Have you ever wondered what it takes to bring out your best personality? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some secret potion? Is there some wand we can wave to make our temperaments behave?
Maybe you’ve felt like me, wondering why “one of these things is not like the other?” I always felt like I missed the memo, both in my own family and in my work, feeling like I just don’t process life like the majority. Can you relate?
Well, take heart, there’s something wrong with all of us.
Yes, I said that correctly — there something wrong with all of us and something really right!
Each personality type, no matter the assessment you choose to use, will present both strengths and weaknesses. That’s great news because we each have an equal opportunity to tap into our strengths and learn how to manage our weaknesses.
We each have the propensity toward certain hang-ups and unhealthy habits, even severe mental health challenges, as much as we have the ability to pursue wholehearted emotional health and thrive in our God-given personality.
How can I be so certain? Because for the last decade, I’ve been studying personality types. I dove into my first personality assessment to get a better understanding of my wiring, as I was in conflict with everyone at home and at work. It was sobering to discover that I’m naturally bent in a way that leads to conflict, but also that I could work at developing that area of weakness into a strength. Yes, it required a tremendous amount of heart, mind, and soul-deep work, including counseling, prayer, and the study of God’s Word.
As a Christian, I believe that our personality types are not limited to an assessment. Above and beyond what a personality report has to say about us, we have the opportunity to live by the power of God at work in us to manifest the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23).
We might have a propensity to respond a certain way under stress or when we’re feeling secure, but we’re not limited by that tendency.
We can be transformed from the inside out by the work of God in our heart, mind, and soul. I’ve seen this truth manifest in my own life as well as with the hundreds of women I’ve coached over the last seven years.
In my coaching practice, I’ve primarily used the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) as a primary tool for pinpointing personality types and relational style, which is key to finding purpose and defining core quality of life priorities. The HAB is a unique assessment that reveals how we relate to others, how we process information, and what motivates us into action.
While the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, DISC, and Strength Finders assessments are based on your answers to the statements that most resonate with you, the HAB is not subjective — meaning you can’t choose the best answer and skew the results. The HAB is a 3-hour assessment divided into 19 timed segments designed to evaluate how you respond to the content. For most of the segments, you don’t even know what the right or wrong answer may be, as you’re categorizing content, defining shapes, recalling information just presented, and responding to sound. It’s really quite fascinating to see the results, which reveal how you learn, connect, and problem solve while also conveying the best possible choices for your career and relational health.
While my preference is for the HAB, I’ve come to deeply appreciate the Enneagram, and specifically the work of the Enneagram Institute, which provides an easily accessible framework for growing in self-awareness, and a strategic approach towards nurturing emotional health and relationships.
The Enneagram, derived from the Greek words for nine (ennea) and figure (gram), is a nine-type personality assessment. Ian Cron, the author The Road Back to You, explains, “Each type or number has a distinct way of seeing the world and an underlying motivation that powerfully influences how that type thinks, feels and behaves.” The belief is that:
“Everyone emerges from childhood with one of the nine types dominating their personality, with inborn temperament and other pre-natal factors being the main determinants of our type. This is one area where most all of the major Enneagram authors agree—we are born with a dominant type. . . by the time children are four or five years old, their consciousness has developed sufficiently to have a separate sense of self. Although their identity is still very fluid, at this age children begin to establish themselves and find ways of fitting into the world on their own.” (source)
It’s the emotional health component of the Enneagram, specifically, the identification of behaviors under stress that makes it ideal for matching essential oils to aid in minimizing the impact of stress while selecting others to enhance personality strengths.
If you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, the EnneagramInstitute.com summarizes the types with a four-word set of traits:
Type One [The Reformer] is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.
Type Two [The Helper] is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
Type Three [The Achiever] is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
Type Four [The Individualist] is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
Type Five [The Investigator] is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
Type Six [The Loyalist] is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
Type Seven [The Enthusiast] is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
Type Eight [The Challenge] is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
Type Nine [The Peacemaker] is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.
Diversity within Wings
Within the nine different types, there are a number of ways each personality can present it’s individual character traits. Wing numbers are those on either side of each personality type, and it’s quite possible to lean toward one or both numbers.
Your basic type dominates your overall personality, while the wing complements it and adds important, sometimes contradictory, elements to your total personality. Your wing is the “second side” of your personality, and it must be taken into consideration to better understand yourself or someone else. For example, if you are a personality type Nine, you will likely have either a One-wing or an Eight-wing, and your personality as a whole can best be understood by considering the traits of the Nine as they uniquely blend with the traits of either the One or the Eight. In our teaching experience over the years, we have also encountered some individuals who seem to have both wings, while others are strongly influenced by their basic type and show little of either wing.” – The Enneagram Institute.
Stress & Growth Numbers & Deadly Sin
Let’s face it, under stress, we’re not our best. But when we feel emotionally secure, we thrive.
So embedded in the Enneagram application, we can look closely at the triads as well as each number’s deadly sin, stress number, and a growth number. This essentially means you manifest a particular set of behaviors when you are under stress and another set when you are feeling secure and healthy.
Ian Cron describes our deadly sins or passions as “an addictive behavior that we can only be free from when we recognize how often we give it the keys to drive our personality. . . Learning to manage your deadly sins rather than allowing it manage you is one of the goals of the Enneagram.” (The Road Back to You, p. 30-31)
In addition to the deadly sin, each personality type avoids stress in a particular way. This is where the Enneagram Triads come into play, which is “how you habitually take in, process and respond to life.” (Ian Cron, The Road Back to You, p. 27).
Anger or Gut Triad: 8 externalizes, 9 forgets it, 1 internalizes; express themselves honestly and directly.
Feeling or Heart Triad: 2 focuses outwardly on the feelings of others, 3 have trouble recognizing their own or other people’s feelings, 4 concentrates attention inwardly on their own feelings; they each take in and relate to life from their heart and are more image-conscious than numbers.
Fear or Head Triad: five externalizes fear, six internalizes fear, seven forgets fear; they take in and relate to the world through the mind; they tend to think and plan carefully before they act.
To go even deep into understanding the emotional health continuum, the Enneagram Institutes provides nine different levels of development in three subsets:
Healthy (levels 1-3)
Average (levels 4-6)
Unhealthy (levels 7-9)
We all know that stress will hit us from every angle. But how we process stress doesn’t look the same for each of us.
When we take the time to study our personalities in light of what is healthy versus unhealthy behavior, we can objectively make choices to deal with our stress along with our unhealthy habits and move toward whole-mind and body health.
Yes, body health! Our stress can actually lead to significant physical complications:
“Human beings are designed to experience a certain amount of stress, which is largely regulated by the adrenal glands and the natural hormones and neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. These are release directly in the bloodstream. . . That is the normal stress mechanism at work and it’s a good thing because it helps us survive.But stress isn’t meant to be an everyday occurrence. What happens is that we get overloaded with the natural stress chemicals because we’re stimulated by too many stressful situations. Psychologist call this chronic situation distress, and it’s dangerous because it can contribute to physiological changes such as hardening of the arteries, heart attacks and strokes, cancer, diabetes, and lesser problems.”
– Valerie Ann Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, p. 96
It’s that self-awareness about our own tendencies inherent to our personalities, which can move us from an unhealthy pattern into a healthy response, and that’s where essential oils can come into play.
Essential Oils & the Brain
Because the olfactory system — our sense of smell — is located adjacent to the limbic system in our brain, which is where our emotions reside, we have the opportunity to use essential oils to wake up our mind to a new way of responding.
Think about walking into a house and the first smell that hits you is chocolate chip cookies. Now unless you have an aversion to chocolate chip cookies, you’re already putty in the palm of that baker’s hand. That’s why realtors stage a house with freshly baked Tollhouse bait.
Well, you can use the same biological response to smell to cultivate a healthy emotional response. By diffusing oils, you can change the climate of an entire gathering. By applying oils behind your ears or on your wrists, like perfume, you can engage your brain in a whole new way. Plus the benefits of oils far exceeds brain function! They can bring balance to your hormones, boost your immune system, and care for your digestive system. It’s really quite amazing.
Since our emotional responses are so deeply integrated into our personality type, we can use oils to move us toward the healthiest version of ourselves.
We can use essentials oils to help regulate how our bodies respond to stress.
We can use essential oils to motivate our strengths.
We can use oils to prompt our brain to get us to move forward with focus and courage.
No, oils aren’t some cosmic god or a magic genie. They have no control over our will. They can’t make us do something our flesh refuses. They can, however, become a tool to help us move toward emotional health. We can use what God created to care for our emotional and physical health, without the risk of addiction or toxic side-effects.
Lavender is calming.
Cedarwood enhances focus.
Wintergreen soothes muscles.
Oregano boosts the immune system.
Peppermint aids digestion.
Frankincense nurtures skin.
Copaiba reduces inflammation.
Blue Tansey minimizes stress.
Tangerine lifts the spirit.
The list goes on and on. Using oils makes a whole lot more sense when you think of them as the Creator designed. Diffusing lavender with frankincense can mellow out high strung tendencies. Adding a drop of peppermint to a glass of water could spur on sloth-like behavior. Simple, right?
Of course, I’m not suggesting carrying around roller-blends for each Enneagram type and whipping them out like Zoro to swipe our friends and family members. Rather, this is about you, knowing yourself and choosing to work with what you have to become who you were intended.
Oils for Your Enneagram Type
So how do you go about selecting oils for your Enneagram type? Well, after careful study of the personality types and narrowing down the attributes provided in The Road Back to You alongside The Enneagram Institute’s descriptions, I narrowed down the possible oils through considering two basic needs:
- Growing In Strength: these recommended oils may help you move toward growth by enhancing those attributes.
- When Under Stress: these recommended oils may help you minimize the impact of stress triggers.
Using the Reference Guide for Essential Oils app alongside the Young Living website (if you’re not yet a member, click here to get started and allow me to be your guide) and The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, by Valerie Ann Worwood, I selected twenty different oils and blends for supporting the emotional and physical health of each personality type.
Since I am not an aromatherapist, I’m not providing suggestions for methods of application, such as diffusing, applying, and ingesting nor recommending any particular blend recipes. I am confident that you’ll be able to discern the best application for yourself using the excellent recommended resources. Only you know the sensitivity of your skin and sense smell along with any contra-indicators, such as medicines you’re taking or pregnancy.
In addition to the Growing in Strength and When Under Stress oils, I also recommend six single oils and six blends for each type as a standard for building your wellness cabinet:
Overall Emotional Wellness
- Roman Chamomile
- Peace & Calming
Overall Physical Wellness
- Dragon Time
- Deep Relief Roll-On
You might also discover quite a bit of overlap between the recommended oils for each personality type. That’s because the triads overlap with stress points. My hope is that I can offer you a starting point with the suggested oils and inspire you to take the next step towards cultivating emotional health through the use of essential oils.
There’s no overnight fix to tackle our personality quirks and issues, but there is always hope while we’re in the land of the living to make strides towards emotional health and physical well-being. I’ve been at this long enough to believe that transformation is possible!
After emerging from a dysfunctional and abusive childhood, I thought I’d never get a hold on my anger. Even after a radical faith transformation as a twenty-something, I didn’t really believe I could change and become that woman I always wanted to be. But more than two decades have passed, along with much heart-healing through counseling and self-care work, and one thing is for sure — I’m as much a Reformer (Type 1) tied with a Challenger (Type 8) as I was as a child, but now I manifest the healthy levels of those personality types and even look a bit like a 3 with a bit 2 if you were to spend time with me today. So when I start stressing like a 1 or 8, my first course of action is to pay attention to my thought life, start praying and remembering the Truth and then grab my oils to help support my new way of thinking.
Change is possible.
We can become who we were always meant to be, with a personality that brings out our best. I hope this journey into studying your Enneagram Type and oils is simply one way for you to move in that direction.
Get access to the Guide to Essential Oils for Your Enneagram Type
Click the “add to cart” button to purchase the PDF version via Paypal and get access to the link to download this resource, which includes the content from above plus descriptions of each Enneagram Type and the recommended oils in table format and summary reference cards, perfect for screen saving or printing out.