What is the most common bewailment I see on EnneaTwitter these days? You guessed it:
“I’m so confused, I can’t figure out my type. Please help!”
If you are a human person (there has been a rather large surge in cat typing lately) and trying to figure out your type, please read this short blog about mistyping to make yourself feel better. Will this be the blog that finally lands the plane about whether you’re a Type Two or Type Four? No. You will, sadly, like the rest of us plebes, have to keep reading all the great books and blogs out there and continue trudging on the journey to self-discovery.
Because, most importantly, only you can type you.
Yes, truth. Probably the most infuriating thing about mistyping is that in the quest for answers, it’s easy to forget that everything needed lies within. The quizzes might point you in the right direction or they might confuse you. They are tools, just like books, blogs, and podcasts are all tools to facilitate the teaching of the Enneagram so you can decide all on your own what hellish/amazing path of self-work, compassion, growth, and revelation to take. Finding out your type is not as simple as picking a number, it’s discovering what survival skills your brain, nurturing, personality, and circumstances created to help you get to the very place where you realize they’re not so hot anymore.
We don’t hate them; they kept you safe. But once you find your type, it’s, “I love you type for getting me this far and now I need to rediscover the myriad freaking amazing qualities about my true self I forgot.”
The Enneagram is a lot of work you all!
And on this path of self-discovery, it is utterly normal and totally expected that you will mistype yourself.
I might even dare to say that mistyping is part of the typing process.
This can happen for so many different reasons. I’ll list a few:
3. Societal expectations/ cultural conditioning
4. Gender identification
5. Sexual identity
6. Family history & expectations
9. Body image issues
10. Religious upbringing
11. Being human
Honestly, that’s really the thing. Being human means that most likely everyone will mistype at some point. (Even Eights. Yes, I know you Eights are always the first to be all, “Not me!” But maybe you’re not an Eight, maybe you’re a stressed-the-fuck-out Two and in a year you’ll figure that out.)
Here are a couple things I’ve found helpful during the typing and mistyping process. Keep in mind that I’m a 5w4 and spent an entire year thinking for sure I was a Type Four. Turns out that I’m only partially a snowflake and mostly a nerd turtle! So I understand your confusion, but it will get better, I promise.
1. Look at the number you think you are and research its stress and health arrows. Become familiar with what behaviors that type might exhibit when healthy and when stressed out. Do you exhibit any of the same thought, feeling, and doing patterns? Consider that you might be either the stressed number or the healthy number of the type you originally started with.
2. Think about how you move around in the world. Do you seem like a person who lives and breathes your feelings? Is everything about emotion and relationships? If so, a good place to start is the Heart Triad: Numbers Two, Three, and Four.
Do you think, think, and think some more? Is everything carefully planned or researched? Then investigate the Head Triad: Numbers Five, Six, and Seven.
Are you a do-er? Is acting from your gut second nature? You just know what to do and go out and make it happen? Start with the Body Triad: Numbers Eight, Nine, and One.
3. Stances. Stances, in brief, are the energy planes in which you unconsciously live and emote and think. They also relate to how you orient yourself to time.
Threes, Sevens, and Eights are in the Aggressive Stance and go out to meet the world with lots of energy and force of will. They tend to do what they want and accomplish things with zest and passion. They are also future-oriented, meaning their thoughts and feelings are often forecasts of what they think will happen, not what’s actually occurring in the moment.
Fours, Fives, and Nine are in the Withdrawing Stance which means they find equilibrium by removing themselves from the world to process or deal with the events that life throws at them. They are past-oriented, tending to dwell on memories or things that have just happened, often filtering the now through the then.
Twos, Sixes, and Ones are in the Compliant Stance which means they move along with the people and events around them, not quite being in touch with their own energy. They mold into what is either expected of them or what they feel is expected. They are present-oriented, having a grasp of the moment, but little thought goes to the future or remembrance of the past.
I hope that helps a bit on your typing journey. Remember to be kind to yourself, it all takes time. Time and love.