My therapist would be upset at me because I’m not supposed to be thinking about any sort of career shifts until I achieve my two priority goals (stay in job for at least one year and study for/score high on the GRE.) — But I was in the mood to take a test that would help yet again confirm my suspicions that I’m in the wrong career. I’ve taken the Myers Briggs multiple times and have come out an INFP, so I moved on to the 145 question Enneagram. Apparently I’m at least consistent with my persona (INFPs reported to be enneagram 4’s most frequently.)
I’m a 4 with a “7” wing, and a bit of a mix of 5, 3 and 2. What on earth does that mean?
4’s are either called the “individualists” or the “romantics.”
Well, the other terms used to describe this type are more negative but perhaps more honest — “over-analyzer” and “melodramatic elitist.” Hmm.
“You need be seen as artistic, gifted and accomplished. You focus on your individuality and on carving your own distinct image. You need to express your deep feelings and want others to validate your emotions. Whether you are organizing your living space to reflect your refined tastes or engaging in an artistic pursuit, it is essential for your sense of well being that you express your creativity.”
Ok, ok. So this test really gets me, deep down, in all the ugliness that is my self-absorbed, artistic, intuitive, over-dramatic self.
The career portion of the test notes that ideal careers for 4’s = psychotherapist, dance instructor, artist, writer, life coach, relationship counselor, missionary, web designer or actor/musician. Again, the therapist suggestion pops up. Maybe I should stop ignoring that option.
7s, which is my second highest score, recommends fun careers such as comedian, photographer, entertainer, tour guide, artist/musician.
Clearly I either should be an artist or a therapist.
The whole 4w7 is apparently a strange mix, which is why I probably am eternally conflicted…
“This mixed type has an enormous potential for creativity. The lightness of Type 7 mitigates the heaviness of Type 4, and the profundity of Type 4 makes the superficiality of Type 7 tolerable. But at the same time it is hard for this mixed type to stabilize himself emotionally; he is strangely faltering and ungrounded.”
“Type 4 and Type 7 are very different. Nevertheless, they meet in their creativity. . . .”
“The lightness of the seventh Enneagram type is completely foreign to Type 4, who goes through life in a melancholy way. Suffering, from which Type 7 flees like the plague, is a constant companion of Type 4, who accepts it and does not try to repress it.
“The superficial optimism of Type 7 is a mystery to Type 4, just as the suffering of Type 4 is incomprehensible to Type 7.”
“This type is relatively rare, and like most of the mixed types that have some Type 4 in them, it can be found in artistic circles.”
Getting back to 4s, because that’s what I scored highest on…
Generally, Fours are intuitive, sensitive, impressionable, quiet, introspective, passionate, romantic, elegant, witty, imaginative, and self-expressive.
Fours get into conflicts by being moody, emotionally demanding, self-absorbed, withholding, temperamental, dramatic, pretentious, and self-indulgent.
At their best, Fours are creative, inspired, honest with themselves, emotionally strong, humane, self-aware, discrete, and self-renewing.
Type Four exemplifies the desire to be ourselves, to be known for who we are, and to know the depths of our hearts. Of all the types, Fours are the most aware of their own emotional states. They notice when they feel upset, anxious, attracted to another person, or some other, more subtle combination of feelings. They pay attention to their different changing emotions and try to determine what their feelings are telling them about themselves, others, and their world. When Fours are more in balance, their exquisite attunement to their inner states enables them to discover deep truths about human nature, to bear compassionate witness to the suffering of others, or to be profoundly honest with themselves about their own motives. When they are less balanced, they can become lost in their feelings, preoccupied with emotional reactions, memories, and fantasies, both negative and positive.
Their Hidden Side
On the surface, Fours can seem to suffer from chronic self-doubt and extreme sensitivity to others’ reactions to them. But part of the reason for this is that Fours often hold a secret, inner image of who they feel they could be. They have an idea of the sort of person they would like to become, the kind of person who would be fantastically talented, socially adept, and intensely desired. In short, Fours come to believe that if they were somehow different from who they are, they would be seen and loved. Unfortunately, they constantly compare themselves negatively to this idealized secret self—their ‘fantasy self.” This makes it very difficult for Fours to appreciate many of their genuine positive qualities because they are never as wonderful as the fantasy. Much of the growth for type Four involves letting go of this idealized secret self so that they can see and appreciate who they actually are.
So this made me tear up a bit because it’s so true. I’m constantly hoping that somewhere deep down there is a person who is so innately talented and special and she just needs to figure out how to make her grande appearance to be appreciated and loved. But I also acknowledge this is complete and utter bullshit and I just need to accept who I am and move on with life.
The Passion: Envy
At some level, Fours believe that they are missing something that other people seem to have. They feel that something is wrong with them or with their relationships, and they start to be acutely aware of what is not working in their lives. Naturally, given this frame of mind, it is difficult for Fours to feel good about themselves or to appreciate the good things in their world.
Fours rightly perceive that there is something inadequate or incomplete about the ego self, but they incorrectly assume that they alone suffer from this problem. Fours then get in the habit of comparing themselves to others, concluding that they have somehow gotten “the short end of the stick.” Fours feel that they have been singled out by fate for bad treatment, bad luck, unsatisfying relationships, bad parenting, and broken dreams. It comes as something of a shock to many Fours to discover that other people have suffered as much or even more than they have. This doesn’t mean that Fours haven’t suffered or that their painful pasts are inconsequential. But Fours need to see how they perpetuate their own suffering by continually focusing on old wounds rather than truly processing those hurts and letting go of them in a way that would allow them to heal.