Start Your Summer Glow-Up Using the Enneagram

Make this the summer of self-growth.
June 13, 2019
9 mins read

So summer’s here and you want your best self to make an appearance. The internet’s coming in clutch with how-tos about remodeling your life in glow-up challenge after challenge. They all look great, but none of them are really clicking, and you have no idea how to sort out what’s helpful and what’s just bad advice.

If that sounds like you, know you’re not alone.

The truth is, a lot of people post about what worked for them even though it won’t necessarily work for anyone else. Social media is still only seeing the highlight reels of other people and, especially during the summer months, it can look like everyone’s moving up in the world but you.

That’s why this year, before you make your glow-up plan, you need to reconnect with yourself. Be ready to put in the work to make it happen. Really ask yourself what you want and what you’re afraid of. Luckily, there’s a tool to help you do just that.

Ever heard of the Enneagram? Over the last few years, the personalitytyping system has grown popular. One songwriter even went so far as to write a series of songs based on each type.

Much like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, dozens of free quizzes claiming to reveal your Enneagram type are popping up, and few of them are accurate. The truth is, no quiz can hand you your personality. Quizzes are just a starting place.

Luckily, sites like Enneagram Institute don’t stop at just a free quiz. Once on the site, Enneagram Institute provides detailed information on each of the nine total types, including what traits people of each type may have under different levels of stress.

The common conception of these types is that each one lists personality traits inherent in individuals. Type Ones are perfectionist, Type Twos are kind, Type Threes are vain, Type Fours are artists, Type Fives are smart, Type Sixes are scared, Type Sevens are fun, Type Eights are angry and Type Nines are quiet. You can’t change your type, and you can’t change the traits that come with it.

And that way of thinking just isn’t true.

The Enneagram isn’t a way to compare character quirks; it’s a way to learn about people and how they work, as well as how to help them grow. That’s where summer comes in.

The summer months inspire people to turn new leaves and plan for futures as bright as the July sun. Social media goes wild with suggestions on the best skin care routine or how to get a bikini body. Much like New Year’s, promises and goals are made and then broken a few months or even days later. Where does everyone go wrong?

No one’s the same, for starters. What works for one person might be totally wrong for another. What might be growth in someone might be destructive in someone else. When building goals, care must be taken to account for the kind of person making the goal. That’s where Enneagram comes back in.

First, find your type. 9types.com’s quiz is a good place to start, and after a little skimming around the site, you’ll probably have a feel for which one you fit into. If you don’t, no worries! Take it at your own pace.

Once you have your type, you’ll be able to see what the Enneagram thinks of you, like what you’re most afraid of and what you most want. This is perfect for setting goals.

Taking Type One as an example, the common perception might be that Ones are perfectionistic, and that might be true—a lot of Ones do have that trait. Looking deeper, though, it becomes clear that perfectionism isn’t the real motivator for Type Ones. What a One wants most is balance and integrity. The reason for the stereotype about perfectionism has to do with the natural result of someone who just wants integrity being most afraid of becoming hypocritical.

If you’ve been struggling with perfectionism and you found out you’re a One, it’s tempting to go straight for the problem area to the fix. Unfortunately, that’s just like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. As soon as you shift your focus away from the habit you were trying to form, you’ll go right back to your old self and nothing will have changed.

Without reaching deeper into the basic desire and fear, it’s all too easy for those summer glow-ups to make the individual worse off instead of new and improved. What parts of yourself do you want to improve? In the case of Ones, an easy pitfall is resentment. That’s not just a personality trait. That’s a vice, and no personality test is going to cover it up. Find your type’s most common pitfall, and try focusing on growing past that.

Type One is a convenient example, but the same goes for every type. Not all glow-ups look the same, and that’s good, because every person is unique. For any other type, remember that whatever is the opposite of that type’s ideal idea, and the stereotype can be a guide to where the self-awareness goes awry From there, find your type’s most common vice. That’s the thing to work on.

This doesn’t have to be another summer of big plans that never happen and self-improvement that never comes. You have the power to put your best self forward. Growth is always right around the corner. It’s just that sometimes it takes a little organization first.

The Enneagram is more than just another fun quiz. When used properly, it can help people learn more about themselves and the world around them, and it provides a great base for finding out what needs to change and how to start changing things. People get built different, and not all glow-up routine lists will work for everyone. But there is one that will work for you. You just have to be the one to make it.

Step one in this summer’s glow-up: find out who you are and where you’re already glowing. Look at what’s already there and love everything you already are. And then, find some ways to make it better.

It’s a summer of growth and possibility.

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