Since I started to dig in the Enneagram, I noticed that I’ve done many mistakes in my life for not being aware of several aspects I found out about being a Type 4. Actually, I’m totally being a 4 here: dramatic and highlighting the fact that I’m a hot mess. I shame myself so you won’t do it first and if you do so, you will only reinforce my self-negative image and I will be allowed to keep my drama narrative on how no one understands me and how I’m doomed to be alone.
You see, this tool has allowed me to have a clearer picture about how and why I tend to behave the way I do. In addition, it has made me look back and see how I have lived my life between two completely different extremes: an unhealthy Type 2 (the helper), who is codependent and pessimistic in nature, and a healthy Type 1 (the perfectionist), who looks forward to living life in the best way possible and holds an optimistic worldview. No wonder I felt so nutty all my life.
Healthy Fours talk about their creative ideas and are disciplined about their goals. They are centered in the present moment and they are calm in nature because they know they can have feelings without having to talk about or act on them. Unhealthy Fours, however, are excessively dependent on others and crave their attention. They need other people’s reassurance and affirmation. Knowing these differences has allowed me to identify moments in my life in which I label as successful and other moments as really miserable. I’m more successful when I act like a healthy four. Now the question I made myself was this one: how can I be more successful as a Four? Here are 5 ways by which Type 4s can be healthier and heal their core wounds:
1. You Are Not Your Stormy Feelings
I always played around with the well known sentence by Descartes: I think, therefore I am. For me it has always been I feel, therefore I am. The trouble is that we are not our thoughts and we are not our feelings. Thoughts and feelings are momentary. They come and go. They don’t define you. If I feel alone, it doesn’t mean I’m alone. If I feel disconnected, it doesn’t mean I’m not loved. The big problem for Fours is that they feel so intensely that they get overwhelmed and misperceive what is actually going on. Plus, if something feels off, they always assume and think they are to blame or that they did something wrong. I guess the best strategy for Fours is to postpone any emotional reaction whenever they feel overwhelmed and try to focus on helpful coping strategies.
2. Be More Present To Life
As Fours we can dive deep in the ocean and forget about the present moment. We can either go back to the Past or think about the unknown Future. We also tend to escape to our inner world of fantasy and isolate ourselves from situations or events that can threat our comfort zone. If we want to evolve, we have to be more rooted in the present. Mindfulness is essential to achieve this.
3. Commit Yourself to Productivity
This has been the main problem for me over the last couple of years. I haven’t been focused most of the time and therefore I have not reached many of the goals I would like to have completed by now. It’s very important that Fours realise they can’t wait for the right mood or insight. You have to work on your goals daily, even if that means taking a baby step a day.
4. Stay Connected
When you’re an unhealthy four, relationships are a huge burden and you don’t know how to deal with it so you isolate yourself and you wait for someone to come to your rescue. Healthier fours communicate and express their feelings. Super healthy fours can hold their own hand and feel secure amidst their negative emotions, without retreating from people.
5. Don’t Take It Personally
Unhealthy and average Fours are extremely self-critical. They are the first ones to tell you their defects and weaknesses. If you are cynical or sarcastic with them, they will take it very personally and overthink where they did wrong to receive your not so kind remarks. Whether you wanted to hurt them or not, they will introject everything and beat themselves up, even if you were just being a jerk or fooling around. Healthier fours are usually good at refracting what other people say and they can often use humor to cope through a less pleasant situation.