3 Ways to Find YOUR Enneagram Number + 9 Healing Attitudes to Accept It {Enneagram Series #4}

What’s your number?

As soon as the Enneagram comes up in conversations, that is the question that’s asked.

Do you know your number? And if you don’t, how can you determine what your number is? Here are three ways to find your Enneagram number.

Plus find nine healing attitudes to pray through to accept your number with grace.

Find Enneagram Number

The More You Know

To use the Enneagram as a spiritual tool for growth, learn your number. Or at least narrow it down to two or three numbers. It may take a few months to settle on just one number.

They say the most common number is type 6, then 9. The least common? Type 4. The most often confused? 9s and 2s. 5s and 1s are also often confused. I spent several months convinced I was a 1, only later to decide I was more likely a 5.

Remember that no number is better or worse than any other number.

We’ll continue looking at a variety of ways to help you determine your number as the series progresses. (Such as, which triad do you most relate to? Heart types are 2s, 3s, and 4s. Head types are 5s, 6s, and 7s. Gut types are 8s, 9s, and 1s.)

The more you know, the more you can grow. 

3 Ways to Find Your Enneagram Number

Here are three ways to determine your Enneagram type. And one way NOT to.

(1) Read descriptions

Series #3 looked at labels, along with core fears and desires. Today we’ll look at longer descriptions, the essence of the Enneagram.

Reading descriptions is the best way to determine your type and narrow down possibilities. Which type reminds you of yourself? Which type do you know you are NOT?

The following type descriptions are excerpted from The Enneagram Institute. Click on each name to get a fuller description.

Type 1—The Perfectionist

“Ones are conscientious, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers and advocates for change: striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized and fastidious, they maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic.”

Type 2—The Helper

“Twos are empathetic and warm-hearted. They are friendly and self-sacrificing, but can also be people-pleasers. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed.”

Type 3—The Performer

“Threes are self-assured and charming. Ambitious and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them.”

Type 4—The Romantic

“Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living.”

Type 5—The Investigator

“Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense.”

Type 6—The Loyalist

“Sixes are security-oriented, reliable, and hard-working. Excellent troubleshooters, they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also defiant and rebellious.”

Type 7—The Enthusiast

“Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, and spontaneous. Playful and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended and scattered. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go.”

Type 8—The Challenger

“Eights are self-confident and assertive. Protective, straight-talking, and decisive, they can also be egocentric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating.”

Type 9—The Peacemaker

“Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and without conflict, but they can also be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting.”

Other Factors

Sometimes narrowing it down between two or three types is as close as you can get for now. That’s okay. Don’t be in a rush to figure it out. The more you learn, the more you’ll identify with one main type.

There are also many intricacies within each type (triads, stances, etc.). Two people with the same type may look very different in their behaviors. And two people with different types may behave the same.

That’s because type is not determined by outward behaviors. It is determined by inward motives.

WHY you do what you do is more important in typing yourself than WHAT you do.

For example: You, another friend, and I are all attending the same party. Perhaps you’re there to make business connections. Our friend is there because she doesn’t want to miss out on a fun adventure. I’m there to avoid feeling guilty if I hadn’t gone. Outside behaviors = same. Inner motivations = 3 different ones.

Our motivations behind the actions determine our type, not our outward behaviors.

(2) Take a test

A second way to determine your Enneagram type is to take a test. This may seem the easiest way. Answer a few questions and let the results give you an answer.

But is it the most accurate way? Many experts say tests are not accurate.

However, the better tests can help you narrow it down. Compare your results with the type descriptions. Does the result accurately describe who you are? If it doesn’t seem right, the test may be wrong. Go with your gut instinct instead.

Wednesday’s post, Series #5, will link to several online tests that are most recommended by experts. (But even so, only you can decide if they’re accurate.)

(3) Talk to an expert

Spending one-on-one time with an Enneagram expert can also help narrow down your type. They know the best questions to ask, and follow-up questions to ask next. If you’re especially stuck deciding between two types, an expert might help you break the logjam.

How You Should NOT Determine Your Type

Friends don’t type friends. Don’t let somebody else tell you what your number is.

Even though it can be a fun party trick, people shouldn’t type other people. Discovering your type is an inside job.

Even with an expert’s help or with a test, it’s still up to you to decide what type you are. Others only see your behaviors. Only you and God know what drives your behaviors.

Also, try not to tell other people what their type is.

It’s tempting to. I’m guilty of doing it all the time in my head. It’s interesting to categorize those we know well. Maybe we even guess right. On Thursday, Series #6, we’ll look at numbers of famous people and people in the Bible, some self-identified and some guessed (what number would you give President Trump? Apostle Paul? Oprah?).

But it’s not ours to determine someone else’s heart. 

Spiritual Practice #2—Examine Your Heart + 9 Healing Attitudes

Enneagram types aren’t merely ‘types’ of people but paths to God.”
– Russ Hudson

What’s your path to God?

As you’re seeking to identify your type, talk to God about your heart. Seek his guidance in winnowing out your motives. Let his Spirit help you discern why traffic jams stir up your anger, why that movie makes you cry, why the political climate leaves you frustrated.

  • Why do I think like I do about God?
  • Why do I feel like I do about myself?
  • Why do I behave like I do around others?

Ask God to remove your blind spots.

Even though we know our motives better than anyone else knows them, we also are capable of deceiving ourselves. Maybe there are things we don’t want to see about ourselves. Or things we just can’t see.

Although King David wasn’t talking about the Enneagram in Psalm 139, he gave good advice to himself and to others who read his words:

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
Psalm 139:23

It can be tough seeing our true selves. But as daughters and sons of God, we don’t live under condemnation. God wants us to live in grace.

So as you close, here are 9 healing attitudes to pray through, one for each type. I have revised them from the original versions found in The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson.

Healing Attitudes for the 9 Types

1—Maybe others are right. Maybe someone else has a better idea. Maybe I’ve done all that can be done. God can handle the rest.

2—Maybe I could let someone else do this. Maybe this person is actually already showing me love in their own way. Maybe I could do something good for myself, too. God loves me just as I am. 

3—Maybe I don’t have to be the best. Maybe people will accept me just the way I am. Maybe others’ opinions of me aren’t so important. God values me for myself. 

4—Maybe there’s nothing wrong with me. Maybe others do understand me and are supporting me. Maybe I’m not the only one who feels this way. God created me special and exactly right. 

5—Maybe I can trust people and let them know what I need. Maybe I can live happily in the world. Maybe my future will be okay. God will provide everything necessary.  

6—Maybe this will work out fine. Maybe I don’t have to foresee every possible problem. Maybe I can trust myself and my own judgments. God is guiding my steps. 

7—Maybe what I already have is enough. Maybe there’s nowhere else I need to be right now. Maybe I’m not missing out on anything worthwhile. God satisfies and leads me to contentment.  

8—Maybe this person isn’t out to take advantage of me. Maybe I can let down my guard a little more. Maybe I could let my heart be touched more deeply. God is protecting me. 

9—Maybe I can make a difference. Maybe I need to get energized and be involved. Maybe I am more powerful than I realize. God is in me to make connections with him and others. 

Dig deep. What’s under the surface is where the treasure lies. And for believers in Christ, at the center is where Christ dwells.

Go to that place and linger.

Do you know your number? How did you figure it out? How long did it take? Please share in the comments.

See the whole Enneagram series here

Enneagram for Spiritual Growth

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Previous: 9 Enneagram Types with 9 Fears and Desires {Series #3}

Next: 5 Enneagram Tests for Determining Your Type {Series #5} 

12 thoughts on “3 Ways to Find YOUR Enneagram Number + 9 Healing Attitudes to Accept It {Enneagram Series #4}

  1. Laurie

    I did take a test to determine my number, but I like your suggestion to read the descriptions and use a little self-knowledge to help figure it out too. I love your explanations of using the Enneagram as a path to God. I never thought about them that way before. I believe my numbers are 3 and 2. Now I will have to think about that to see if they really fit.

  2. Mary Geisen

    There is so much information packed into this post. You provide some good advice about determining our Enneagram numbers. I did initially take a test but it was through reading books, listening to podcasts with some of the experts, and living life through the Enneagram lens that I figured out which number was mine. Thanks for the time and research you are putting into this series.

  3. Barbie

    When I first took the test (free one), I was a 9. I took it later and now I’m a 2. I want to take it again via the links you will be sharing. I have so many of the traits of both!

  4. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Great, informative, and insightful post! I am pretty much a #2, with a lot of #1 mixed in. I especially like the part about healing attitudes for each number. I have also been asking God to reveal my blind spots. Oh how easy to see the speck in your brother’s eye while ignoring the plank in your own. Questioning my motivation…also tells a tale. Hmmm…lot’s to ponder 🙂
    Bev xx

  5. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    I’ve never tried taking an Enneagram test but looking at the descriptions, number 4 resonates most with me, as does the suggested prayer for type 4. I agree with you that we shouldn’t try and determine which type other people are – we never know what other people keep inside their own hearts. #WotW

  6. Elena Wiggins

    I liked reading all 9 Healing Attitudes since there are different seasons of life, sometimes different days of the week, when I struggle with certain things identified with different numbers, such as helping others in hopes of feeling loved or needed with one friendship but being overly cautious and planning our future out to a dizzying degree due to wanting to have control rather than trusting God, so I’ll need to save these to linger with on different days!

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