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Look in any place where creative people gather and you find Fours. They are acting in films, on TV, on stage, painting, and writing, playing, or composing music. Famous Fours might include Oscar Wilde, Sylvia Plath, Keats, Shelly, Anais Nin, Bette Davis, Prince Charles, Vincent Van Gogh, Rudolf Nureyev, Martha Graham, Virginia Woolf, Edith Piaf, Joan Baez, and Marlon Brando. When Fours are therapists they are involved in deep and transformative work. If they are chefs they are creating unique dishes; if interior decorators they are furnishing houses with flare using subtle and unusual colours. A Four is capable of transforming a scene with a single white lily. Candles illuminate their bathrooms, their bedrooms are heady with the scent of exotic oils.

Since we live in an aesthically challenged world, this habit of attention can become a problem for the Four. The much yearned for love, the fabulous goddess that they have created in their minds, who alone can make them feel complete, is as likely as the rest of us to have spinach stuck to her tooth. Disappointed, they leave, and suddenly the unobtainable takes on a rosy hue. They remember her tiny hands, the touch of her lips, and long to be once more in her arms. Enfolding her in an embrace they notice that she's put on a little weight since they were with her last. Thus continues the push-pull pattern that is common to Fours in their search for the ideal, As soon as Fours get what they want, be it man, woman, job, or cottage with the roses around the door, attention shifts to what is missing. How could it breed anything but a sense of disappointment? Ironically it feels more satisfying for Fours to yearn for the unobtainable than to actually have it, and risk losing the emotional intensity.

How Fours can help themselves grow

  1. Bring attention into the present time
  2. Notice what you have instead of what is missing.
  3. Update a gratitude diary first thing every morning and last thing every night.
  4. Notice when you are 'amping up' your emotions, and take the breath to the belly centre and focus there.
  5. When you find yourself moving into reckless mode, earth yourself by doing something such as gardening or running.
  6. Perform a loving act toward yourself every day.
  7. Make a structure for the day and let it provide a steady rhythm for you.
  8. Work on reining in your emotions when they threaten to overwhelm you.
  9. Know that when you envy qualities in another, these are your own unacknowledged qualities.
  10. Set aside time to mourn your losses with music, rituals and attention, then let them go.
  11. Remember that all things pass.
  12. Notice your habit of envy so that you can choose to transform it to its opposite - equanimity.
How you can help me if I am a Four

  • Don't allow me to manipulate you. Be grounded and stay true to yourself and tell me what is going on for you. That inspires me and helps me out of my drama.
  • Allow my feelings, understanding them if you can, even if you don't agree.
  • Doing things together. If I'm depressed, invite me to join in some sort of physical activity, preferably one that is fun, to break the spell.
  • If we disagree or fight, let me know that we are still connected and that we are in this together.
Excerpt from "Enneagram for the Spirit" by Mary Horsley
 

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Nice post, mate. I've said it before but in many ways I find the enneagram types more accurate than Myer Briggs (for me anyway). I think it allows more room for "variety" within the type.

I'm not so sure what to make of this though: "Know that when you envy qualities in another, these are your own unacknowledged qualities." I mean it's not because I envy people who can paint great pictures that painting is one of my unacknowledged qualities, as far as I know. Any ideas what it means?
 
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Hi Groovy, yeah I know what this means, though it's hard to explain over a forum and it takes different people, different methods and lengths of time to get their head around this concept.

It's basically the 'mirror' theory, that's what I call it. If there is something that you like about someone or something, it is you who has put that trait onto them.

For example, say I look at someone and say I like them they are honest. I can't get inside their head to know whether they are honest, it is me putting that virtue onto them. To know whether they are really honest, would require twenty four hour surveillance or even better to be THEM. Which is impossible we can only know our own mind and actions, so the fact that I have said this person is honest, has nothing to do with them. It basically means I appreciating them for a part of them that I PERCEIVE them to have. I believe they are honest which means I think of them that way. Why do I praise this in them? Chances are it is because I don't do it or I am not being honest about something in my life, so I respect it in others. Do you say 'oh that person breathes oxygen well'? No, because we all do it regularly. Things like honesty and painting we don't always allow ourselves permission to do so we tend to respect it in others rather than doing it ourselves.

Does that make sense yet?

Lets work with your example, you appreciate people who paint great paintings though you don't envy them because of this. So ... consider what the paintings mean to you? What is the underlying value that the paintings or the act of painting triggers for you.
It could be like this:

Me: Think of a time in your life when you have felt glad to be alive.
You: Looking at great paintings.
Me: When you looked at these paintings, how did that make you feel?
You: I don't know... Safe? in a way...
Me: Well there you go it's not the paintings, it's the feeling of 'safety' that is what is really important to you, you are projecting it onto the paintings. Perhaps you aren't doing something in your life to make you feel safe, so you project it onto the paintings.

That's just an example scenario, perhaps you could ask yourself the question, when I look at these paintings, how does it make me feel? Then work on getting that feeling inside you, rather than envying it in other people or objects.

I hope that clears it up for you, and makes it less 'vague' and hard to grasp. Let me know how that works and I'll see if I can find another way to make it easier to understand for you.
 
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