What the Enneagram Taught Me About Self-Love

What’s so great about personality tests? Okay, guest blogger Melodie Castellanos, enlighten me:

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably taken a personality test. For the sake of accurate statistics—I won’t give a random numerical percentage—but I do believe it’s safe to say that if you are, in fact, a human being who stumbled upon this blog post, there is a pretty big chance you’ve taken some sort of personality test.

You spent some time online, answered some questions (on a free website, because, hello, who likes paying money to take tests?), and found out you’re more comfortable spending time with small groups of people. Or you’re likely to exhibit a dominant personality in the workplace.

And those are all good things to learn. But those sorts of personality tests tend to reveal what we should (hopefully) already know about ourselves.

How much life do you have to live before you figure out that you’d rather spend Friday night at the movies with your friends than at home by yourself?

That’s why the Enneagram completely changed the game for me.

Here’s the way I see the Enneagram: it’s a psychological approach to personality that claims to reveal the essence of who we truly are. The “why” behind what we do every day.

On the surface, it looks like just another test that assigns a personality, celebrates the good, exposes the ugly, and locks you in a numerical box forever. But in my experience, the Enneagram has been just the opposite.

I’ll never forget the Thursday evening I sat in the living room of my friend Mark’s house when he read the Enneagram Type 6 description to me. It felt like Mark googled my full name and found an article written by one of the many monsters in my closet.

Particularly a monster by the name of Insecurity.

Not the kind of insecurity we talk about in day-to-day language. Like insecurity about body image, about intelligence, about money.

I’m talking about the Insecurity that Enneagram type 6s carry in their backpacks every day. That talks 24/7 with no signs of stopping. That says things like:

“You haven’t worked hard enough to establish the security you need in life.”

“The people closest to you are nice, but they can never be fully trusted.”

“You can’t even trust yourself, so make sure the people in your life think you’re an incredible person, or else you’re really left with no one.”

(Hi, my name’s Melodie and I’m a security-oriented Loyalist. Welcome to my suspicious brain.)

As Mark sat there, reading sentence after sentence that described the inner conflict I have (previously unknowingly) battled my entire life, it hurt.

And when I took the paid test and got back my results, it hurt.

And that night when I got anxious about being anxious and had trouble breathing, I cried myself to sleep.

To this day, I have no words to describe how thankful I am for that rude awakening of awareness.

See, the Enneagram results were so much more than, “This is what’s wrong with you, Melodie.” Reading through the results felt like someone was asking me:

“You know you have permission to be yourself, right?”

Over the last few months, the Enneagram has helped me discover the emotional tools I never knew I needed. Now, when I’m anxious, I don’t let myself get Anxiety Squared (anxiety about anxiety).

I pause and say to myself, “You’ve been here before. You’re more courageous than you’ll ever know yourself to be. But believe that you are and breathe. Breathe.”

You may be reading this wondering whether a few hundred words about the Enneagram were worth your time. But I hope you can hear the song I’m really trying to sing: you are allowed to be you. One-hundred percent of the time.

The lies that you believe about yourself, about your worth, about your strength—well, they’re exactly that. Lies. Yes, you have your places of weakness. But don’t be scared of them. You’ll be amazed to see what can grow there.

-Melodie

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

“If you can’t tell, I’m a type 6. Don’t ask me what my wing is because I can have two if I want.

I grew up in New York and I miss the city every day, but Florida’s not too bad.

Music is a huge part of my life. I’ve been playing guitar for 10+ years. When I’m not practicing guitar or teaching guitar or selling guitars, I’m probably making a new Spotify playlist or watching an NPR Tiny Desk video.

The three books that changed my life are Scary Close by Donald Miller, Love Does by Bob Goff, and Desiring God by John Piper.

If you ever see me crying in front of my laptop screen, I’m either watching a powerful Ted Talk or an episode of This Is Us. If you ever see me crying while I drive, I’m either listening to a Fun Therapy podcast episode. Or the Typology podcast—the episode called So Six-y It Hurts is worth a listen if you relate to how I describe myself. You can find out if you’re a 6 like me.”

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