Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist
Individualists put high priority on their emotions, which they feel deeply and honestly. They see themselves as totally different from everyone else and think that no one can understand them. They often feel like they have (and usually do have) special gifts and talents, but are also painfully aware of their deficiencies, which can lead them to withdraw from social activity.
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Individualists are self-aware and emotionally honest. Morally courageous, they are not afraid to stand out from the crowd in order to express their true selves to the world. In fact, they cherish their uniqueness and use their creativity to transform their lives in all sorts of unusual ways. Often inspired, they crave beauty and enjoy aesthetically-pleasing surroundings. They are often artists, musicians, composers, authors, poets and designers.
With a rich inner life, they are intensely in touch with their emotions, particularly painful ones. They find it difficult to forget past hurts and can hold grudges for much longer than others might. Feelings of isolation are a particular source of pain for Type 4s. Because they perceive themselves as completely different from others, they are reluctant to interact with them and may feel socially outcast. Some Type 4s take on and relish the identity of an outcast, becoming very set in their ways and unwilling to compromize. Other Individualists may have an active social life with many friends, yet still feel that nobody knows who they truly are. They can be the centre of attention but feel totally alone.
Many Type 4s spend a great deal of time wishing and dreaming for a 'savior' - someone who will come into their lives and understand them completely, loving them just as they are. They long for romance and true love, and can be very quick to attach to those who show them kindness or affection. This can lead to problems as their strong feelings are not often reciprocated.
Individualists are prone to melancholy, depression and self-pity. They have terrible self-esteem and try to escape their feelings of shame by seeking to change their identity. By watching others who they admire, they construct a fantasy self as a coping mechanism. Imagining they are someone else, they can temporarily escape their feelings of self-loathing. Their idea of self-development is to become exactly like someone else. They can fixate on celebrities or other people that they know, and might pretend to be them when they are feeling insecure. However, they soon come to realize that however much they become like someone else, they still feel low self-esteem. This leads them to switch between different role-models or idols when the fantasy runs out.
Type 4s always have an underlying insecurity about who they really are, feeling something is fundamentally wrong with them and that they are unloveable. They use close relationships to prove to themselves that this is not true, and can get extremely upset when when people close to them do not understand them or are unkind to them. The actions of their loved ones touch them to the very depths of their being.
The most powerful course of action for self-development in Type 4s is gaining an understanding of Divine or Essential Identity. This enables Individualists to realize that their identity runs deeper than their emotions, self-loathing, and pretending to be other people. It is what some would call 'Soul', the Essence of Self, an identity that cannot be changed by circumstance, outer appearance, feelings or actions.
When Individualists can find ways to connect with the idea of an Essential Identity, they can detach more from their emotions. They will make strides in their personal growth when they can mourn for what was, but realize that they have an inner strength that provides hope for the future. Type 4s often let their emotions keep them living in the past, but their Essential Identity allows them a degree of objectivity that brings a new peace and purpose into their lives.
Type 4s often idolize others and feel in awe of them. If they turn these strong feelings of reverence towards the Universe/Spiritual/God, they can advance very quickly in their spirituality. They can use messages of Spiritual inspiration to address their low self-esteem and gain feelings of being loved and worthy. Their heightened self-awareness can help them to excel in their personal growth.
These extremely loving and sensitive individuals can lead truly enriching and inspirational lives when connected to their core identity. This connection allows them to become more consistent and stable in their expressions of love. They develop deep and nurturing relationships with their loved ones and have the passion, drive and stamina to make great changes in the world.
- Iman Mohiki
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