First, if you havenít yet, learn the system yourself instead of relying on others who donít know what theyíre doing to type youówhich isnít to say you have to become an Enneagram scholar. Tests arenít reliable either, at their the best being around 70% accurate (even Don Riso admits that his acclaimed RHETI has an overall accuracy of 72%).
When youíre fluent with the 9 types, if youíre still undecided between two or more as your main type, compare the security and stress types of each of those. You may already know about the stress and security points, but people tend to overlook them as indicators when unable to decide between types.
For example: type 5s go to type 7 under stress, losing their trademark focus and concentration and becoming scattered and impulsive. Likewise, in situations or environments theyíre more comfortable in, normally reserved 5s can become 8-ish (bossy, domineering, confrontational, etc). Thus, the 7 and 8 patterns are important to a 5. Now letís say youíre trying to decide between 4 and 5 as your main type. Reviewing your life, not just the present, you would then likewise consider 4ís stress and security points: 2 and 1. In most cases it should be clear which pair of stress and security patterns fit you better.
A list of the stress and security points of every type
1: 4 (stress), 7 (security/integration)
2: 8, 4
3: 9, 6
4: 2, 1
5: 7, 8
6: 3, 9
7: 1, 5
8: 5, 2
9: 6, 3
You also have to allow that, though pretty accurate, the Enneagramís not a perfect system. You may not find a description you strongly identify with in any one type or subtype.
Finally, when you know your type, donít become too attached to it. The Enneagram was designed to help you free yourself from that kind of overattachment to self and personality Ė though certain Enneagram gurus do take the quasi Eastern religion approach too far, going to the ďself and world are only illusions and the personality is a disease you need to be cured ofĒ extreme. Some of you, however, could use a dose of the Buddha potion for grasping too much at identity and validation. This ends up being a Narcissus trap that erases the fine line between self-awareness and self-obsession. Essentially, the formula is to use your Enneagram type as a map to guide you through your inner terrain (personality fixations or complexes) to connect more with your center.
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