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Type 4

Enneagram Type Four

Personality Profile - Personal Growth Recommendations


The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type:
Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental

Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an identity)
Enneagram Four with a Three-Wing: "The Aristocrat"
Enneagram Four with a Five-Wing: "The Bohemian"


People with Type Four personalities are wonderfully creative and expressive even though they may be introverts and therefore quiet about letting other people know all about themselves. While they may seem self-absorbed, they are really trying to learn about who they are and to highlight those characteristics that distinguish them as individuals. It is difficult for them to think of themselves as one of many, and they would rather be defined by their shortcomings or inadequacies than to lose a sense of uniqueness. Because of this, Fours begin to focus on their flaws and become envious of others whom they romanticize as having all the things they themselves long for.

When Fours allow their own creative juices to flow, they express their uniqueness through beautiful words, images, design, interiors or landscapes, and they delight in the creative expressions of others as well. They are often intuitive and tap into the deeper layers of the personal and collective unconscious. They care about feelings and are willing to talk about the truth of their own inner experiences.

At an early age, Fours needed their families to respond to them but, for whatever reason, that connection was never adequately made, so little Fours decided there must be something wrong with them if even their own mothers and fathers could not relate to them. They set out, albeit unconsciously, to provide for themselves and often through a rich fantasy life. In a subtle way, they developed a tendency to be critical of others who do not comply with their internal sense of how things should be. Although they believe they could be happy if only they were totally free to be themselves, their real freedom comes through embracing the inherent perfection of all creation, including themselves.

FAMOUS FOURS: Johnny Depp, Jackie Onassis, Anais Nin, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Anne Rice.


Personal Growth Recommendations
for Enneagram Type Fours

  • Do not pay so much attention to your feelings; they are not a true source of support for you, as you probably already know. Remember this advice: "From our present perspective, we can also see that one of the most important mistakes Fours make is to equate themselves with their feelings. The fallacy is that to understand themselves they must understand their feelings, particularly their negative ones, before acting. Fours do not see that the self is not the same as its feelings or that the presence of negative feelings does not preclude the presence of good in themselves" (Personality Types, p. 172). Always remember that your feelings are telling you something about yourself as you are at this particular moment, not necessarily more than that.

  • Avoid putting off things until you are "in the right mood." Commit yourself to productive, meaningful work that will contribute to your good and that of others, no matter how small the contribution may be. Working consistently in the real world will create a context in which you can discover yourself and your talents. (Actually, you are happiest when you are working—that is, activating your potentials and realizing yourself. You will not "find yourself" in a vacuum or while waiting for inspiration to strike, so connect—and stay connected—with the real world.

  • Self-esteem and self-confidence will develop only from having positive experiences, whether or not you believe that you are ready to have them. Therefore, put yourself in the way of good. You may never feel that you are ready to take on a challenge of some sort, that you always need more time. (Fours typically never feel that they are sufficiently "together," but they must nevertheless have the courage to stop putting off their lives.) Even if you start small, commit yourself to doing something that will bring out the best in you.

  • A wholesome self-discipline takes many forms, from sleeping regular hours to working regularly to exercising regularly, and has a cumulative, strengthening effect. Since it comes from yourself, a healthy self-discipline is not contrary to your freedom or individuality. On the other hand, sensuality, excessive sexual experiences, alcohol, drugs, sleep, or fantasizing have a debilitating effect on you, as you already know. Therefore, practice healthy self-discipline and stay with it.

  • Avoid lengthy conversations in your imagination, particularly if they are negative, resentful, or even excessively romantic. These conversations are essentially unreal and at best only rehearsals for action—although, as you know, you almost never say or do what you imagine you will. Instead of spending time imagining your life and relationships, begin to live them.


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