The Individualist (Enneagram 4) is an intense and creative artist, who works with tangible objects or intangible ideas to find meaning and discovery in themselves and in nature. Fours believe in creation over consumption, and will put up a fight against anyone who tries to convince them otherwise. They experiment with different ideologies, philosophies, and modalities to form a meaningful mélange of living.
Whimsical and free-spirited, Fours march to the beat of their own drums and passionately follow their deeply-held inner values. They believe in writing their own life stories and trekking down paths alone. While this is easier said than done, Fours typically put up with a lot of fear instilled from teachers, peers, or authority figures from a young age—who tell them to take the “safe” route and squash their dreams.
Sensitive and attuned to peak experiences, Fours can feel like aimless wanderers, searching for the meaning behind their existence, especially during adolescence. They find great joy when they’re able to tap into their “flow” state—when time melts away and hours feel like minutes. By late adulthood, Fours typically gain a more holistic sense of their true identity and are able to find their place in (or out of) society.
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Table of contents
- A Quick Overview of the Four:
- Common Values of the Enneagram 4:
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
A Quick Overview of the Four:
- Part of the Heart Triad (along with Enneatypes Two and Three)
- Can have a Three or Five wing: 4w3 or 4w5
- Nicknamed ‘The Individualist’
- Ego Fixation: Melancholy
- Vice: Envy
- Virtue: Equanimity
- Integrates into the One (The Perfectionist) under growth
- Disintegrations into the Two (The Helper) under stress
- Basic Fear: To float through life without a true identity or sense of purpose
- Basic Desire: To be wholly unique, appreciated, and valued
Values are the core beliefs that make up the most important aspects of life. They have a strong influence over important decisions, especially during critical times, when standing between a fork in the road.
Common Values of the Enneagram 4:
- “True Love”
The Enneagram model of personality identifies three distinct levels of health for each type: healthy, normal, and unhealthy.
Under healthy levels of growth, Fours integrate in the direction of the One, and become more socially aware, responsible, and emotionally resilient. They possess an uncanny ability to intertwine complex topics dealing with morality with different art forms: songs, scripts, films, paintings, sculptures, comics, and the like.
The once shattered pieces of past hopes and dreams get a second go at it when Fours reel in the positive qualities of the One. When this happens, they learn how to boldly take a stand for the greater good. They can become compassionate activists for a cause they believe in. They grow by seeing and appreciating the individuality in each person, without scrambling to be different.
At normal levels, Fours take extreme care to present a very unique image to the world, to prove how unique or special they are. Driven to find their identity, their primary concern is to be different from others, no matter what it takes. This may take the form of “trying on” different styles, looks, and even mannerisms to stand out.
In relationships—platonic or romantic—Fours have an overwhelming need to be appreciated for who they are, free from judgement and criticism. They enjoy (and crave) deep conversations about the universality of the human condition, meaning(s) of life (or lack thereof), and every grand theory of the universe in-between. They can be deeply insightful and sensitive.
Under unhealthy levels of stress, Fours disintegrate in the direction of the Two, and become more needy, tied to emotional bonds, and prone to extreme mood swings. During this time, they often quit social platforms cold turkey in order to “find themselves” again.
When their idealism and rose-colored glasses shatter under (eventual) dire circumstances, Fours can fall into very morbid and hysterical mindsets. They essentially “dig their own graves” into brokenness by exacerbating their unstable states of mind—through music, temporary flings, or use of fantasy-inducing substances.
Type 4 Behavior at Healthy Levels of Maturity:
- Socially aware and responsible
- Emotionally stable and clear-headed
- Has an organized, collected demeanor
- Celebrates others instead of comparing
- Creatively ingenious
- Blends creativity with a realistic outlook
- Develops insights into the emotional world of themselves and others
Type 4 Behavior at Average Levels of Maturity:
- Constantly compares self to others
- Tends to be dreamy and absent-minded
- Unique and quirky— and will make it known
- Has a flair for wordplay and artistic endeavours
- Has moody and temperamental periods
Type 4 Behavior at Unhealthy Levels of Maturity:
- Overly clingy and needy disposition – OR – rejecting of others, withdrawing into self.
- Deployment of mind games to secure affection
- Plays the victim
- Gets lost in a fantasy world
- Feels melancholy and listless
- May engage in bizarre rituals to deflate self-esteem
When it comes to vocational preferences, Fours gravitate toward careers where they can use their creative gifts to express their emotions to the world and inspire others.
- Film Director
During down time, Fours aim to release their emotional buildup through a creative outlet and effectively deal with their thoughts alone.
- Thrift-store shopping
- Listening to music and/or watching movies
- Spending time with animals
Many well-known artists and authors throughout history were Fours in the Enneagram. Fours are often spotted working with different mediums to express their illuminating spectrum of emotions.
Quotes From Famous Enneagram 4 Types:
- “Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” – Edgar Allen Poe
- “An actor must interpret life, and in order to do so must be willing to accept all the experiences life has to offer.” – James Dean
- “For me, clothes are kind of character; I don’t follow fashion or understand trends.” – Meryl Streep
- “I wish they would only take me as I am.” – Vincent Van Gogh
A Video of the Enneagram 4 Type:
Watch this video to sum up some of the most important characteristics of the Enneagram Four personality type.
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Lily Yuan is a personality psychology writer who has a knack for just missing the bus. She tests as INTP 5w4 and constantly questions her type. Learn more at www.lily-yuan.com or follow her on Twitter @LilyYuanWrites.