“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”
The Enneagram describes 9 types. Easy peasy, right? But just when we get to know the 9 types, we start hearing about wings and subtypes. Wait, what? All of a sudden, we go from 9 personality types to 18 wings and 27 subtypes! What once seemed pretty understandable now seems far more complex. Just what are Enneagram wings and subtypes?
The 9 Enneagram types give us a way to immediately identify pretty familiar character traits in ourselves and others. It isn’t to make assumptions about people; it’s a way to understand how we and others react and move through life due to motivating fears we’ve developed in reaction to our life experiences. This knowledge helps us to recognize and let go of traits that may not be serving our higher purpose, as well as develop grace and compassion for the why behind our and others’ actions and reactions. Enneagram types are an extraordinary tool for a more health-filled life.
So then, why wings? Enneagram wings are traits and behaviors from adjacent types. We are complex creatures. We have one predominant motivation, but our personalities are not in lockstep. With wings, we begin to see a more robust picture. The dominant 8 that loves fun and wings 7. The helpful 2 with great organizational skills that wings 1. If types are the primary colors, wings are the secondary colors that allow us to add dimension through light and shade.
But then, what are subtypes? Subtypes are where we dig in. Unlike wings, subtypes are not dependent on the Enneagram number. Just as Michelangelo said of the marble, subtypes are already there.
Whereas personality is how we have learned to cope with the slings and arrows of a fallen world, subtypes are granular. They are in our DNA. They are not learned behaviors or coping skills. They are how God created each of us to do relationships. God has created a trinity of types for all social animals to communicate in complex relationships with each other. The 9 Enneagram types are how we have learned to cope. Subtypes are how we lead out.
Want to learn what the subtypes are and more about how they reveal themselves in our Enneagram types? Join us in November for our Enneagram and the Bible study.
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