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One of the most frustrating things about the Enneagram (for me) is when people use it to put themselves in a box. “Oh, I’m a 6, I can’t do that.” “That’s so typical for a 1.” “That’s just the way he is—he’s a 9.” And so on.

Locked into Your Personality

The whole point of the Enneagram isn’t just to have a set of labels you can use to describe yourself and others. If you find out your number, and just “stay in your lane” so to speak, the Enneagram hasn’t actually done anything for you. You are still doing the exact same things you have always done. You are locked into your personality—behaving in the same rigid ways that you always have.

Catch Yourself

The magic of the Enneagram is that once you know your number, you are able to “catch yourself” when you are acting according to your number. The goal is to make the unconscious conscious. Then, when you catch yourself, you can press the pause button and perhaps reconsider what you would like to do. Instead of operating on autopilot, you are making conscious choices, hopefully in the direction of your personal and spiritual growth.

You Are Not Your Number

You are not your number. You are not your personality. Your personality has its roots in genetics and biology, but it also developed over time as you worked to deal with your pain and get your needs met. Over time, these strategies “harden” and form your personality. Like grooves on a dirt road, you behave in ways that are consistent with your personality, even if these actions aren’t serving you anymore.

Flexibility and Letting Go

Personal and spiritual growth involves “letting go” of your natural tendencies to act and behave in certain ways, and becoming more flexible. The fullness of humanity is expressed in all nine numbers on the Enneagram. Don’t limit yourself to the one way of being that is most comfortable to you. Stretch yourself and search out your full potential. Be the full person that God created you to be.

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