“Hi, my name is Andrea, and I am a three.”
This would be my preferred way for us all to begin conversations. If you know the enneagram, this will help you tremendously know about me and how I operate. And when you introduce yourself with your number, I will have a head start on knowing you. And when we operate in increased understanding of one another, the world gets a little bit better.
If you are not familiar with the increasingly popular enneagram, here is a little summary from one of the enneagram matriarchs, Suzanne Stabile, author of two of my favorite books on the subject.
The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that identifies Nine Personality Types that are expressed individually and in relationship to others. Unlike Marston’s DiSC™ Assessment or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™, the Enneagram acts as a unique tool for understanding and explaining human behavior, and the underlying motivations that drive behavior and the gifts we all have for the transformation of non-productive encounters with others.
What does this have to do with motherhood? What is my number? How can knowing one number be useful for becoming a better mother? Here are three steps to using the enneagram to make you the best mother you can be:
- Find your number. Most enneagram experts will agree that the best way to determine your number is not through a test, but reading through descriptions of each number and deciding for yourself what fits you. In my experience, it is when you read the challenges and weaknesses of a certain number and you find one that makes your soul feel exposed and raw and like you are standing in Times Square naked, bingo, that’s your number.
- Learn about the healthy and unhealthy ways your number manifests itself. There is no bad number. There is no good number. Every number on the enneagram has healthy and unhealthy members and healthy and undealthy behaviors. On any given day, I experience the positives and negatives in my number. There are wonderful sevens and terrible sevens. And fives! And eights! This is all just a framework for better understanding of your own internal motives. When you know yourself, you can be honest about your needs and when to ask for help and to capitalize on your strengths!
- Take action. When you understand how you see things, and what your motives are, you can better take control of your actions and you can have grace for others who might not see things the way that you do. In motherhood, I know that I am a three- a performer in everything I do, including parenting. That can mean that I place some unrealistic expectations on my children and my husband that are more about validation for me than their own good. I am actively taking steps to make sure that the motherhood decisions I make are for the right reasons and the good of my family.
I love the enneagram, and some of my favorite enneagram resources are linked below. I don’t love it because it answers my questions, but rather because it gives me the tools to dig in and find answers myself. The single best thing I have done for my marriage lately is learn what my husband’s number is and read all I could about it. We are kinder and more empathetic partners and parents because we understand the other person’s language. So give it a try, and your kids will thank you.
Want to incorporate the enneagram into your everyday life? Here are some of my favorite resources:
Instagrams to follow:
I put in my and my husband’s number and it is like someone has been spying on us. Both humbling and incredibly helpful.