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What Are The 3 Instincts In The Enneagram?

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Instincts in Enneagrams have always been extremely interesting, let’s explore what these instincts are.

These instincts include self-preservation instincts, sexual and social instincts. These will be explored in a much greater depth below.

Keep reading to see if any of these resonate with you in any way.


First on our list of instincts is the instinct of self-preservation. It is the instinct that essentially denotes the protection of oneself, and is rooted in our biology, as can be exhibited in hunter-gatherer times. It strongly focuses on the physical attributes of our health and less about our mental health. It can exist tin a variety of ways, but all of these ways are linked in supporting the development of one’s physical wealth. One way in which someone may exhibit this enneagram instinct is through the development of positive habits such as exercise routines which seek to strongly improve the body. In this way, your thoughts become focused on building up your stamina in life, allowing you to experience a variety of things for larger extents. 

enneagram instincts

This instinct also seeks to make one more resourceful in their decision making to help things last longer, allowing one to reap the benefits of their resources. In this way, this instinct can escape the traditional expression of physical development, allowing exhibition through things such as financial awareness for example.


Whilst self-preservation instincts allow us to develop our survival techniques, sexual instincts allow us to gauge the desire to procreate and attract sexual activity as is wired into our DNA. It can be observed in a variety of different ways, but mentally can be exhibited in the distinction between something that someone finds attractive, and something that someone finds unattractive. We innately find things sexually attractive that we unconsciously desire to pass onto our offspring, making this characteristic extremely visible in our sexual decisions. The opposite can also be observed by traits that one would find unattractive, and these also boil down to whether or not we perceive the traits that our potential partner is exhibiting as a potential trait to pass on, if this is not the case, you will obviously not be attracted to said partner. 


Finally, now that we have discussed the bare basics of human creation, we can begin to discuss the instinct that leads us to wanting to develop the standard of living of our life, but also something that may be necessary for societies to thrive, socialising. Whilst it is important that we are able to rely on ourselves as well as procreating, this instinct is ingrained to help us connect with others in a way that allows benefit to oneself, as well as for safety. This instinct can be exhibited in the seeking of genuine relationships with others, such as familial connection but also relationships that serve a purpose, such as business deals with mutual benefit to both parties. 

These instincts form the basis of how we function as humans today.

If you want to improve your personal and professional life, and often feel like you are standing in your own way – consider taking the Enneagram Queen test right now. This is the first step to a new and improved you!

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