A blanket with a cup of hot chocolate, coloring materials, a lit candle, and red pillow on top.

How To Use the Enneagram For Self Care

Phoebe Hurwitz Jul 06, 2023

Personality tests have become increasingly popular in recent years, helping us forge a deeper understanding of ourselves and how we interact in the world. And, while not a new concept, the Enneagram has increasingly become a self-discovery technique many are turning to for its insight and introspection, furnishing its users with relatable and actionable plans for growth and a greater understanding of both our positive and negative traits.

OK, so what actually is the Enneagram? It’s a personality tool that breaks down human behavior patterns into nine types. It also maps the types of interactions and relationships between each type and outlines some of the basic motivations, fears, and predictable behaviors of each type. 

And, the great thing about the Enneagram is learning your type is just the first step in the journey. Once you know your type, you can really dig into books, articles, and podcasts to learn more about your type, and how to use it to create a personalized roadmap for self-growth and relational health. It can help you identify traits you want to improve, supporting your relationships with others, your career, and even down to how you manage your finances. It’s all about who you are and who you have the potential to be.


The Enneagram Type

1. The Reformer: The Rational, Idealistic Type: principled, purposeful, self controlled, and perfectionist.

2. The Helper: The Caring, Interpersonal Type: demonstrative, generous, people-pleasing, and possessive.

3. The Achiever: The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: adaptive, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.

4. The Individualist: The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.

5. The Investigator: The Intense, Cerebral Type: perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.

6. The Loyalist: The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.

7. The Enthusiast: The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: spontaneous, versatile, distractible, and scattered.

8. The Challenger: The Powerful, Dominating Type: self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.

9. The Peacemaker: The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent.

So how do you know what Enneagram type you are? For some people it’s super clear when they read up on the types, instantly relating to one. For others, several types may resonate and it’s harder to find the one that is truly you. In this instance there are free tests available which may help you find your type. Most Enneagram experts advise reading up on it as much as possible and really digging deep into yourself in the process. 


What Are Enneagram Wings?

Once you’ve found your type and you’re pretty sure it’s a fit, you can start to think about wings. Wings are the numbers either side of your type, so if you’re an Enneagram Nine your wings could be Eight or One. Wings are a balancing force in your type. You’ll likely have some traits of both wings, and the goal is to have equal parts of both wings, but in some cases when you’re still in a place of discovery, one wing can be more dominant. And, the wings can fluctuate as you journey through life too. 

Let’s say that you are a Four wing Five, for example. As a type Four, you might have a tendency to keep to yourself. The Five wing may exacerbate this and make you more reserved and isolated. Or, you could use your wing as a resource to improve your mental wellbeing by playing to the strengths of your wing. 


How To Use the Enneagram In Your Growth

So once you’ve figured out your type and you have a decent sense of your wings, the question a lot of people ask is; “what now?” There are loads of Instagram and TikTok accounts dedicated to demystifying all aspects of the Enneagram and making it more easy to understand. There are also podcasts like Enneagram and Coffee and The Enneagram Journey

And, if you’re wondering whether Enneagram is really for you, ask yourself what your goals truly are. If self-care, awareness, and a deeper understanding of your emotions how to manage them are all on that list, then the Enneagram could be for you.


What are your thoughts on the Enneagram? Do you know your type? Tag us on social media at #LifeUnzipped and share all your thoughts.