I would describe my journey with the enneagram in phases: enlightening, evading, empowering and engaging.
Milton, my friend who created Do It For The Gram, introduced me to the enneagram years ago. We used to work together and one day he suggested I take "the test". That two-question enneagram test. I was curious... The result? 7. He looked at me like I was crazy. "No way, you're not a 7." (He’s a 7, lol) I'm reading the definition and I'm like, “Why can't I be a 7??” He says take it again, but this time think about how you would have answered the questions as an adolescent. Think about the core of who you are and how you make decisions. I did just that and the answer was a resounding 4. I read the description and it was at that moment I knew, without a doubt, I AM A FOUR. A quintessential Four.
♦ Enlightening Phase: For the first time in my life, I felt SO UTTERLY SEEN. In true Four fashion, I'd just been floating through life thinking there's nobody like me. I'm so extra... Extra sensitive. Extra emotional. Extra unique. Extra special. Everything about the Four resonated with me SO much. I began reading as much as I could about "my people"! We are not like anybody, so nobody gets us (or so we think). Cannot stand the ordinary-- Always desire uniqueness. Fantasy-prone. Hypersensitive. Melancholy, our forever friend. (Yep, I have a playlist of all sad Christmas songs and I love it, LOL). Super artistic and creative. ALL THE FEELINGS. ALL. THE. TIME. There’s always something missing. If I could just have [insert whatever] then I’d be happy, worthy or enough. And most of all, our vice, that deadly sin: ENVY.
♦ Evading Phase: Again, true-to-four, I began comparing myself to other numbers. I felt like something is wrong and I don't want to be a Four anymore. I was trying to escape. I don't want to be seen as weak, troubled, overly-emotional and inadequate. Thanks to several of my church members, who are also well-versed in the enneagram, I was shown how qualities I possess as a Four can be seen as strengths! And the negative qualities can be overcome. With this in mind, I set out to conquer these... and become an ambassador for the Fours.
♦ Empowering Phase: At some point along the way, Milton suggested I listen to the book “The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery”. (I highly recommend it.) The chapter on the Four is the single most accurate and well-thought-out interpretation of a Four I've come across to date... and it's no wonder, the author is a Four! After hearing it, I just remember sobbing. It was like, he knew me. Like, he really got me. What I love about it is that it's not just a description of a four but he is talking directly to us... to help us get back on track. He talks about the “emotional vortex” that is our craziness intensified… Being able to identify when I’m about to start swirling around in that thing and pulling myself out, has been life-changing to say the least. One of the things he says and repeats "There’s nothing missing".
To paraphrase, he says “Fours need to hear this loud and clear: there’s nothing missing. Listen to me Fours: There’s. Nothing. Missing. It may be hard to believe, but God didn’t ship us here with a vital part absent from our essential makeup. Fours arrived on life’s doorstep with the same equipment everyone else did. The kingdom is inside us too. Everything we need is here.” That resonated with me deeply. When I was introduced to the enneagram, I was in a bad place. I would speak to myself harshly, always with the undertone of “You’re not good enough”. There was usually a party in my head-- a Pity Party for One. My sister would say I “wallowed in pity”. Those days are gone! I have replaced all of that with fearlessness, faith and love for self.
♦ Engaging Phase: Having been a lil’ self-absorbed as an unhealthy four, I had to do a lot of work on myself before I was really able to start the engaging process with other numbers, studying and understanding them too. It’s been awesome to learn how to better interact with other personalities. I’ve enjoyed conversations with those types on the enneagram who are so unlike me. The inner-workings of how they make decisions and move through life fascinate me! I see why each one of our types are so needed in this world. I’m loving all of these platforms allowing us to explore together-- social media, podcasts, blogs, meetups, etc.
To my Four Fam, one of my favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy”. When you find yourself being envious, remember that it’s doing nothing but robbing you of your spark! Try focusing on gratitude every day (Tip: Start a gratitude journal!). When you spend your days focusing on what you have, you’re too busy to focus on what you THINK you don’t have. ♥
- April Foxx