The Enneagram and Creativity

The Enneagram and Creativity

We here at MossyBrain are big fans of the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a personality typing system, within a spiritual framework, made up of nine interrelated personality types. Your type is not who you are. It represents an adaptive strategy you developed to deal with whatever life throws at you. As we grow, we learn to understand our coping mechanisms and how to move toward our true self.

You may relate to multiple types, but everyone has a dominant type that they most identify with. You can take online tests to help determine your type, but reading through the descriptions and talking with someone who knows the Enneagram well is a preferable way to figure it out. For some it will be immediately clear, but others may take a longer road to finding their type. Understanding the Enneagram and who you are is a tool that can help each of us relate better to ourselves and the world around us.

What does the Enneagram have to do with creativity?

We believe that expressing yourself creatively, however that looks for you, will help you understand who you are. Conversely, knowing who you are will help you get in touch with your creativity and how you want to express yourself. They two feed off of each other, and can become an inspiring cycle of self-realization and creation. Awareness, whether of self or others, is always a gift to creativity.

Know Yourself

The Enneagram helps us learn about our personalities – what makes us tick, what we have to offer, our fears and challenges. When I understand my own strengths, weaknesses and motivations, I can begin to slow down and be intentional.  In a moment in which I may have instinctively reacted previously, I can observe how I am feeling and why. I can then decide how I want to behave. I am not a slave to my feelings or my past. On the other hand, if we are unaware of our weaknesses, insecurities, and triggers, we are more likely to react in a negative or unhelpful way.

Knowing yourself helps you determine whether you are in a healthy or unhealthy place. Your level of health is not static. We can vacillate between the spectrum within a day, sometimes within an hour. The Enneagram explores levels of health for each personality and the behaviors and thoughts associated with each level. Self-awareness is key to understanding your circumstances and feelings, and those might help you identify your resistance to creating.

Knowing yourself also helps you understand your personal barriers to creativity. Some of us are extremely risk averse, others struggle with lack of motivation or drive, others have an excessive fear of failure, or of judgement. These barriers can prohibit creative pursuits if we are blindly led by them. Knowing our personal barriers can facilitate awareness and help us develop proactive tools to combat them. Each of us needs to embrace our unique personality, and the benefits and challenges therein.

Understand Others Better

It is useful to understand each of the Enneagram personality types, along with each type’s motivations, struggles, and gifts. This allows us to see through the simple actions and reactions of others. We become more compassionate when we are compelled to look beneath the behavior, and are look through their lens’.

There may be a particular personality type or certain attributes that rub you the wrong way. Once you understand their perspective, you will often see the why underneath and, in turn, offer grace. This ability is a gift to those you interact with, and to yourself, because you will stop being limited by long-held stigmas or prejudices. Each person’s strengths, abilities, and gifts will become more clear and therefore, your circle of collaboration will expand.

Creative Compatibility

Creative collaboration means working with other people on creative endeavors, which we believe is important in living your most extraordinary and mossy life. Knowing ourselves and others helps us understand our creative compatibility with those we encounter.

It is helpful to learn how each personality type interacts with the other types. In her book, The Enneagram in Work and Love, Helen Palmer describes how the nine types relate in intimate and work-related settings. She goes through each combination of numbers, in both love and work, and describes potential relational strengths and struggles. She says, “Partnership demonstrates the differences between us. Each of us can be telling the truth, yet each can have a different story to tell.”

The Enneagram can help understand others’ outlooks, and see our relationships with clarity. When we look at how our personalities affect relationships, we can begin to understand the obstacles and pitfalls we may have experienced with others. Most importantly, we can learn how to work with every type, knowing that each one will come with specific challenges and gifts.

Go Deeper with the Enneagram

We are grateful for the Enneagram as a tool that facilitates more awareness of self and others, and therefore, helps us live more creatively. If you want to learn more about the Enneagram, check out our Enneagram Primer, go to www.enneagraminstitute.com, or read The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. These are just a few of the plethora of resources available. It’s a great time to learn about the Enneagram! As always, let us know about your Enneagram journey, and what you are learning along the way!

DISCLOSURE: Some links in this article, and elsewhere on this site, may be affiliate links. While there is not any additional cost to you, purchases made via those affiliate links may earn us a commission. Only products and services which have been vetted and tested by the MossyBrain team are featured and promoted. If you are thinking of purchasing a featured product or service, or have a genuine interest in a linked product, your use of the affiliate link is appreciated and allows us to continue writing these kinds of helpful articles. Thanks so much!

Jessica Beresh is a blogger and co-founder of MossyBrain. Along with her husband Ben, their 4 kids and their sweet puppy Charlie she resides in Broken Arrow OK. She is a 9 on the Enneagram, bringing peace and kindness with her everywhere she goes. She loves Chai (hot or iced) and also rainy days

Connect with her on Facebook or jess@mossybrain.com.

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The Enneagram – An Overview

The Enneagram – An Overview

If you have not yet discovered the wonder of the Enneagram, buckle up my friend. The Enneagram is a personality typing system made up of nine interrelated personality types, all stemming from unique motivations and drives. It is likely that everyone will relate in some way to each of the types, but one should stand out as the primary. Experts agree that we are born with one dominant type, though it seems to be a mixture of nature and nurture.

I first learned about the Enneagram about five years ago, and it has progressively impacted my life in some profound ways. Self-awareness for starters. Hypothetically, one might began to understand where one’s passive aggressive tendencies originate (cough cough). Also, I find I have a greater understanding and grace for the people in my life. Where before I might have (internally) punished someone for a frustrating response or habit, now I can see a little clearer from where things stem.

Here’s a little overview for the beginners out there. Please know that we are by no means experts on the Enneagram, not even close. We are learning, and realizing how helpful and useful it can be. So, of course, we wanted to share this model with our fellow MossyBrainers and dive deeper together!

A Few Basics

Each type belongs to a particular triad or center – gut or instinctive (8,9,1), heart (2,3,4), and head (5,6,7). In reality, we need all three centers to be fully integrated and awake to ourselves. The center that includes our personality type is our dominant center. With the three types in each center, there is a dominant emotional theme.  For the gut triad the emotion is anger, for the heart triad it is shame, and for the head triad- fear. Each type in the triad has a different way of coping with said emotion.

Every person has one dominant type and a wing, which means you lean into one of the adjacent numbers (i.e. If you’re a One, your wing would be either Nine or Two).  The wings are like another side to our personality and help bring balance. Some people are so firmly entrenched in their types, they don’t display much of either wing.  Some people have one very strong wing and relate immensely to that number. Others have two strong wings and are quite balanced with both. Usually it is one wing for your personality type but any of these can occur.

Integration and Disintegration

Each type disintegrates in times of stress to a different number and integrates in times of growth to another number. This is where things can feel complicated, but once you see it, it’s easier to understand (See diagram below).

I’ll quickly lay out the paths: type One will integrate to a Seven in times of growth and disintegrate to a Four in times of stress. Twos will integrate to a Four and disintegrate to an Eight. Type Three will integrate to a Six and disintegrate to a Nine. Fours will integrate to a One and disintegrate to a Two. An integrating Five goes to Eight and disintegrating Five goes to Seven. Type Six will integrate to a Nine and disintegrate to a Three. Sevens will integrate to a Five and disintegrate to a One under stress.  An integrating Eight goes to a Two and a disintegrating Eight goes to a Five.  Type Nine will integrate to Type Three and disintegrate to a Type Six.

There are levels of health that will affect how the number is developed in each individual; our personality will not be static, but will reflect how we change over time. We are often in a state of flux as to our level of health – unhealthy, average, or healthy. As you learn more about it, it becomes more clear, but the well of Enneagram information goes very deep. There is so much to it, and as time passes, I uncover more and more wisdom. Now let’s get into the different types!

The Nine Types of the Enneagram

Type One, The Perfectionist

Ones are the improvers of the Enneagram; not only do they see what needs to be improved in the world around them, but also within themselves.  They are logical, ethical, and principled, with very high standards. (Ahem – I don’t like to point out others faults, but Ones can also be perfectionistic and self-righteous).

Type Two, The Helper

Twos are interpersonal, warm, and generous. They focus on the needs of others, while also needing to be loved and appreciated for all the help they offer. (I hate to say this; Twos can also be incredibly manipulative and possessive).

Type Three, The Achiever

Threes are success-oriented, driven, charming, and image-conscious. They are  productive and ambitious, and will try to avoid failure at all costs. (This is getting awkward, so I’m just going to come right out and say it- Threes can be narcissistic and deceitful).

Type Four, The Romantic

Fours are creative and sensitive, with a need to be unique and to find meaning in everything. They desire to avoid the ordinary and be one-of-a-kind. (I really love Fours. But, just to give a full picture, they can also be self-absorbed and temperamental).

Type Five, The Investigator

Fives are the thinkers of the Enneagram. They need to know and understand the world around them, and tend to be independent and incredibly insightful. (Um. Isolated and cynical. Sorry Fives!)

Type Six, The Loyalist

Sixes are responsible, committed, likable, and security-conscious. They are faithful and dependable and want to feel taken care of.  (The word on the street is that Sixes can also be anxious and suspicious. Supposedly.)

Type Seven, The Enthusiast

Sevens are fun-loving, spontaneous, optimistic, and accomplished. They are always planning their next adventure and would like to avoid pain and suffering. (One of my favorite people ever is a Seven, so it pains me to say that Sevens can also be scattered and excessive. Love you, Honey).

Type Eight, The Challenger

Eights are powerful, assertive, resourceful, and in-control. They need to be strong and self-reliant, and to avoid weakness. (I would never say this, but some say Eights can be aggressive and combative. That doesn’t seem right to me, though. You’re perfectly delightful, Eights!).

Type Nine, The Peacemaker

Nines are receptive, reassuring, easy-going, and stable. They need to keep the peace and avoid conflict. (As a Nine, and as we are known for being self-effacing, I would have to agree that we can also be complacent and resigned. Whatever).

Further Information

I found an incredibly helpful book for me was The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile.  It contains a comprehensive overview of the Enneagram and is a great place to start the journey of understanding. There is also an accompanying podcast that interviews various people of each type, quite entertaining and informative!  An online resource I use that is a wealth of information is The Enneagram Institute.

The Enneagram is a useful tool to help us understand ourselves and each other, but it’s not the end-all-be-all or an excuse to pigeonhole people. There is a mystery to the wisdom of the Enneagram, and it offers compassion not only to others, but to ourselves.  It helps us understand our motivations, but encourages us not to stay trapped in our struggles and habits. The Enneagram can offer illumination and grace for how each of us relates to the world, and help us discover who we were created to be.

Share your Enneagram journey with us and let us know what number you are by emailing us or commenting below!

Jessica Beresh is a blogger and co-founder of MossyBrain. Along with her husband Ben, their 4 kids and their sweet puppy Charlie she resides in Broken Arrow OK. She is a 9 on the Enneagram, loves rainy days and drinking Chai in any form.

Connect with her on Facebook or jess@mossybrain.com.

You might also like…

TMBS Episode 7 – Kindness is Magic

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read more

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Have you ever felt creatively empty- unable to generate fresh ideas and think outside the box? Have you ever had a hard time getting started on a creative endeavor? If so, join the club of those of us unable to find our creative Flow. Flow is when the creativity...

read more

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