Enneagram Inspirational Quotes for the New Year

Enneagram books

I can’t keep track of how many Enneagram books I’ve read – and I’m reading one now, with three more in the queue. But ‘tis the season for inspiration, right? So, I pulled 10 such books off my shelf and leafed through them to find some quotes to inspire us as we pursue our true selves and our God. I then whittled them down to my top five, so as not to overwhelm you. Let’s dig in. (Full disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.)

1. “As I continue to make discoveries about my type for personal growth, I often experience what I call ‘holy aha moments.’ When I’m in the middle of emotional pain or mental anguish or difficult relational dynamics, I prayerfully consider how my personality pattern might be playing out in my struggle.”

Marilyn Vancil, Self to Lose, Self to Find

Why I love this quote: Marilyn captures the very essence of why I do Enneagram work. I’m trying to live an examined life in which everyday events offer opportunities for reflection on what’s really going on behind the curtain.

2. “Many ancient wisdom traditions say that this task of waking up to become aware of who we are represents the purpose of human life on earth.”

Beatrice Chestnut, The Complete Enneagram

Why I love this quote: This reminds me of several things. First is the Socrates quote: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Second is Romans 8:22, in which we learn that all creation groans as it waits for the sons of God to be revealed. No, Paul wasn’t talking about the Enneagram, but he was talking about the importance of human beings understanding who they are and taking their place in the world (at least, as I understand the verse). The Enneagram helps us get past our personality stuff that’s covering up the God-created versions of us. Waking up is essential to fully realizing our individual destinies on the earth. So, I don’t think becoming awake IS our purpose, but it certainly makes achieving our purpose more plausible.

3. “…without a solid foundation of inner work, the Enneagram is at risk of being cheapened at best and being used for marketing, social manipulations and crystalizing delusions at worst.”

John Luckovich, The Instinctual Drives and the Enneagram

Why I love this quote: When I first learned the Enneagram, no one I knew had ever heard of it. These days, you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone who either knows it, has at least heard of it or has taken a weekend course to become an Enneagram coach. It’s spawned uncountable memes, as well as paint palettes, candles and coffee flavors. The risk of the Enneagram increasing in popularity is that its depth gets reduced; people plant a flag on their personality number and don’t budge. John’s quote is a great reminder that the Enneagram does not exist for head knowledge but for spiritual transformation. It’s a guide, not a badge.

4. “No one should work with the Enneagram if what they seek is flattery.”

Dr. David G. Benner, The Gift of Being Yourself

Why I love this quote: This reality gets rid of the Enneagram tire-kickers pretty quickly. Spiritual transformation so seldom happens because it’s so difficult. Once the novices who have taken up their personality number as a badge of honor delve a little deeper, they see that they have simply shifted their ego identification from one place to another. The Enneagram isn’t just a joyful affirmation of their strengths; it’s a pull-the-bandage-off exposure of the lies we’ve been living under. And that hurts. It’s the opposite of flattery. It requires a death of the ego – and it will fight tooth and nail to survive. I know; I’ve been at this for about 20 years. But if what you seek are truth and freedom, the Enneagram is a tremendous helper.

5. “…when we bring awareness to our habitual personality, we are healing not just our own problems but also the destructive patterns that have been taking their toll for many generations, possibly for centuries, within our bloodline. Working on ourselves therefore redeems not only our own sufferings and struggles but the sufferings and struggles of all our ancestors.”

Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram

Why I love this quote: If this doesn’t give you perspective, I don’t know what will! Critics of the Enneagram sometimes denounce it for being selfish or too self-focused. That is a mere surface reading of the system. As you become more present and aware through your knowledge of your personality type and the daily practice of paying attention to its tricks, you get freer – and closer to the you whom God made. Your destructive patterns lessen; those around you benefit, including your children and subsequent generations. You actually are helping create an emotionally healthier future for your descendants by breaking destructive cycles. That’s not self-indulgent navel-gazing; that’s an act of service. Let this be a motivator for your work this year.

I hope these quotes will inspire you this year to do the sometimes difficult, sometimes painful, always ego-slaying, generation-healing work of becoming your true self. And if you have a favorite Enneagram quote, please share it!

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