Exploring the Enneagram – The Number Four.
Basic Fear: Of having no identity or personal significance.
Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance, to create an identity out of their inner experience.
Superego Message: You are good or okay if you are true to yourself.
Healthy fours are honest with themselves, they can own their feelings and motives, their contradictions and conflicts without the need to deny them. They have an ability to see themselves as they are – warts and all. The familiarity they have with their darker nature makes it easier for them to process painful experiences that may overwhelm other types. They are not intimidated by the difficult, complicated, or dark feelings of others, since they themselves have lived through it all. Fours are highly sensitive and almost always artistically gifted, they are carriers of beauty. They are able to grasp the moods and feelings of others as well pick up the atmosphere of places and events.
Fours often feel as if they are missing something in themselves although they may have difficulty identifying what that is. This can lead them to feel as if they lack a stable identity causing them to try on a few along the way. Although they have a deep need for connection fours often feel socially awkward or self-conscious. Their life questions come in the form of “What do you think of me? Do you notice me? Do I catch your eye?” They avoid ordinariness and don’t want to look or act like everyone else.
It can be difficult for fours to let go of wounds from the past, tending rathe to nurse them. They also have a tendency to live with a sense that there is something fundamentally flawed about them which can prevent them seeing not only their many good qualities but also the treasure their lives contain. They can focus to much on what they deem to be missing from their lives, themselves and their relationships. Abandonment and feeling misunderstood was often a childhood wound and can accompany the four through their lives.
Their root sin or passion is envy. They see immediately who has more style, talent, and original ideas. They constantly compare themselves with others, although not necessarily in a selfish way. This awareness can often hone their own giftedness.
Fours have huge hearts, encompassing all the emotions that could possibly be contained within a heart and yet fours are often cut off from their heart. They are ruled by the lie that “I am what other people think or say about me.” The way home for the four is to explore the fullness of their hearts in a place of solitude. In solitude the four stills the need to be seen and validated by others whilst waking up to see themselves for who they truly are. Solitude becomes a place of healing, it creates space to sit with their yearning to be known and offers the restoration of this found only in communion with God.
Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson write:
In the process of transformation, Fours let go of a particular self-image—that they are more inherently flawed than others, and that they are missing something that others have. They also realise that there is nothing wrong with them; they are as good as anyone else. And if there is nothing wrong with them, then no one needs to rescue them. They are entirely able to show up for themselves and create their own lives. . . . At this stage, Fours no longer need to feel different or special, seeing that, indeed, the universe has created only one of them, and that they are part of everything else—not isolated and alone.
When Fours abide in their true nature, they are one with the ceaseless creativity and transformation that are a part of the dynamics of Essence.
Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations
Don Richard Risso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram
Christopher L Heurtz, The Sacred Enneagram