Enneagram FOUR Detail
FOURs are sensitive, often with intense feelings. They are often lonely; they feel different, and amplify their feeling to experience them more deeply. They have a longing for emotional connection, as well as a tendency to want what they can’t have and disdain what they do have. Melancholy and depression are common, along with a refined sense of aesthetics. Perhaps due to painful experiences of loss in childhood, the life of Fours is shaped by longing. They look forward to the day when the great love will come (back), and they are convinced this great love will redeem them.
FOURs often make tragic figures; they are strong individualists; they tend to seek happiness through pain, or by dwelling on the tragic or the melodramatic aspects of life; there could have been a significant loss in their lives, which they then mine for its affective content. Thus, they often have an artistic flair, and appreciate beauty.
Their motto might be something like: “if I become special, I won’t be left again.” They feel abandoned; they feel there is something the matter with them. Perhaps if they were special a parent will love them; or perhaps they would find that ideal love. They tend to mourn the loss of a Garden of Eden. For them, being ordinary is being nobody; tragedy brings drama, which makes them special; intense emotions make you alive; make you feel different from others.
FOURs tend to live in a romantic world; they are compulsively attracted to the unavailable; they focus on what is missing; they tend to cut short developing relationships before they are re-abandonned; they are often disappointed, as they discover the mere mundane in the hoped-for drama.
In fact, their so-called specialness is a cover; they must promote loving their ordinariness. The mature FOUR has a more mature attitude towards the aesthetic; they discover that the tendency to melancholy does not make them special, but their sensitivity to emotional tone is valuable; one of their unique skills lies in the sense of the beautiful; they make fine listeners; they are creative.
The compulsion of FOURs is envy. They immediately see who has more style, class, taste, or talent than they. Inside a FOUR is a child struggling with feelings of inferiority: “I don’t deserve to be loved. I need to make an impression so that I’m not overlooked and abandoned again.” Fours strive to be aesthetically attractive, to be exceptional, to be creative, or to appear eccentric. They long to be authentic, but seldom allow themselves to fully enjoy it when it happens. “I will be special” is the mantra of the Four. Their whole life is a search for authenticity. Children, nature, and everything that radiates originality awaken in them the longing for simplicity and naturalness that they lost at some point.
FOURs have lived through all the emotional spaces and experiences from agony to ecstasy. They know all the nuances of feeling and understand the human soul better than anyone else. A purified FOUR can deal sensitively with real life—and not just with imaginary dramas. Working for peace and justice is good for FOURs. In this they have to deal with the dirt of the world, which cannot be aesthetically transfigured.
FOURs put their gifts to work to awaken a sense of beauty and harmony in their surroundings. They are highly sensitive and almost always artistically gifted. They are capable of transforming the negative and experiences of loss into something beautiful and universally valid, be it a poem, a song, a work of art, or an action of civil disobedience.
The stressed FOUR moves towards TWO. Their desperate need for love often resorts in the use of manipulation to win the object of their affection. They will latch on to someone – anyone – who can temporarily quell that horrifying sense of feeling empty and undesirable. They can become emotionally dependent on others to fulfill their emotional needs.
The healthy FOUR moves towards ONE. They often synthesize their proclivity to create with a strong sense of moral justice, which helps alleviate their self-absorption. Secure FOURs surrender their quest for a fantastical life, and learn to appreciate what is happening right now, right here.
The gift of redeemed FOURs is equanimity or emotional balance. If they can admit that they live in God and God in them, their soul will come to the deep authenticity and balance that they have longed for. They will finally know their True Self.
If you feel this describes you fairly well, then click here to explore spiritual practices that might be best suited for your type. Otherwise, click here to return to the summary descriptors of the types.