“All my life I have yearned for a thing I cannot name.” – Andre Breton, French Poet
I cannot recall the first time I took the Enneagram personality test online, but it’s somewhere around the ballpark of five years ago. My best friend, who is very much a Seven, was telling me all about typology and how it was helping her understand why she is the way she is and the workings of her inner landscape, along with how to better navigate close relationships with friends and family. Interesting! I love this stuff. At the time, I knew my Meyer’s Briggs and had taken a handful of times, each test resulting in the same findings: I am INFJ through and through. Introvert (gets energy from solitude) – Intuitive (guided by inner landscape) – Feeling (emotions over logic) – Judging (thrives with order). Andrew is an INTJ, by the way. As someone who has always been quite introspective, personality tests and reading materials pertaining to this subject matter have always been rather consoling for me. Like little mirrors to my soul, they’ve helped me better understand myself and others intimate ways that have revealed a complex beauty of humanity, for which I am grateful. I not only like digging in and finding meaning as to why people are they way they are, but it’s part of a deep-rooted and ever-present longing I have to continually seek belonging and connection in all that I do. Classic Four, as I would soon come to find out.
Years passed, I had babies, we moved homes, and then one day I was web surfing on Amazon, and a book popped up under the category of something I might like to read given my past bookish history: The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery. I felt called to learn more and so in the cart it went. This purchase lead me back to my dear friend who first introduced me to the sacred and strangely accurate world of the Enneagram, along with an almost obsessive need to gather as much as I could about it. Again, another classic Enneagram Four way of being. We like to understand all the things. After reading several books, many many articles, and listening to podcasts, I can tell you that I am far being an expert on the topic, but that I’ve learned a great deal.
Why does this even matter? If you are asking this, you probably aren’t a Four. If you find yourself feeling intrigued, hopeful, and a bit excited as if maybe this could be a missing piece of the puzzle you’ve been searching for your whole life, you very well might be. This isn’t however that missing piece, but a flicker of light that just might help you journey out of the darkness if you’ve lost your way. Because here’s the thing with Four’s: we were made by the divine to seek meaning. We need meaning to get unstuck. It’s who we are, and we were born this way. Making meaning is how we build connections, and in building connections, we unearth purpose and our divine belonging and worth. This is why many Four’s tend to be very creative beings who, when healthy and not wrapped up in anxiety or depression, can their gifts as a means of self-expression to make meaning come alive, and thus, to connect with others and feel as though they belong here on this strange, perplexing, wild, and awe-inspiring earth home we share.
10 Things I Know to Be True,
From My Personal Experience as an Enneagram Four:
- …relentlessly seek deep belonging and meaningful connection in their everyday lives. I can relate to this as I have always strived to make the ordinary as beautiful and as meaningful as I can. This goes well beyond materialism and into cosmic connection, which can be hard for non-Fours to understand. I have never known any other way of doing life. This way of being feels much more like a calling, rather than something I do merely out of habit or for show. I can remember being a little girl and walking through the grassy fields behind our home and feeling connections in and through everything I saw, wondering as I walked the well-worn path of milkweed and bramble where I fit into this intricate web of life, if at all? And so began my search, and honestly hasn’t stopped: because I am a Four. All of my senses felt uncomfortably heightened back then as they do now, which gave and give me a different perspective from which to view the world and life as a whole. I now know that this longing is woven into who I am, and it’s why I am drawn to create a quiet and gentle celebration of everyday life. Both of my parents growing up were not at all like this, far from it in fact, and it struck me odd that other’s didn’t see the world this way. I internalized this realization, and sadly, came to view my sensitivities and need to make meaning come alive as a weakness rather than a strength. I tried over the years to numb this part of my being, and ended up drinking a lot of alcohol in college. I am only learning now as an adult that this desire to make meaning is a gift and something to be shared with the world. As I have journeyed through life thus far, I have found that building connections from the ordinary strings of life is what gives me purpose while propelling me forward to live out my passions as a writer, homemaker, creator, and nurturer as a wife and mother.
- …often times have a profound fear of being abandoned due to a primal loss we have suffered. Abandonment is something I have struggled with ever since I was very young as an adoptee, and still do in my early 30’s. It is a part of my story – a loss that is very much a realistic (and unfortunately glossed over) part of adoption. I didn’t know it at the time, but it is very common for those who are adopted to feel the primal wound of intimate loss from their roots, ancestral past, and most of all, their birth mother who have them life. Motherhood has given me a new perspective on this fear and at times, has amplified it to the point of severe postpartum depression. I would have a panic attack nearly everyday when Andrew left for work. It was debilitating and it felt like death by loneliness. I’ve since began a spiritual path of healing, and haven’t left it. I have learned that this fear of abandonment is why belonging and connection are so vital for people like me, Four’s, because we almost try and overcorrect ourselves to make up for the fear we carry. There is light in the darkness, and darkness in the light. Living as a Four means embracing both all the time, and it’s why we can be perceived as melancholy.
- …can easily fall into the trap of envy, not exactly jealousy over physical items per se, but an internal longing that they will never measure up because of some internal flaw that cannot be controlled. This is why some Four’s are perfectionists and try to control as much as they possibly can to override the perceived existential flaw they were born with. This kind of envy can both hurt and help Four’s. When too caught up in the trap of comparison, Four’s can become paralyzed and vow to never make anything because they will never measure up to X, Y, or Z. This is how Four’s can ultimately self-sabotage. But if they come to value the unique way they see the world, along with all the gifts they were given, Four’s can use this kind of envy for their benefit as fuel to keep them moving and making as an empath and sensitive human being.
- …have very rich inner lives that must be stewarded with ample amount of stillness and solitude to process and digest their thoughts and feelings. This could not be more true for me, and it’s why I believe most Four’s are probably introverts as they get energy by being alone to breathe and rest. Alone time is not merely a luxury for Four’s, but essential to their mental health and overall wellbeing. I am easily riled up by fast moments, being rushed, surrounded by clutter, and loud noises. I have learned that my soul needs me to carve out several pockets of stillness and solitude throughout the day to give my outer and inner world a break. Having a rich inner life means that therapy for Four’s is a wonderful tool for wellness. Having the opportunity to process verbally with someone they trust is how Four’s can use their sensitive and intuition to grow.
- …are prone to suffering from both anxiety and depression when stressed (their darkness), but have a beautiful propensity to sink into the present moment unlike most people (their light). I have both anxiety and depression, and when I am stressed, I am either living hopelessly fixated on the future (anxiety) or hopelessly fixated on the past (depression). This is why mindfulness and learning how to take the time to connect to the present moment is very healing for me. In this way, life becomes my mediation. I have found like anything else, the more I practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes. Building the mindfulness muscle takes a lot of energy from Four’s because they are constantly feeling all the things and thinking that those feelings are their thoughts. I have learned that building a practice of mindfulness into the rhythm of my everyday takes my intrinsic gift of making meaning and tethers it to my passions, which are: making a home, mothering, and living in close connection to the seasons of the earth, to name a few.
- …feels deeply and is very empathetic, but can also become paralyzed by feeling too much when allowing the world’s pain to flood in without boundary Boundaries are not only helpful for Four’s, they are extremely important in developing self-love and maintaining inner wellbeing. This is why I believe it’s so important to take a step back every so often and reevaluate the boundaries and relationships in one’s life. I recently went through and unfollowed like 100 people on Instagram because I could feel my intuition telling me to slow down and decrease all that I was letting in. Four’s want to feel everything because it comes natural to them and therefore they are pretty good at it, but on the other hand, can be burdened by feeling so much to the point of emotional exhaustion. I have to be careful with how much information, especially from the media, I allow into my day. While some people are able to let media trickle int0 their day and use the world’s pain as fuel to do good and bring about change, some people need quiet healing to build strength to do that kind of work. Recognizing that we all process life very differently is how we can fold compassion to hard conversations, and therefore, build a more loving world.
- …find the arts, culture, beauty, and nature to be life-giving. I find contentment and hope in art, whether it be music, a painting, or a good book. These things are my best friends and they move me deeply. This is why they are all over our home – our sanctuary from the outside world that offers our family restoration and belonging.
- …have a difficult time separating their feelings from their thoughts. When I learned that my feelings are not the same as my thoughts (which is probably very obvious to you) my life completely changed. So many times I have let my feelings in the driver’s seat, regardless of whether they were under the influence of anxiety or depression. But when you learn to separate your thoughts and your feelings, you can begin to let those feelings pass much more easily. This is something I am working on.
- …live with the paradoxical need to be unique and different from everyone, yet understood and accepted. This one could not be more true for Four’s, and it’s often why we are misunderstood. It’s wanting our cake and eating it too, and can be perceived as self-absorbed and confusing to others. We want to be seen as different and special, yet we live with the need to belong. This can really mess with our sense of worth, and is why many Four’s have low self-esteem. We wonder why others are so confident and tend to ponder where they got it? We definitely do not like being lumped into groups or generalized by the masses, yet we fear abandonment, so naturally, this leaves many Four’s in a strange predicament of living in-between. Four’s care about what other’s think because it’s who they are. Some people can shake this and other’s can’t. This caring however can help them greatly if they harness this caring into helping others through empathy, and by not internalizing matters through self-sabotage. So my go-to when stuck on a loop of wanting to be seen and valued as me, yet wanting to be a part of something greater and belong, is to go out into my community and to get out of my head. Serving and helping others by using the gifts God gave me is I am able to break that damaging cycle of negative self-talk and inner chatter of worthlessness.
- …enjoys learning about typology because it helps them make meaning out of the actions of others so they can better connect. And lastly, this. We Four’s love this kind of stuff. Without sounding too nerdy, we feel alive when we are able to connect the dots of life and when something wonderful or joyful or beautiful is made out of meaning we’ve crafted with care. Some people go through life never caring what typology is, or how it affects them. Four’s are likely not those people. And that’s ok! In fact, that’s the beauty of typology – we all perceive life differently, and therefore we all bring a different perspective to life that the other types can learn and grow from. Below are some resources you can dive into if wanting to learn more about your type, Four or not!
Free Test | What is your Enneagram Type?
List | Here are the Nine Types – A General Description
Article | In Depth Enneagram Four with Strengths + Weaknesses
Book | The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by by Cron and Stabile
Book | The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by
Podcast | Typology
Okay, where my Four’s at!? I am betting there are quite a few of you who frequent this space given that types tend to flock together. If you’re not a Four, what’s your typology? Do you enjoy learning about typology or the Enneagram? And if you care to share, how has it helped you on your journey to self-discovery and spiritual growth? I am going to be sharing more posts about this as I continue to learn, and would love to know what resources you have used to deepen your knowledge on this subject! With Care, Amanda
Jenni Haikonen - I just finished commenting on your Instagram, but then headed over to read this article. And as a 4 who has studied the Enneagram continuously, I know all of these things to be true, but it is SO good to be reminded of some things sometimes (especially in the height of a stressful season!). My anxiety has been up lately because of stress and I can so often fall into the trap of “why am I feeling this way??” without recognizing all bodily symptoms are a direct result of stress. I need to remember that I can talk back to my feelings using thoughts- they are not the same thing!
I also completely connect with your reflection on walking through fields and feeling a deep connection as a child. I used to do the exact same thing! And now whenever I smell the scent of Sweetgrass, it brings me back to that feeling of deep holiness and connection to the earth (I have a sweetgrass linen spray for this exact reason).
And oh, the paradox of wanting to be unique and wanting to feel accepted. As I’ve learned this about myself, I’ve become very conscious of how I go about meeting new people and making new friends. I often have to ask myself, “am I saying this because I want to be seen as unique? And will it be bring about belonging or division by speaking it?” It’s a challenge for sure!
Thanks for sharing your reflections. I very much value the voice you put out into the world!
admin - Jenni, hello sister! Thank you for taking the time to share your heart here. I’d love to get to know you better 🙂 xx Amanda
Chelsey - What you have written here has resonated so much with my soul and my struggle. I took the enneagram 4 months ago and tied between a 4 and a 9. The following explanation on fours shook me to the bone and made me realize the narrative I was telling myself about my life was toxic and negative and I alone had the power to change that:
”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.”
Thanks for going first Amanda.
admin - Chelsey, wow. These words are so true and important. I need this reminder all the time, and end up on loops that take me no where because of the fact that they are based in imagination and non-reality. Ugh. Thank you, friend. xx Amanda
admin - Chelsey, this is SO powerful, thank you for sharing! Where did you read this, if you don’t mind me asking? xx Amanda
Suzy - Thank you so much for this, Amanda. I am also a 4 (w 3). Though I’ve taken the test just once. I am fascinated by this and am on a constant quest to deepen my understanding of myself and others. I feel I can be more empathetic and tolerant if I understand why people (especially me!) are the way they are. I also struggle with depression and anxiety (just got off meds I’d been taking for many years) and had two very rough bouts of ppd. I am home with my children now but have always struggled with career indecision, as nothing seemed worthy or meaningful enough. (That no doubt makes me sound spoiled, but nothing is more valuable than time.) I too write and I paint as well. There has been a lot of “why bother—I will never be good enough” along the way. And though most people would brand me an extrovert in a second, I do believe I am actually just a very friendly introvert! Anyway, thanks for this post (alll your posts) and I look forward to delving into these resources! (PS: this biggest cause of strife in my marriage is about mess….my husband is very very messy and I just can’t deal!)
Casey - Here! Here! Enneagram 4w2. I’ve just discovered the enneagram this past year and have greatly enjoyed learning more about my type. It’s funny how so many feelings have been put into words so accurately through this test. It so helps me to make sense of… me! Great read, Amanda!
admin - Casey, thank you fellow 4 friend 🙂 xx Amanda
Emilia - As a 4 learning about the different centers has made a big difference for me. 4’s are doing repressed which basically means that all my spiritual growth will happen when I work on DOING. Mind. Blown.
admin - Emilia, ooo can you share more!!! xx Amanda
Emilia - ❤️ I’d love to! You’ve probably heard of the different stances I’m guessing…? The aggressive stance (3,7,8) the dependant stance (1,2,6) and the withdrawing stance (4,5,9). Each stance has a different repressed center (doing, feeling or thinking). If we take 4’s as an example: We have a preferred way of taking in information (through feelings) which we then process through another center (in our case through thinking) which leaves us with doing as the repressed center. It’s like a three legged stool ; the goal is to bring up doing so that we can be more balanced. Feeling is supported by thinking, but doing isn’t used to its full potential. I found this article which gives you an introduction that might be helpful: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-enneagram-stance-judy-blackwell. I’ve listened to a lot of Suzanne Stabile’s teaching, her teaching on the doing repressed center really opens this up beautifully. I highly recommend it! Lots of love from Finland and thank you for the beautiful things you put out into the world! /E
Jessica - I’m a 3w4 married to a 4w5. We get all up in the feels and thoughts and LOVE talking about the enneagram and speculating types of others or even tv/movie characters😂
admin - Jessica, fascinating and BEAUTIFUL! xx Amanda
Ashley Woodbeck - That’s so funny that you mentioned your best friend is a Type 7 because I am also a Type 4 and my husband (my best friend) is a Type 7! Since discovering and reading more about our types and personalities, we’ve really had some “ah ha” moments, not only with ourselves, but within our relationship as well. I think it would be beneficial if everyone was more aware of their type and the types of their friends and family members because there would hopefully be more compassion, honesty, and vulnerability, and less suffering with relationships.
admin - Ashley, yes! I agree – it is so helpful for relationships and for cultivating compassion.Thanks for sharing here, love. xx Amanda
Martina Gunnarsson - Thank you so much Amanda for this post. I can’t tell how much I needed this. And the right words to describe what I’m actually are feeling. I do remember how I as a very young child felt stressed out and annoyed when my parents suddenly disturbed me playing. And how hard it felt to get back into my imaginations afterwards. And how I always felt comfortable being alone. Could feel great about not playing with friends for a few days. And then that thing with my imaginary friends (they we’re a troll family 😊) and how I “could feel” what the trees and wind was saying to me. And of course, drift away into daydreaming. Almost wanted to do that than actually real things.
So I just did the first enneagram test and I’m apparently 5w4. Going to read up more about this and for that I’m so thankful for your post. As it should’ve happens right now. Thank you again!
admin - Martina, you are so welcome dear one. xx Amanda
Jess - Super insightful, thank you for this!
admin - Jess, most welcome! xx Amanda
susan crane - Beautiful post!! Fellow INFJ type 4 here, might explain why I was so drawn to your blog. Thanks for all the great resources and the insights, they are greatly appreciated.
admin - Susan, hello sister! We 4’s are interesting folk that feel so much more at home when we realize our oddities are gifts that other 4’s are learning to appreciate too 🙂 xx Amanda
Taylor - Hello! I’m a type 1, but I’ve often resided in type 4 as I struggle to have serinity in a very imperfect world, especially as the religious and political systems I grew up trusting fall apart around me. I’m working to live in the good parts of 4, but right now it’s where I go in unhealth. I actually purposely follow you and other beautiful Instagram accounts to just bathe my heart in hopeful beauty when I can’t take a walk outside or read my favorite texts. What’s interesting to me is that I am also an INFJ, but since I discovered the Enneagram, I don’t really feel as connected to those four letters. And speaking of connections we share, I teach middle school English (in my second year and love it). Thank you for your post!
admin - Taylor, you know what’s interesting, is that when 4’s are at their healthiest, they are driven to channel 1’s! Just as you struggle to have something that comes naturally to 4’s, I struggle with what comes naturally to you – and that’s why we need one another! So, teach me your ways haha. I admire 1’s so very much. xx Amanda
Lindsay - 4w5 here!! I started learning about enneagram types last year and am in love! As a typical 4, all this soul searching and analyzing is right up my ally. I’m also an INFP. Like you, I’ve always felt a deep sense of connection with everything around me and also suffer from the envy you described. It’s crazy! I feel like I’ve spent most of my youth and young adult life searching for meaning (majored in eastern religion in college, did a lot of exploration using various mediums, jumped into yoga in my 20’s/30’s, dove into Waldorf education when my children were small and completed the two years of foundation studies). I’m into my 40’s and still searching, exploring and learning – devine feminine, kundalini, Buddhism, meditation. We 4’s have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge!
admin - Lindsey, hello sister! Soul searching is something we were born to do, and I truly believe it’s because our souls are longing for growth in a very special way. Your story sounds SO much like mine, and I find so much comfort in that. How I would love to get to know you better! Just booked a kundalini class too, wouldn’t ya know! Sending you love, friend. xx Amanda
Kathleen - I’m a 4w5 and INFP as well. Can I just say- all. the. feelings.
Other than my 4w5 INFJ friend, I’ve never felt like someone else understands how deep and intertwined my feelings are with my thoughts (still working on separating the two) and the outside world. I find that I get overwhelmed easier than others- by beauty, by sadness, and generally have a more complicated relationship with emotions in that sense. Even when I’m in a moment and I truly appreciate it (no longing or comparison!) I want everyone to experience it like I have. Is that common among us too? Like when you have a really tasty dinner outside on a beautiful night or a enjoyable time with loved ones and want to share that beauty with everyone. That can’t just be me, right?
Frivolous Friday – Chasing Cozy - […] Enneagram Sisters […]
Gemma - Thank you, Amanda, for this encouraging post. I too am a four on the Enneagram and an INFJ! Which probably explains why I enjoy your blog so much 🙂 I’m also a psychotherapist, and currently a Mother in the throes of PPD exacerbated by loss and envy as I grew up without a mother. Parenting without having been parented is often excrucuating. I struggle with a continuous feeling of inadequacy and lack of meaning and purpose and often feelings of tremendous worthlessness. Death by loneliness, I completely understand that feeling. But it’s so helpful to read that perhaps much of these feelings are associated with my personality type, and has encouraged me to delve into this more for guidance. I’m so glad you are finding healing and meaning through your many endeavours. You are a beautiful soul.
Lauren - Gemma, my heart is for you. I can completely understand what you are feeling. I too grew up without guidance from either my mother or my father, and even because of this I was not accepted with a whole heart into my inlaws’ family as I was viewed as ‘flawed.’ It can be so hard in the beginning navigating being a parent, but please do not discount your instinct or heart (which shines even in this post) because in my experience it can also be such a gift. Albeit painful, consider these growing pains. In them you have such pure freedom to create your own unique family culture. My husband and I have made something really special of our tribe unlike either of us has had shown to us through our families. We all love each other deep and true in all of our imperfections. Envision that for yourself in this tough season… and look at you, you are different from your parents. The difference is, you are trying. Do not give up. There is something so beautiful about you. Much love to you and yours.
admin - Lauren, this is so beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to lift Gemma up in this community. I so appreciate you and your kindness. xx Amanda
admin - Gemma, hello sister! As someone like you who is drawn to finding meaning in all the things, this really helps connect dots in a fresh perspective. I know the feeling of extreme worthlessness so well, and it haunts me. When I am really down and depressed that is exactly what I feel, so know you are not alone. It’s a part of how we perceive the world, but it doesn’t mean it’s true! You are worthy because you are beautifully you. And you are a therapist! Beautiful, meaningful work, love. I wish we could sit down over a cup of tea and get to know one another better. xx Amanda
Laura - Thanks for sharing this! I had never heard of this typology but I really like the brief insight from the linked test and will look into it more. I thought for sure I was a 4 after reading your post but I am a 5! Funnily enough 5s are described as often mistyping themselves as 4s. After reading the description of a 5 I do agree that it describes me very accurately.
admin - Laura, you are most welcome! I find it all so interesting and empowering. My husband is a 5 too! xx Amanda
Inger - I got a 4w3! I wasn’t surprised to find the traits of the type I got pretty much describes exactly who I am. In the myers briggs typology I am an INFP with an almost 50/50 preference between E and I. I am totally fascinated by this typology stuff and I cannot understand when people take no interest in finding out their typology or go deeper to search for meaning and find out the WHYs of their life. “But don’t you want to know who you ARE? Don’t you want to empower yourself with this information and also use it to understand others?” Hehe, reading this post of yours today Amanda explains a lot. Have you done Grechen Rubin’s the Four Tendencies quiz? I am a questionner which also makes a lot of sense.
admin - Inger, I have dear one! And guess who is a questioner, too? 😉 xx Amanda
Sonja Bee - I had never even heard of enneagrams before but I took both free tests and it seems that like Martina I am a 5w4. I am definitely going to do some investigating of this way of typing personality traits. It has gotten me very curious. I read the description of all types before I started and I thought I might be a 4 as well but lo, it turns out not. I thought it was interesting what Laura said about 5s often mistyping themselves as 4s. I certainly did.
admin - Sonja, my husband is just like you! To too is a 5 but identifies with 2 and 9….sometimes 4! Whereas I feel completely and truly a full-fledged 4, haha. xx Amanda
Tidy Home Tips & Tidbits | Organize and Beautify the Insides of Closets with June Home Supply » Homesong - […] Lavender | Have you ever thought about putting a little bouquet of lavender inside your closet? This is very Enneagram Four of me, but I cannot help myself. I enjoy adding floral freshness wherever I can in our home, and it only […]
Melissa Peterson - Thanks for posting this! I have been wanting to read up on it since you posted it but I haven’t made time until now. As usual, my results are inconclusive. ☺️ My Meyers Briggs results are always right on the edge of intro- or extra- and thinking- or feeling-, and the tests I just took for the enneagram said they couldn’t tell if I am a 5w4 or 4w5. I sort of take pride in being undefinable, and I super relate to what you said about wanting to be different but belong, so maybe i am a 4 like you. Either way, it is fun and interesting and i’ll be reading up on it. Happy and peaceful Thanksgiving, Amanda. ❤️
Kelsey - Thank you for this post and this blog and the sense of peace and meaning you help bring to the world. I’m also a 4 and so many of the things you write and post just help me pause, and center, and breath, and reconnect with the present. I peruse Homesong when I feel frazzled and overwhelmed, just knowing that it’s possible to live differently and appreciate simply. So thank you, in this season of gratitude I am grateful for you and your effort and your thoughtful eloquence.
Natalie Wilson - I relished this post! I very much resonated with your insights! I’m a 4w5, INFP, and have been doing Enneagram work (in 4 style – hardcore -) for a year and a half. My intro to the Enneagram was also The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile (as well as the RBTY podcast) and then I read The Christian Enneagram by Richard Rohr, and The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut, (my favorite so far). I’m currently listening to the Sacred Enneagram by Chris Heuertz which I was inspired by you to look into! Enjoying it very much. My favorite resources are The Complete Enneagram, the Typology podcast (and just about anything Ian Cron says!) as well as the Enneagram Institute online. But I’ve learned the most about typology through talking with friends and family and learning firsthand how all people uniquely exhibit their type.
I recently found a very helpful summary of types and have been working through 4 and resonating with it very much. Here’s the link, in case it’s also helpful for you.
It was an earth shaking day when I too came to the necessary and helpful realization that my feelings and my thoughts were distinguishable. It certainly doesn’t seem that way, most days in the life of this Four!
As a (29-yr-old) mama of five young kids (ages 8 1/2 – 2), I feel faced with the constant choice to transcend my Fourness and ground myself in the present, (sometimes mundane) domestic life, and move against my strong drive to withdraw and hide and narrate my inner world to myself. Finding meaning in the mundane is a huge part of who I am also.
Wishing you much peace and growth in your continuing journey in the Enneagram, Amanda. I’m right alongside you, learning and growing. Thanks so much for sharing! I look forward to more future posts!
Krista - Amanda this was another amazingly insightful and beautiful read. I found the enneagram about 8 years ago. I am a 1w2. My husband is an 8! Our good friend introduced it to us and it has explained so many things around why we do things and how we interact! We have gone back to it many many times over the years for more clarity! We also love finding out what other people are. I find that it allows compassion and understanding to have a space in some relationships that are difficult! I even had my staff take the test one year so that we could help each other in times of stress by sharing our strengths and being mindful of each other’s “patterns” in times of stress.
Recently I have found the “Instruction” by Ainslie MacLeod and it too has been amazingly insightful on my personality! He walks you through your sole ages and types ( he has a quiz on his website). I can’t get enough of him and I have a feeling you would LOVE the insight he brings to life!
Thank you for all your beautiful posts and for sharing your journey! I find it very inspiring!
Sonja Bee - Because of your post I have gone back to find out what Briggs Meyers personality I have – INTJ and sometimes INFJ – and also asked facebook friends and friends in a flickr group that I am active in. I had not thought about why I feel comfortable in certain places or in certain groups or even feel like I am being hugged every time I come to read your blog posts even though my life is so very different than yours – age and circumstance etc but now I see that most of my friends – even online friends who I have never met – are the same personality type to me. I guess this really does prove that these tests have merit. Thanks again for this post. x
Paige - I feel so understood. I am a 2 (the helper) but I’m an infj. So I’m a deep feeler with a rich internal life but stuggle with people pleasing. I am infinitly interested in personality types. It has really helped me make sense of the world. I have always been so into what makes people who they are. And am on a constant journey or self improvement. Thanks for this post.
Erica Hansen - I know I am late to the party in just now reading this post, but wow! I am also a 4, infj, and you described my postpartum experience completely – absolute terror when my husband had to leave. I felt paralyzed by the loneliness and anxiety. I never left the house. I cried all the time (and so did my baby, which made it even more of a struggle.) During my next two pregnancies, I sought therapy and counseling as a proactive measure, which helped some. My therapist at one point told me that I struggle with separation anxiety, which makes sense when I consider my experiences but also made me feel a tad childish. And I am not adopted, but my dad essentially abandoned my brother and me seven years ago when my parents divorced – I haven’t seen or heard from him since. I’d like to think that I have dealt with that, but I feel that it is one of the roots in many of my struggles.
Thank you for sharing this, and for inviting meaningful conversation in a safe space.
Brittany Peterson - Hi there, I’ve only been a student of the Enneagram for 6 months. The first time I took the test I scored a 4. Honestly I thought this description was too cool for me, so I thought maybe I was a different type. I never knew myself to be creative, or really felt jealous of others. So I took on different personalities for a while. None of the other types quite fit me like the 4. So I stuck with it, and man…this is me. I can’t run from it.
Billie - So beautiful! So grateful to have been guided to this page. As I read each part I felt seen and understood as a 4. When you emphasized that fours search for meaning, it brought tears to my eyes. “Meaning” is the perfect word to describe what I intuitively strive for in every moment. So moved. Thank you for this lovely piece.
A Simple Guide to Morning Time | December Printable - […] 4’s recently, I found it to be very accurate. If you’re interested, you can read it here.) Ultimately, I chose Nat King Cole’s version of O Tannenbaum. His version is pure and simple […]
Tori - Was anyone else bummed by the description of the enneagram type 4? Being one myself, the characteristics of a four are frighteningly accurate. It seems as if every description, however, reads as though we’re full of ourselves and out of touch with reality, so–being the four that I am–read the descriptions of the other enneagram numbers and thought that the others had much better character strengths than fours did. Envy much? What are fours for?!? XD. To me this is more accurate than the Myers Briggs stuff, under which I’m pegged as an ENFP, one of the few extroverted types who needs time to herself to unwind and sit with her thoughts alone. I never expected to learn this much about myself on a test, ever. It’s spot on.
Dear Introvert | Part I: Some Truths About Being an Introvert » Homesong - […] recognize the empowerment and freedom that comes with learning about oneself. Reading about the Enneagram has had the same affect on my life, for in opening up and sharing these vulnerabilities I have been […]
Jordan Kersten - This is such a wonderful post! I’m a highly sensitive 2w3, and my best friend is a 4. Sometimes she disappears/retreats for lengths of time for what seems like no reason, and I have felt quite hurt about it at times. This blog reminded me to be patient and understanding during these periods, and to know that she is probably just trying to take care of her very sensitive soul. I miss her right now, as she is going through one of those times. It’s good to connect to the four energy I am missing on this blog.
Nicole LaBelle - Hi there! Thank you for sharing! Im a four, and new to the enneagram. I always grew up superrrrr sensitive and feeling things so deeply. Sohearing other people go through similar experiences is so helpful. It also makes sense as to why I am always looking for meaning and connections in things. I don’t know all that much about the enneagram, but it has been so helpful to know there are people that see the world in the same way.
Justine Haemmerli - Amanda, thank you for this beautiful post! I recently discovered I am an Enneagram Four, and it has been the biggest “ohhhhhh, now it makes sense!” of my life. I think the one you articulated so beautifully well was #9 – that paradoxical desire to be special and unique, and also to fit in. I always experienced this as my own idiosyncratc inner conflict, and to understand that it’s part of our type was so freeing and healing. It is a great source of pain, to feel so different and yearn for belonging, and yet to fear that the very things that keep you separate might be the best parts of you… (and, I’m learning, coming to see that the separateness might only exist in your own head!) I’m still personally struggling not to drown in feelings, and learning to sort them from thoughts or facts, which I know sounds silly to (my type 5 husband is like “…”), but it’s very comforting that other Type 4s understand this! It’s funny – my business, Girls Gone Happy, sells Card Decks full of Questions and Topics cards – folks use them in groups to connect deeply and intimately with each other, skipping small talk (a Type 4 allergy!) and getting into juicy big life discussions – or, on their own to help answer their own big life questions, be guided through introspection, and learn to listen to their inner wisdom. (In fact, a lot of the language you use in this post is the exact verbiage I use on our website, it was uncanny!) When I first learned about my Enneagram type, I was like my gosh without knowing about the enneagram I still made literally the MOST Type 4 product that could have possibly existed! Ha. Have you had any moments like this, where something you did suddenly made complete sense in the framework of your Type 4 – itude? Thank you again for sharing this, it truly brought peace and comfort to my heart during a difficult day! xo
THE ART OF FOUR II: PLAYING WITH OTHERS – Zain web - […] compare A Four’s main challenge is described as envy; the constant comparison to others – at its worst, this can be a handbrake for a creative. When collaborating, it’s important for […]
GN - About beauty … I always thought I was being helpful by offering “suggestions” on how to improve something. This, of course, has been perceived as judgemental or condescending. But with a 4, that isn’t where it comes from AT ALL! (We’re empaths — we know pain and try not to inflict it!). It comes from recognizing the full potential of something, wanting to see the complete manifestation of what beauty is possible, even in the mundane: “the lighting in the front of the church needs to be better” (to make the church more beautiful); “that news anchor should have worn a different outfit” (because she is doing such a great job, her clothes are distracting from it), etc. But finding a place to exercise that “gift” is a trick! Thanks for a great post, Sister Four!
Alicia - Hello,
Thank you so much for writing this piece. I am an enneagram 4 and reading this felt so comforting to me…like finding someone who truly gets me…the real me. Last year I discovered I am a DNA NPE (kind of like a late-discovery adoptee…but not exactly…a DNA test gave me the shock of my life when it revealed that my dad was not my biological father…) This discovery was one of those missing puzzle piece moments for me as an enneagram 4…it kind of makes sense…looking back on my life with this new knowledge…it makes sense why I struggled to feel connected to those that were caring for me. I desperately tried and at times felt connected but it was never as deep as I needed/wanted…I always felt lonely growing up…and that continued on into my adult years…because if its hard to connect with those you should feel safest with…then connecting with others becomes even more difficult. I am currently writing a memoir to help process this all and turn my experience into art.
Thank you again,
Amy - WOW!! I was having a total pity party day drowning in my own feelings & this post has lifted me to a place of empowerment. Spot on…all of it!! I feel so seen & validated! Every single word is me….even the adopted part as I was adopted & have voiced these exact thoughts/feelings!! Thank you for surrounding me in some fellow 4-ness ❤️
Emilee Ham - This website was very helpful about showing me how i am as a person and writing in a journal about it
Keith - Hello! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on being a Four (4). I’m a 4w5 INFJ. You know, I have been recently been wanting to create a fictional novel grounded in magical realism or fantasy about what it’s shifting from being an unhealthy to a healthy 4. I was wondering if you had any ideas. I wanted to write about a 4/INFJ character who struggles with the fear of abandonment and separation anxiety. I was thinking of creating a rare race of humans called metamorphomists, people who turn into mist whenever they embrace the people they love. Any other additional thoughts on ways I could write creatively on some of the experiences behind being an INFJ/4?
Renovation Round Up! | Paint Colors Part One | Neutrals » Homesong - […] am also very much a why person, and the meaning behind everything is deeply important to me (see this post), even white paint. So naturally, I tested all of these out and then some. I may have carried […]