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Do You Decide with Your Head, Heart, or Body?

We all navigate the world in our own ways, making it a diverse and fascinating place. While some of us naturally react to our surroundings from our heads, others navigate from a more heartfelt or physical space. 

The Enneagram of Personality offers a framework to understand nine core personality types and how individuals with these personalities interact with others and express themselves. While Enneagram personality typing is often used in the mental health, business, and spiritual realms, it’s also an excellent tool for self-discovery for those who want to learn more about their own core fears and desires.

What are Enneagram personality types?

We all have unique gifts and beliefs that come into play in our daily lives. But most of us go through life not fully understanding why we act and react the way we do. The power of the Enneagram is that it can help us understand and transform our self-limiting thoughts and behaviors so we can more fully and mindfully show up in the world. 

The Enneagram is a system of personality typing that reflects how people with certain core personalities interpret the world around them and interact with others. It teaches that everyone has a dominant temperament that has allowed them to cope and protect themselves beginning from childhood. 

There are nine personality types in the Enneagram, each type having motivations, fears, and desires centered in one of three triads of intelligence: head-centered or thinking personalities, heart-centered or feeling/empathic personalities, and body-centered or personalities that work from gut instincts. In each case, a personality can work from a healthy place, an adversarial place, or on autopilot. 

Nine Enneagram personality types

The Reformer, or Enneagram Type 1

You are rational, principled, self-controlled, and perfectionistic with a strong sense of right and wrong. While you personally strive for integrity, you can be judgmental and uncompromising toward yourself and others.

The Helper, or Enneagram Type 2

You are a generous and genuine people-pleaser with a strong need to be loved. At times, you may come across as needy. Your need to please others often puts you in a position of denying your own needs to ensure others are happy.

The Achiever, or Enneagram Type 3

You are successful and hardworking, and you often come across as an overachiever. You can be too image-conscious in your drive to excel and focus more on success than feelings. 

The Individualist, or Enneagram Type 4

You are a sensitive and creative forward-thinker with a strong sense of who you are. On the flip side, you can feel innately flawed, be temperamental, and sometimes come across as self-centered. 

The Investigator, or Enneagram Type 5

You are a quiet, thoughtful, and logical person who ponders things deeply. While highly perceptive of the world around you, you can often appear unemotional and detached.

The Loyalist, or Enneagram Type 6

You are trustworthy, devoted, and safety-oriented. While engaging and responsible, you can worry too much and dwell on what could go wrong.

The Enthusiast, or Enneagram Type 7

You are a spontaneous extrovert who loves people and new adventures. While you’re good at seeing the bright side of things, you are easily distracted and can lack focus.

The Challenger, or Enneagram Type 8

You are outspoken, decisive, self-confident, and often sought out for leadership roles. However, you can also be seen as confrontational and aggressive. 

The Peacemaker, or Enneagram Type 9

You are easy-going and non-confrontational. Because you need harmony and dislike disagreement, you can tend to ignore your own needs to ensure peace. 

For each personality type, there is a set of core strengths, weaknesses, and fears that can surface given the right set of circumstances. According to Enneagram theory, core personalities don’t change, but because you constantly shift between the attributes and well-being of your personality, not all aspects of your basic personality type will be apparent all the time. 

What are head, heart, and body intelligences?

Each Enneagram personality type falls into one of the three body intelligences: head, heart, and body. 

Head-centered intelligence

Investigators, Loyalists, and Enthusiasts fall under head-centered intelligence. Head-centered personalities rely on rational thought to make sense of the world and feel safe. Conversely, they can also get trapped into over-analyzing and become paralyzed by that analysis. 

Heart-centered intelligence

Helpers, Achievers, and Individualists are heart-centered personalities. They rely on feelings of empathy, relationships, and authenticity to make sense of their world. But the unhealthy side of heart-centered personalities can show up as emotionally manipulative, overly sensitive, or even insensitive. 

Body-centered intelligence

Challengers, Peacemakers, and Reformers are body-centered personalities who are instinctually based. They take action and control in the world and consider respect, protection, and worthiness as vital traits. These, taken to an extreme, can result in overachievement, excessiveness, and resentment of others.

Advice for handling adversity 

While each intelligence can work from a place of health or neutrality, each can also work from a place of adversity. Understanding which intelligence you work from can give you insight into why you react the way you do or make the decisions you make. This presents many opportunities for positive self-growth. 

Head 

The head intelligence can manifest its unhealthy side in fear and insecurity. Investigators can learn to trust their opinions on subjects even if they don’t feel like they have enough information to have an opinion. Loyalists can work to rein in their anxious thoughts to help them feel less fearful and more in control. Enthusiasts can help quash fears by creating a sense of organization and commitment to projects and by not rushing into things merely to find relief from their fear.

Heart 

The heart intelligence’s unhealthy side is shame. Helpers can learn to understand that they have a right to have their own expectations and have their needs put first. Achievers can allow themselves some leeway when a project is less than perfect and can learn to express vulnerability which, in turn, can lead to authentic connections. Individualists can learn how to cultivate support for others instead of always focusing on themselves and let their emotions settle before they overreact.

Body

The body intelligence's unhealthy side is anger. Challengers must realize that not everything in life needs to be a competitive battle. Peacemakers can understand that some confrontation may be necessary in life, and letting negative emotions build up can take a mental and physical toll. Reformers must remember that nobody is perfect and accept the inevitable mistakes that will be made along the way. 

Take the Enneagram personality test

Do you ever wonder why you make decisions and react the way you do? Learning more about your personality type allows you to better understand how you view the world around you and can offer a more insightful way to navigate your life, work, and relationships. Taking the Enneagram personality test can offer insight into your motivations, fears, and decisions so you can move forward purposefully instead of from a reactionary place. 

Suggested reading: Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type and Divorce

Divorce, like many of life’s challenges, can open a door to profound self-discovery when you approach it with curiosity and mindfulness. Tools like the Enneagram personality theory can help you learn more about your relationship with yourself and those around you.

Whether you use self-discovery tools like the Enneagram, journaling, self-care, or meditation – or you prefer a more support-driven approach like therapy – divorce can be a time of critical personal growth and self-knowledge. 

At Hello Divorce, one of our greatest joys is helping others on their journey of self-awareness. Take advantage of our extensive resources, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to find out how we can support your growth through divorce and beyond.