The Enneagram, according to the Enneagram Institute, is a tool that “helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge.” This series reflects an opinion that connects faith with each of the nine personality profiles of the Enneagram.
Fruit of the Spirit to give attention to: Self-control
Fours are poetry in human form. They access levels of emotion that no other type can fully reach. They tune into depths of themselves and understand their emotions in a way that makes it difficult for others to relate to them, especially when they themselves don’t have control of those emotions. They’re passionate, sentimental, colorful beings that are the world’s true artists. They’re driven by their emotions.
Fours are often misunderstood and underappreciated because of the way they feel so intensely. Others tend to be overwhelmed by how easily they tune into and lean on their deep emotions, but the way they don’t fear and repress their emotions — when done in a healthy way — can be such an admirable quality. Fours can appreciate the beauty in moments more vividly; they can heal more emotionally by fully embracing their emotions. However, like other types, the light that the four is capable of bringing to the world can also be the root of their own internal darkness.
While everyone has a self-identity and sometimes struggles with what their individual face looks like, this is even more true for Fours. Their search for their identity comes from not knowing their unique significance and feeling blocked from their true essence. They, in turn, place their identity and trust in their emotions, which are ever-changing. While they feel that something is missing from their lives, they aren’t completely sure what it is they are looking for and they use their emotions as a road map to try to find it. Thi,s combined with their artful minds, leads them to live lives filled with fantasy.
To get away from their desire and yearning to connect with themselves, they overcompensate by getting wrapped up in idealization; they think that the significance in other’s lives is what is missing from their own and what is missing from their identity. Fours often confuse facts with feelings and think of them as equals when it comes to decision making. For example, when Fours are in relationships, romantically or platonically, if they feel like something is missing in a moment of a relationship or feel like other relationships contain more of something, they may reject the relationship. Learning to control their own emotions to where they can experience their depth, but also not let them drive their actions will help Fours thrive.
The best thing for a Four to do is to realize that the way they feel emotions isn’t a flaw, and it is important to remember that those emotions are fleeting pieces in time. Having self-control over their emotions is how they can launch their lives into consistency. When they’re able to do this, they can begin to practice self-discipline that will give them long-lasting relationships and give them lives of action rather than idealized dreaming.
For those who know a Four:
Fours often feel like no one will truly be able to ever understand them, but they also desperately wish that people would try to connect with them. This give-and-take mentality creates dynamic relationships where Fours often push people away to test them; however, their push is actually a subconscious pull. They fear abandonment because that loss of a person causes them to feel an increased loss sense of self. When someone who knows a Four is pushed away by them, remaining a constant is extremely important.
Remind the Four that while their emotions are present for only brief moments, the relationships and connections in their life are not. The best thing that people who know and love a Four can do is to validate their emotions. Don’t try to repress them, but in love, try to pull them out of their idealization and comparison by staying constant and compelling them to find consistency in their actions. Also, learning to tell the difference between their fierce independence and their detached withdrawals is essential to maintain relationships with Fours.
Verses for a Four:
1 John 3:20
For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”