What Does a Happy Enneagram Type 4 Look Like?

Many Enneagram type 4s have no idea. “Happy” may conjure up an image of blithe extroversion that feels impossible, undesirable, or both. Others have an ideal of the perfect romance or covet the lives of creative professionals and celebrities. Even 4s who have achieved significant insight and perspective often find themselves chronically unhappy. While some kinds of type 4s seem happier on the surface, I have personally seen attainable happiness come to even difficult combinations of wing, instinct, and tritype.

Happy 4s are able to connect with at least some people who are unlike them and have mutually beneficial conversations, whether casually such as by sharing an interest or intimately such as by gently engaging with the other person’s feelings and sharing their own in simple terms.

Exercise: Look for times when your deeply-held sentiments are already shared by a number of people. For example, plenty of people want world peace and even believe it can happen. Plenty of people love and want to support amateur theater. Some people love your favorite band.

Happy 4s are able to value the kind of person they are at a base level rather than in reference to special, unique talents. They can show up with their authenticity and still expect to be seen as just another person, not worse or better or different.

Exercise: Are there qualities you feel are terrible about being you or a 4? Look for people different from you who share those qualities. For example, “I’m lazy” — feeling laziness and acting on it, even to the point of big problems, is really common. “I’m hard to deal with” — notice how many different kinds of people are hard to deal with in different ways.

Happy 4s’ self-concept is loosened and expandable.

Exercise: List some common things you don’t think you’ll ever personally do. You don’t have to cross everything off this list, but take them one at a time and imagine for a moment that in an alternate future, there’s a version of you who has done this. Why might that be?

Happy 4s usually have a creative outlet that is comfortable rather than being an experience of envy or rejection.

Exercise: If you knew your work would never be celebrated, what would you want to create for the sake of the experience? It would be no more a waste of time than, say, watching TV, would it?

Happy 4s believe that happiness is possible for them and can be experienced without negatively affecting the world (such as in the way people who are enjoying their happiness without thinking may annoy the 4).

Exercise: When would someone’s happiness make you happy? If you knew they had suffered in the past? If you felt they were a good person? If they tried to welcome others to share in it without compromising who they were?

Happy 4s haven’t left sadness behind forever. A happy 4 lets it come and go freely, and, as they get healthier and their lives improve, it more often goes. Happy 4s have let go of the idea that going quickly from a negative mood to a positive one disrespects or trivializes it.