The first time I heard of Enneagram, I thought it was spelled “Anyogram.” I thought it was a board game. I figured the objective was to make up “any” word you could along with a faux-definition for it.
Alas, Enneagram is quite different from Anyogram, the board game currently not sweeping the nation. Enneagram is actually a personality model that defines the human race into nine particular “types.” I’ve become such a sucker for personality stuff, so I quickly set to determining which of the nine types I was. Even before taking the short test, though, I knew.
I’m an Enneagram Type 4: “The Individualist.” I am sensitive and introspective and expressive and dramatic and self-absorbed and temperamental.
I am good, and I am not-so-good. “I am both,” as Prince Charming says. Today’s post is the first in a brief series that will delve into both halves of my Type 4 being, the appealing and the awful.
Enneagram Types: We’re All Connected
The cool thing about Enneagram Types is that everyone is connected. A healthy/growing Enneagram Type 4, for example, takes on the redeeming qualities of an Enneagram Type 1, and an unhealthy/stressed Enneagram Type 4 takes on the less desirable qualities of an Enneagram Type 2.
I particularly enjoy this Enneagram graphic of numbers and arrows and lovely looking geometry:
Additionally, you can be any of the nine Enneagram types and also have a “wing” for either of your two neighboring types. So, even though I’m predominantly an Enneagram Type 4, I also have an Enneagram Wing 5 for “The Investigator” since I seek understanding and the need to be deemed capable.
It’s fascinating, really. How connected we all are.
Enneagram Type 4: My Positives/Negatives
In the subsequent parts of this Enneagram series, I’ll delve deeper into my healthy “growth” and unhealthy “stress.” For now, though, here are some common positive/negative Enneagram Type 4 traits of which I completely resonate:
+ At my best, I am inspired and creative. I write blogs and write books and, you know, tweet and stuff. The world and her inhabitants amaze me.
– At my worst, I fear I have no significance. I look around me and see nobody there, and I have no purpose, and I deduce I’ve fallen off the cliff of significance. I feel lost and forgotten in the fold as everyone else finds their way.
+ I long to surround myself with beauty and inspiration so that I can create. From my work to other people to simple geography, I yearn for beautiful things at every turn to photograph and film and most of all write about.
– I withdraw from others to protect my self-image. I want to be fully known, and yet I cannot bear the thought of being too great a burden on others.
+ I want to attract a rescuer. I long for genuine friends who will see the mess I am and still extend their hand to pull me from the mire.
– I feel vastly different from the rest of humanity. More complex. More needy. Just more issues. I feel like nobody will ever fully get me.
+/-/? I am more suited “to endure suffering with a quiet strength” compared with all the other Enneagram types. Yay suffering?
+++ I am Nicolas Cage and Johnny Depp all rolled into one: two famous Enneagram Type 4s. I basically couldn’t ask for anything more in life.
Enneagram Type 4: Me in a Single Paragraph
This snippet from the Enneagram Type 4 page really jumped out at me. The focus on shame feels quite apt of my personality:
Fours attempt to control their shame by focusing on how unique and special their particular talents, feelings, and personal characteristics are. Fours highlight their individuality and creativity as a way of dealing with their shameful feelings, although Fours are the type most likely to succumb to feelings of inadequacy. Fours also manage their shame by cultivating a rich, romantic fantasy life in which they do not have to deal with whatever in their life seems drab or uninteresting to them.
I’m a handful, I know. Honestly, researching Enneagram Type 4s made me overwhelmed by me. But from Strengths Finder to Enneagram, I’m learning that the more I understand me, the more growth and confidence comes.
So, stay tuned next time to see what Unhealthy Tom looks like. Oh boy; I dare you.
What Enneagram Type are you? Take the free quiz and let me know in the comments! I’d love to learn more about the other eight types or bask in a beloved community of 4s. Don’t worry; this is a safe place, my fellow 4s.