A Disclaimer + Enneagram 1

Before I begin to outline the different aspects of type, I need to make a statement about my own beliefs in regards to studying the Enneagram.

In our culture of fast food, and online shopping, most people want a quick fix. Please hear me when I say that the Enneagram does not fall into that category.  Though I do believe there is much to be gotten out of even the first days of study, to understand and fully utilize the Enneagram requires some time spent actually reading the material.

A test does not accurately tell you what Enneagram type you are, even if your results seem believable.  I cannot tell you (in just the three years I’ve been studying this) how many people I have encountered that, when they actually read the material (reading about all of the types) realized they had mistyped.  Either that, or realized how much deep knowledge of self and others, they had passed on by not reading more thoroughly.

With that said, I don’t write here to sum up for you.  I don’t outline the aspects of type to give you a short cut.  You know that thing about no crying in baseball?  There are no shortcuts in Enneagram study.  I write and reflect here to share my thoughts, and to hopefully pique your curiosity about this tool that has revolutionized the relationships in my life, and given me so much more insight to my own negative motivations and the ways I limit myself as a person.

I am, however, thrilled to dialogue, answer questions about the Enneagram and point you in the direction of great resources outside of this place.  I often say to people that I’m helping come to a type conclusion, “I know the Enneagram, and you know you, so let’s figure it out!”. That applies here too, so don’t hesitate if you came here looking for some direction. 🙂

Alright, onward to the type outlines!  This week, let’s look at the basics of Enneagram 1!


Enneagram 1 we affectionately call the Reformer, but I believe some versions dub it the Perfectionist– both nicknames apply well. There is within a 1, the desire to find and perpetuate all that is right and correct in our world (and in doing so, to fix and correct all that is bad or wrong). This brings to mind another name I’ve heard: the Crusader, which paints us the picture of a white horse, a sword of truth and a force for good. That is, in reality, what most 1’s desire to be, and they usually see themselves as having some sort of “mission” for the greater good.

Like most Enneagram types, though, in average and low health, self deception is a factor. The brand that 1’s deal with is as one might imagine: hypocrisy, self righteousness, judgment, and corrupted sense of justice. Because they tend to be idealists, 1’s in deep levels of unhealth usually get there because they are overwhelmed (and often depressed) by the amount of bad in the world.  Resentment is large theme for Enneagram 1’s because they often feel that they are the only ones who do it right— feeling like others are not carrying their weight, when in reality the 1 has usually forcibly taken control in order to ensure the outcome is “right”.

Imagery that I’ve oft read to describe the passion of anger for 1’s, is this: a pot with a lid on. From the outside it seems calm and serene, but in truth, is about to boil over.  1’s I know have confirmed that anger tends to be their default emotion, often covering up what they are really feeling (sadness, hurt, stress, etc.).

Enneagram 1’s can be such catalysts for positive change in our world when they are able to release control, and when they can see that their version of “right” may not be the same for everyone.  A very good 1 friend of mine realized this at one point, after reading deeply into all of the other types.  She was in disbelief, and then understanding shock that others could have different motives than herself (and that it could be okay)!  Since then, though, I really think she sees and approaches people differently, with more grace and desire to know where they are coming from– and that she has to extend that to herself that too!

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for my next post on the instinctual variations of Enneagram 1!

A Disclaimer + Enneagram 1

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