Enneagram Type 4

Four
Individualist

What it's like to be an Enneagram 4

Fours are introspective, expressive and original. They prize being true to themselves and define themselves over what makes them different from others. Fours are very in tune with their feelings and feel comfortable with the whole spectrum of human emotion. They have an amazing potential to uncover the hidden beauty in the world and help others see it, too.

As much as Fours are aware of what they are feeling at each moment, they can get lost in their emotions and have trouble connecting with the rest of the world. This can make them moody, withdrawn and overly dramatic.

STRENGTHS OF ENNEAGRAM 4s

Are highly empathic and know how to connect with people on an emotional level
Have refined tastes and a sense for the aesthetic
Can sit with the dark and tragic without getting overwhelmed
Have a rich imagination
Know how to turn something ordinary into something unique

Enneagram Type 4 in Depth

Fours are unique. Not just in the ordinary “everybody is an individual“ sense of the word. Fours see the world in a way that’s different from those around them, which makes them feel like the world never truly “gets“ them. They put great effort into finding their most authentic and true self. Their rich emotional life lets them seek ways to express their feelings that convey the mystery they feel in themselves.

Fours have a wonderful eye for the beautiful, the intricate, the special. They care about meaning and depth and don’t stay on the surface. This also allows them to embrace and sit with the darker sides of life without the need to sugarcoat it. Fours are comfortable with feelings that other people experience as threatening. Yet in their search for authenticity and the right expression of their many emotions, Fours can also forget that there are other people with feelings and needs too – they can be quite self-absorbed. Additionally, their love for the extraordinary can quite easily tip over into becoming eccentric, their emotion-based identity can turn into emotional volatility.

WHAT MOTIVATES ENNEAGRAM 4s

Most of all, Fours want to have and maintain an expression of their individual take on the world. They want to protect their self-image of being unique, and express the moods and feelings that shape their personality.

Fours belong to the “heart group“ of the Enneagram, just like Twos and Threes. All three types have a special relationship to shame and to their sense of self-worth. While Twos try to get love and acceptance from giving themselves up for others, Threes are afraid they aren’t worthy of love if they don’t perform better than everyone else. Fours, however, look for their self-worth in what makes them different. At the same time, they constantly doubt their self-worth because they feel like something is missing, which lets them carry this secret shame with them.

What is common for Fours is that somewhere in their childhood the message got reinforced in them that there was something off about them. The undertone was “No one understands why you think and feel the way you do, and no one ever will.“ What this creates is the Fours life-long search for what it is they are supposedly missing that would make them like everyone else. They spend a lot of time exploring their inner world in search of this. It also makes them secretly hope for someone to come along, who knows how they feel, who “gets them“, to show them the way towards who they truly are.

WHAT'S OFTEN HOLDING ENNEAGRAM 4s BACK

Fours view the world through the lense of beauty and loss. They (unconsciously) believe that they lack something essential that everyone else has. This feeling of being “different“ shapes their identity and lets them focus on themselves and what it means to be truly “them“. They hope that if they search long enough, they will find what they’re looking for – or better yet, that someone else will swoop down, pick them up and show them what they were made for all along.

That’s why Fours main struggle is envy. When you always feel like everyone else has that special something that you apparently lack, you will always think that if only you had someone else’s status, their looks, their character, or whatever you think it is that makes them “whole“, you would finally be whole yourself.

Fours who are healthy live from a deep feeling of connection to the world. At this point, Fours put more focus on the world around them and no longer focus exclusively on their own emotions, but become able to give their attention to others. They find the discipline to take all those wonderful things living in their imagination and marry them to reality. Healthy Fours start putting their dreams into action.

The invitation for Fours is to rediscover the message that they are perfectly normal – which doesn’t detract at all from their absolute uniqueness. They aren’t inferior or disadvantaged. They are allowed to step out into the world and help make it more beautiful for everyone, including themselves.

FAMOUS ENNEAGRAM TYPE 4s

Enneagram 4s at their worst and their best

Your personality isn’t a fixed thing. People grow. While we don’t change our basic personality, we all can become more mature and healthy inside our personality. But at times, we also revert to less healthy behavior. This looks different for every personality type. Let’s see how it unfolds for Fours.

Average Type 4s

The average Four spends a lot of time exploring their own emotions and the fantastical worlds they find inside themselves. They are more comfortable with being alone than in crowds. While they often see themselves as uniquely gifted, average Fours also still believe they will never be able to lead the “happy“ life everyone else has. Average Fours want emotional responses to their own emotionality. They try to build their identity on their feelings, which is problematic insofar as feelings are unpredictable and unstable. That’s why the average Four is often plagued by sudden mood swings and the sense of not being sure of who they really are.

Unhealthy Type 4s

When they aren’t healthy, Fours become less and less able to break out of their feeling of being poor, misunderstood victims. As much as they want to belong, they focus more and more on their perceived deficiencies. They abandon themselves to their moods and go full drama queen (or king). Everything is subjected to their feelings of unfulfilled longing, even though they have no idea what they are actually longing for. Unhealthy Fours are unable to be happy because they can’t allow themselves to be – their unhappiness becomes their identity.

Healthy Type 4s

Healthy Fours realize that despite their differences, they are still connected to everyone else on a deeper level. Because they have become familiar with their own darker nature, they can now help others process painful experiences that would overwhelm other types. By not being ruled by their emotions anymore, they become disciplined enough to bring all their amazing ideas into reality. The profound beauty and insight of countless works of art are the result of Fours who have solved their deepest yearning: They have found their true self, and with it, their place in the world.

Wings of Enneagram Type 4

Your wing adds an additional flavor to your personality. Every personality type of the Enneagram can have either one of the two neighboring types as its wing. For Fours this means, they can have Type Three or Type Five as their wing.

Enneagram 4w3: Four with a Wing Three

The ambitious and goal-oriented Type Three wing makes Fours more willing to put themselves out there, work on their skills, and learn to market them. They are better at dialing back their emotions in order to be productive and efficient and often have more energy to pursue their ideas.

To find out more about this type-wing-combination, click here.

Enneagram 4w5: Four with a Wing Five

With a Type Five wing, Fours become more analytical and intellectually observant about themselves. They don’t get overwhelmed by their emotions as quickly and find it easier to sit down and focus, listen and concentrate.

To find out more about this type-wing-combination, click here.

Common mistypings for Enneatype 4

It’s not unusual that people are not sure which Enneagram personality type they really are. If that’s you, don’t worry, it’s totally normal. The Enneagram doesn’t just look at your behavior, but at the motivation behind your behavior. This means that some Types can look similar on the outside.

What happens most often for Type Fours is that they get confused with Type Nines. Rarely, they also mistype themselves for Type Two.
Since every type has two wings, you might also be unsure whether Type Three or Type Five, your wings, might actually be your main type.

You can learn how to safely tell Type Four apart from all the other Enneagram types here.

5 First Steps That Can Help Type 4s grow

Finding out about your Enneagram type shouldn’t be the end of your journey of discovering your personality. The Enneagram is an amazing tool to help you on your journey to become more self-aware and self-accepting.

These five ideas are only a first step to get you started. Get your premium profile to find out much more about how you can use the Enneagram to become your healthiest self!

1. Beware of self-absorption

You are often better at talking about all the fascinating things inside you than at listening to those things in others. Try to sit down and listen to someone else’s story. Maybe it will turn out that you are not as alone as you think in your experience of the world.

2. Taste the present

Nostalgia is a wonderful feeling, and the future will always seem better than the present. But the present is and will always be the only place where you can actually do anything. Next time you find yourself pining for the past or fleeing into the future, tell yourself: The only time to act is now. And then do something.

3. Appreciate the ordinary

You have a natural gift for finding beauty in the extraordinary and the unusual. But the world can be beautiful even when it’s unremarkable. After all, the ordinary makes up the vast majority of life and people. Try to look at something that wouldn’t normally have caught your attention and ask yourself: Where does the beauty lie in this?

4. Notice when you start comparing

Envy is the achilles heel of Fours. There’s always someone that seems to have that special something you think you lack. Next time you find comparing yourself unfavorably to someone else, remind yourself that they only have what they need to be them – while you have everything you need to be you.

5. Separate identity from emotion

Feelings are like waves in an ocean, ever changing and often blue. But beneath the waves the ocean stays the same, and blue is not the only color of the rainbow. So when that bittersweet taste of melancholy is threatening to eat up your enthusiasm again, remember that you are not your feelings. Don’t just be the waves, be the whole ocean.

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