These profiles have a more negative slant than a lot of Enneagram write-ups, for the reason of ‘shocking’ you into self-awareness of the destructive habits of each Enneagram type. It’s also useful to remember: the healthier you are as this type, the less you will identify with the more ‘extreme’ points of these personalities. A healthy 4 may identify with the sense of self-alienation and rejection from the outside world, but not the perpetual unhappiness. A 6 may identify with the extreme logic / caution but not the neurotic paranoia. An 8 may identify with the need to ‘be against’ but not the pathological aggression. Etc.

It’s about evaluating your deeper impulses, defense mechanisms, and the lies you tell yourself and not focusing primarily on behaviors.

The path to spiritual awareness and healing comes from learning to recognize these tendencies in yourself with enough awareness to notice each time your lies and defense mechanisms kick into place. This kind of self-observation allows you to grow into total awareness of yourself at all times, and recognize the CHOICE you face in giving in to your instinct (your number) or whether you will choose to do the opposite, in an effort of self-transformation. (The 5 allowing self to engage, rather than distance itself; the 2 asking for what they need, rather than only giving all the time; the 9 saying “no” when it doesn’t want to do that.)

Enneagram teachers disagree on how to grow yourself, but all agree that self-awareness and total honesty as regards your true motives is crucial. Many suggest a period of self-observation and journaling in retrospect, looking at various situations in which you can provide exact examples of when the outside world ‘threatened’ you into using your coping mechanisms (of your core and wing). This retrospective self-evaluation will enable you to see how your number’s methods have worked in the past, to further bring you into present self-awareness. The path forward is up to you – some choose building from the inside out through internal change (reflection, meditation, self-questioning), others alter their behavior first (eg: doing the opposite of what their first inclination is, to break the cycle).