Your Growth Path
Unfortunately, in life, we do not always have the choice to stay in our personal comfort zone. We live in a world where things are always changing, where we are often surrounded by people who challenge us as we pass through the different stages of our lives. This requires us to grow even if we are not aware of it.
You may have experienced an awareness from within yourself, which prompts you to question your choices and behaviors, an awareness which reminds you of your true preferences as opposed to the actions which you often take out of habit. We are constantly on a journey of self-discovery, finding our way to a knowing which we always had within us. This knowing provides strength and motivation for us to learn more about ourselves and also courage to make changes in our lives.
In Enneagram this knowing is represented by specific qualities for each type. If focused upon and practiced, these qualities bring balance to the type, allowing our personality to grow and develop.
"We do not need to develop ourselves,
we just need to let go our old believes which blocks our personality."
Practice of the quality relative to our type not only helps us to grow but also to express ourselves more fully. The quality for number three, for example, is to be honest and true to themselves. Living by the model which they create, they begin to feel that something is not right. They start asking themselves questions and answering them honestly. They start wanting to be true to who they are and allow others to see them as who they truly are.
The number five begins to understand that they want to share the knowledge they have with others and this action brings them to the essence of their own being.
The expression 'true being' signifies a state of unity with everything that surrounds us. This is the state of mind where we do not experience any separation or conflicting feelings between our inner world and outer world. A state of being where we act from a core of intuition, where we have a sense of knowing what we need to do next. In this state the practiced voice becomes silent and all doubts disappear.
Often our subconscious goal is to restore ourselves to a state which may have been familiar to us in infancy or early childhood. We mistakenly believe that we can achieve that state by following our models or strategies when in fact we can only achieve it by changing our usual behavioural stereotypes and following the path of personality development offered to us by the Enneagram. This path can establish a more constant contact with our inner self, our essence and life can become simpler and more beautiful.
Our Holy Idea
Sometimes you see people in your surroundings who are open, balanced, stable and able to cope with stress easily, while others overreact to the environment, are emotionally unpredictable and unable to cope with stress. In the same way, we personally experience different states of being as we walk the path of our lives, moments when we enjoy life and see our most beautiful qualities, and also contrasting moments when we experience a difficult and dark period.
LEVELS OF PERSONALITY
The Enneagram divides personality development into the nine levels and describes the personal qualities which arise and also describes personal behaviors and problems we face. The levels are added in the description of each type individually, however, it is important to give you some knowledge to help you to understand how to read them.
Each of the types has nine levels of personal development: Healthy levels (1-3) indicates that we are very close to our true nature, average (4-6) indicates normal behavior of our type, most people in the world belong to this level, unhealthy (7-9) indicates that we are stuck in our personality model without choice, we usually need the help of others to bring awareness about our behavior. The higher level of our personal development we are, the freer we become from our identity, habits, and automatic, repetitive behavior. We become free to act spontaneously in the moment, we do not follow our old (described) personality model. We release our best qualities. The lower the level we are, the more we are stuck in the frames of our personality, in which we react with auto-responses, facing the same personal problems. In unhealthy levels, we lose our freedom of choice. We are completely controlled by our personality model and we do not have awareness of our behavior.
Moving to average levels
Most people are at the average levels of their personality, some have never experienced their unhealthy levels in this lifetime. Our personality levels can change very often for a short/long time, depending on our surroundings and the way we choose to live, but the core level at which we are does not change. Take as an example that our personality level is 5, in the morning we can feel very good, get up, almost like our personality feels on the second level, but when we go to work we are annoyed, loaded with jobs we don’t want to do and our personality level drops to 6. When a level falls or rises, we have different personality traits. Our levels may change often enough during the day, but the base level doesn’t change as often. It only changes when difficult life events such as divorce, death, or transformation occur after a long period of working with oneself. Mostly looking back at our past, we struggle to understand why we took one action or other. In this way we can feel that our personality level has changed, certain qualities are becoming unfamiliar.
„All life situations are just the tools to help us to work on
the true path of our life."
The presence of a personality at different levels challenges different personal characteristics. Their different motivations, behaviours, the way they look at the different situations, emotional state, and quality of relationships with others. No matter what level we are at, personal motivation comes from the highest level. And encourages us to grow. Often people see all levels of their personality and want to classify themselves as the highest, but I would recommend being sincere with yourself. Through honest acceptance of where you truly are, you will begin moving forward.
As I mentioned earlier, most people are at average levels with regard to personality development. At the average levels, we act according to the personality model described and try to hide our biggest fears, which evokes concentration on the highest desire. If the biggest fear of a number three is being worthless, he acts in ways which make him valuable in other people's eyes, however, if those around him do not respond in ways indicating they see he is valuable, he can start moving to lower levels, aggressively demanding the recognition of those around him. Also because the biggest fear of number three is being worthless, he begins to treat others as if they have no value. We act as we fear that others may treat us.
Each type moving from healthy to average levels receives a signal, which in the diagram is called the “Wake-up call”. This signal warns us that our personality is moving from a healthy level to average level. It is a warning to us that we are becoming increasingly controlled by our ego. For example, for nine, the "Wake up call" is a desire to avoid conflicts with others. When nines become controlled by their ego, they begin to say “yes” to things they don’t even want to do. (For each type description, I've provided more information on how this affects each type individually). As we move to average levels, we immediately begin to feel the need to behave according to our pattern of behavior and start looking for confirmation from those around us that we have been recognized. We come back to our personality model again and direct our focus to our biggest need (if you recall, for number three it would be - to feel valuable). When we become controlled by our personality pattern we begin to demand from others that they approve of our pattern of behavior. If those around us don’t support it, it causes conflict. We start demanding from others that they treat us just the way we want them to. We begin to accept only those people who support the image we have created. Conflicts begin because each type uses others to satisfy and validate the image they create. If the type does not receive approval from the surroundings, he begins aggressively demand the support of those around.
Moving to Unhealthy levels
There comes a misconception understanding that if you belittle others, you will exalt yourself. If number four is most afraid of being like everyone else, then he will treat others as they are not unique. This leads us to the transition to unhealthy levels.
Each type before moving to unhealthy levels receives a signal which in Enneagram is called "a red flag". It is a personal sign for us to notice ourselves in a right time and take measures to prevent us from moving to unhealthy levels where staying longer makes it difficult enough to get out later. “The red flag signals" are listed to each type’s full personality description. Let's look into the examples: as the number three moves from the average level to the unhealthy, he begins to receive a personal signal: “I am afraid I am failing, and my claims are empty and false” inside he begins to paranoid see its personal failures everywhere….Important to mention that only a few people fall into the unhealthy levels of personality. Usually, we move to these levels in the face of major personal crises: job loss, separation from someone dear to us, loss of loved ones, financial and health problems. At these levels, we become completely dependent on our personality model. Even realising that we are stuck, we really do not know how to find a way out and we need the help of others.
Healthy levels (WE ARE AT OUR BEST)
When we come to higher levels of personality, we feel relieved because when we look back we see in what frames we have lived for a long time. For us, it is as if all the traits that have had to live a long part of our lives have dwindled our chains. This does not mean that when you reach the second or third level, you are freed from your ego or basic type of desire. You are still depend anyway, but all of your qualities manifest at a higher level. Let's take the example of number eight: we already know that the main fear of the eight is vulnerability and control of others. At healthy levels, eight see themselves as strong, active, stubborn. They feel the need to prove these qualities to themselves and others, so they choose activities that require strength and will. They become true leaders, defending and creating the conditions for others to grow. If the two perceive themselves as loving, caring, on healthy levels, they begin to treat others as truly loving and caring. To remain at these levels, we must always be in the moment, because only by being in it will we be able to act freely, unmanaged by long-established personality models.
At the highest first level, we are liberated from our ego, it is no longer the basis on which our whole personality revolves. At this level, we break free from our personality model and become free. You’ll be surprised to find that you’ve always had all the qualities you’ve been trying to develop for so long, but you’ve been looking for them the wrong way. At this level, we achieve our true highest desire.
Please read below how each of the different types can help ourselves and take a path to personal growth. We all have our own path of improvement, so no matter where we start, the most important thing is to start today. By working with ourselves, we contribute to our personal freedom.