Let’s take a brief look today at Enneagram type 4, the Individualist. Here are the basics (feel free to click for a closer look).
The Individualist is called so because an innate belief that to be valuable, one must have an authentic identity, and to be authentic, one must be unique, different or broken. In other words, 4’s tend to relate more to darker emotions because they feel more true to them than lighter feelings. Envy, the passion of 4, manifests in a negative focus on what’s missing, or “what I don’t have”. Enneagram 4 is often called emotionally strong, because of their familiarity and comfort with dark emotions, but also of their tendency to over-analyze their emotions– where 8 is the master of the physical world, 4 is the master of the emotional realm.
Shame is a large theme for all heart types (2, 3 and 4) but because 4’s are painfully self aware/conscious, they feel and express this more outwardly. This can manifest in withdrawing the self from others for fear of being “too broken or insignificant”, and comes about from a repeated process of failing to convey “the true depths and complexity of the self” (Ocean Moonshine). Because 4’s experience repeated failure to live up to their own ideals, and that of the culture, they develop a general distaste and disdain for “common” or “ordinary” things– which is part of why they associate authenticity with uniqueness. As with many of the types, this creates a paradox: 4’s desire authenticity, but in their disdain for the normal, they can become quite elitist.
I find it important to note that while 4’s tend to be creative, this quality is found in many other types as well! Most of the 4 mistypes I’ve seen have been at least somewhat based in this misconception.
If you have questions about Enneagram type 4, feel free to comment below. Otherwise, look out for my post on the instincts of 4 coming soon! 🙂