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The Enneagram: Finding Your Inner Essence


Chris Heuertz

It may seem like in some ways the Ennegram has just recently become all the rage in your friend group…. but the reality is that it has been around for thousands of years, friends!  Through this tool there is so much to learn personally about yourself and how you see and perceive the world and in many ways it is an ESSENTIAL tool in dating!

Our guest today, Chris Heurtz, is such an intelligent man. Chris is the author of the book “The Sacred Enneagram” and is an international enneagram associate accredited professional. He is also an incredible Humanitarian and has been involved with working against human trafficking and humanitarian relief while also being such a great Enneagram teacher. Chris believes that the Enneagram can be used to get back to health, wholeness and our true identity as God intended it to be.

So here are the show notes today from our interview with Chris Heuertz!

SHOW NOTES with Chris Heuertz:

Truth be told, the Enneagram has been around for thousands of years. Chris mentions though, that today we are actually working with an overlay of the enneagram in the last 40 or 50 years as it relates to personality specifically or typology.

What is the difference between The Enneagram and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator?

Many people love taking the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, however there is definitely a difference between the Myers Briggs and the Enneagram. 100 years ago the Enneagram was introduced as a process teaching, and this teaching had little to do with personality or human character structure. Then, about 40 or 50 years ago a Bolivian Wisdom teach named Oscar Ichazo began to introduce what he said was 108 Enneagons for the clarification of human consciousness. After this, a therapist from Chile Claudio Naranjo took all of this and started developing Enneagram types.

Today, in 2018  we use the Enneagram of Personality as a psycho-spiritual character structure tool that according to Chris shows us, “9 ways of being, 9 ways of seeing the world, 9 ways of interacting with reality“. Chris says that this reveals our ego set of coping addictions that we have wrapped up around our childhood wounds so that we do not have to tell ourselves the truth about who we really are. In essence, according to Chris we would rather “fortify our own projection of ego methodology than fortify our own essence so we can live in alignment with the creative purpose of our being.

In some ways people want to take the test and limit it down to quirks and caricatures , when it is really SO much more than that as we learned about in our conversation today. Chris says very frankly that “It is less about 9 types of people and more about 9 paths to God. It’s more about 9 paths back to your true self. 9 journeys home to get to that inward essence to be the person you were supposed to be.”

So what are the 9 types?

The Enneagram is a circle with 9 points equal distance from one another. Each point is correlated to a number and each number correlates to a type. The Enneagram Institute has assigned helpful names to each types, though Chris doesn’t always use these names or narratives because they assign more social roles but not essence. Regardless, we reference them today for your usage and reference!

Type 1 Overview: The Perfectionist or The Reformer

This type has an inner drive to be perfect. They are principled with high standards. They have a highly developed inner critic and replay what they said and did wrong frequently. They suffer a pain and frustration from an imperfect caregiver. As such, they take on more of a protective stance by holding things together through structure and adherence to principles. They are idealists overall. When they find a way to relax into their structure, have a lot of charm and playfulness overall!

Type 2 Overview: The Helper or The Giver

This type experienced a misperception of themselves in their childhood and rejection around their protective caregiver. They are the heart and the nurturers of the Enneagram. The Type 2’s are incredibly emotionally intelligent and self giving sometimes too much to their own expense. They are the most endearing with their sweetness, kindness and overall generosity but they also need to be loved very well.

Type 3 Overview: The Performer or The Achiever

3’s spent their childhood disconnected from their heart and attached to the nurturing caregiver as a proxy of feeling their own heart. In the emptiness of their heart the 3’s wanted to feel and so they began to reach outside their heart to bring things into their heart in order as a way to experience life. This is usually done in the way of affirmation, attention, and reward as well as being acknowledged. When they feel seen and recognized they felt like they were being loved. BUT this type is smarter than that and know this isn’t real love so their true ache is that they do not have inherent value a part from the things they accomplish.

They are driven and want to build a better world. They normally do this in communities and they sometimes are quiet leaders or forward leaders. They are incredibly competitive and this competition is a way to self perfect in order to in a sense earn their value and then feel loved. If you are a Type 3 you have to press into your own heart to experience the value that is already there and you have to acknowledge that you are loved and can be a source of LOVE for others.

Type 4 Overview: The Romantic or The Individualist

This type has the need to be unique. They suffer a fear that they have loss a sense of self or their own significance and personal identity. They end up seeing significance and beauty everywhere but truly in themselves. This fear drives them to curate a spectrum of intense and real emotions that can help them feel alive. When they can see beauty for themselves they can enter a sense of liberation where they let go of what they fantasized and dreamed about but never felt they could obtain.

This loop of self abandonment can be broken by acknowledgment and truth telling!

Type 5 Overview: The Observer and The Investigator

This type can be painfully misunderstood. Some of the words often used to describe them are greed, retention, stinginess but the reason being is because 5’s self protect as a way to move into their cerebral capacity to suss out the answers to complex questions. They need to be freed away from the frivolties of meaningless social engagement so they can give themselves what they think is the most meaningful way of coming back around to love others. The 5’s have a plethora of knowledge and information. They often will get to the bottom of everything as incredible learners.

Type 6 Overview: The Loyalist or The Skeptic

The 6’s are the threat forecasters and can often second guess themselves frequently. This can drum up a stress and anxiety for them, though simultaneously can sometimes be the thing they perceive is their social gift of loving others. If they can find the things that can go wrong and look through all the dangers in order to develop a contingency plan for the sake of others, that is how they feel they can protect us. This notion of cowardice is in effect them trying to face their fears as really a form of courage. At the same time, pressing into their fears and giving their fears power is how they find a means to love others.

Type 7 Overview: The Enthusiasm

This type is the need to avoid pain! They are an anomaly on the Enneagram. They do not have a natural connection to their heart at all. As kids they attached to their nurturing caregiver as a way of feeling their heart and this led to frustration that it is difficult to feel on their own. They are playful and funny and so much fun. They feel like they are dying in ways when their access to opportunities and resources are limited. FREEDOM is very essential and important to them. Because they are disconnected from their heart they can make amazing humanitarians and social workers because they tend to be able to press into pain without feeling it or being drawn into the drama and complexities of it.

Type 8 Overview: The Challenger

The need to be against. These are the ones that hate bullies but can also sometimes be the biggest bully. Hassle, sass, and hustle are their love languages. They often times fight to build trust and will push on people. There is a contrarian nature within them which is a self protective strategy of maintaining control. There is a pain that comes from their childhood of being lost or having been accelerated.

Type 9 Overview: The Mediator or Peacemaker

The 9’s are the world’s great referees. When activated they embody love and action better than the other 9 types. In their childhood they often minimized or hid their own needs and put the needs of the family member or others forward which then became their muscle memory of diminishing their sense of self in a way. They can sometime come across as detached and can in ways loose themselves. In coming into their own they have to find a way to feel their anger that they no longer have to repress their needs or sense of self as a child. When they can do this they can finally unlock a way to showg up and bringing the best of themselves.

What is the best test to take?

The best test to take is the RHETI test on the Enneagram Institute.

So WHY is the Enneagram so Important in Dating?

Where we can get stuck is using the Enneagram to fuel our own sense of narcissism. Chris says that “In terms of interpersonal relationships this allows the best of us to come forward and it compels us to observe the places that we get STUCK.” Further, the social styles and conflict avoidant styles can help you for ways in which you can get UNSTUCK when you are in relationships and not sure where to go or are at an impasse.

Other Resources:

David Daniels put together a grid with all Enneagram types and how they related to other types. You can find this HERE.

Helen Palmer “The Enneagram in Love and Work

What is the best timing to bring up the Enneagram to someone you are dating?

Chris tends to think there is not a huge problem with having a conversation on type if the two partners in the relationship are both aware of the teaching and their own type. However, in general we have to be careful to not weaponize the tool to type others because it can as Chris says “reduce people to fragments of their whole“.

If you understand the Enneagram at it’s core in relationships you can use that to learn compassion for yourself and for others. So if you are able to look at relationships through that lens even early on in the relationship, it will fuel connections and affections and what is lovable about someone.

Are there Ideal Enneagram TYPE PAIRINGS?!

Chris claims that you can’t really just pick the I want to partner with X or Y type. He thinks the mystery of chemistry is what makes relationships beautiful. Chris says “you have to learn to navigate the gifts and challenges of being different and what compatibility looks like.”

With that in mind, Chris does say that in some ways the most difficult pairings might actually be being with someone who is your SAME type. This is because in ways one of the individuals is going to have to repress one of the parts of themselves to allow the dominance of their partner to come forward.

The Harmony Triads

3,6,9 are pragmatic people. You often see them working to relate to one another really well, finding really easy or effortless friendships.

1,4,7 are frustrated idealists. They are drawn to one another and in these spaces they are respecting the idealism of the other while going on vacation from what is frustrating them about their specfic type of idealist

8,2, 5 Come together in a way though very difficult also come together as very good friends.

This is not to say this is necessarily the best kinds of pairing for relationships, but rather ends up being as Chris says “a natural kind of settling of kinds of people in larger communities and organizations or friendship circles“.

The Intelligent Centers

There are 3 moving forces in the world- instincts in our body, our feelings in our heart, and our thoughts in our head. This comes up in the teachings of all the greatest religions!

Head Types: 4, 6, 7

Heart Types: 2, 3, 4

Body Types: 8,9,1

Your instincts, feelings, or your thoughts is how you primarily PERCEIVE the world. The great secret is this is where you can learn to practice discernment and becomes a place where you can understand your instincts, feelings, and thoughts. Through that Chris says ,”That is when you learn to trust yourself. That is where you learn to make your best decisions. That is what shows you what is good, true, and beautiful and the way to get there for your own journey.”

*Understanding the Intelligent Centers is crucial to understanding the Enneagram!*

Why is it important to understand a deep and true love and understanding of love for ourselves?

In many ways in Christian traditions the heart has been given more prominence over our instincts and our mind. This is why even when we say prayers we close our eyes and bow our heads because in a sense we are putting our minds into our hearts. We hold our hands over our heart which is in a sense holding our heart. It is really important it understand the heart but also know that it is one of 3 parts. It is important to keep the heart accountable to the body and mind as well just as it is to keep accountable the body and heart if you are a head driven person and the head and the heart if you are a body driven person.

The Object Relations Theory Overlay

Chris explains this interestingly for us. He mentions that at a certain point in our infancy we realize we are not the parent and instead discover that we were the object. In that objectification we begin to distance ourselves and then begin to understand ourselves in relation to the parent. We then begin to realize that we either relate to our protective or nurturing caregiver through one of 3 ways: rejection, attachment, or frustration. This can lead to a lot of healing to your parents or parents. So much of what you might be struggling with in your interpersonal or dating relationship can be tied to your frustration, rejection or attachment to one or both of your parents.

Frustration Types: 1,4,7

Attachment Types: 3, 6, 9

Rejection Types: 5, 8, 2

Helpful Contemplative Practices

If you are going to do your inner work and find healing from the pain of your childhood wounds, then Chris highly recommends contemplative practices. The contemplative practices for your own liberation offer a way of holding or a posture for how you pray.

Best Contemplative Practice for Body Types: Stillness

Best Contemplative Practice for Feeling Types: Solitude

Best Contemplative Practice for Mind Types: Silence

Through these 3 practices you can tap into 3 mindfulness intentions of consent, engagement, and rest. Then when you take these 3 mindfulness intentions and wrap them around the Enneagram you get 9 unique combinations that do not overlap. Chris believes that it is here that the Enneagram shows us that it is less about 9 types of people and 9 paths to God!

We hope you sincerely enjoy this episode and learning about the Enneagram as much as we do. This was SO eye opening and mind blowing and we truly believe it can help us to come to a better understanding of ourselves and how to better love others.

Other Resources:

Visit Chris’s website HERE

Visit his other website, Gravity Center, HERE

Visit the Sacred Enneagram Website HERE.

Order his book The Sacred Enneagram

See his full schedule of Workshops & Retreats

Follow Chris on Instagram!

See David Daniels Enneagram Relationship Grid HERE.

Get Helen Palmer’s  The Enneagram in Love and Work

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