podcasts, social media sites, and The Enneagram Institute website to utilize for your own personal research and self-awareness journey.

My interest was piqued when a friend of mine asked me, "What is your Enneagram number?" one day while we were at work. I told her that I took the online test and it calculated that I was a Type 2 (The Helper) which did not seem right to me. She then explained how the online test isn't completely accurate and that the best way to determine your Enneagram was to research and sort of figure it out on your own. I mentioned I did a brief reading through each of the types and kind of thought I would be a Type 9, The Peacemaker. My friend, who is a fellow Type 9, agreed with my opinion and began to inform me of every aspect of the Enneagram.

From there, I developed an intrigue and did lots of extensive research before finalizing that I am a 9w1 on the Enneagram. Researching and self-reflecting were tedious at times. We don't always like to come to terms with our flaws and shortcomings, which are both listed for each personality type. In the end, though, I swallowed my pride and devoted my time to become more self-aware.

It is important to research and know your strengths and weaknesses so you can channel those toward self-improvement. For instance, I had no idea my indifferent mentality on things (i.e. what restaurant to go to for dinner) stemmed from my desire for peace among everyone until I read about it through the Enneagram. Once I knew and understood that I realized it is true; I want to make sure everyone is happy which means sometimes I put other's needs above my own. This process occurred for me across several aspects of my personality, and it will for you as well, if you choose to embark on an Enneagram journey.

In my opinion, the Enneagram is the most accurate personality construct because it allows you to research, learn, and grow, instead of populating a response to a series of questions. If you put in the time and have the right mindset to research your Enneagram, I promise you will reap the benefits and become more aware of yourself and your interactions with others.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.

I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time

Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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