"Are Fours ever happy?"
This is a question I've experienced a lot when I tell people I'm a Four, and it makes me want to roll my eyes all the way back into my skull. However, I understand why they might be curious about Fours happiness when their sadness is whats highlight most.
I feel like The Road Back To You in particular did our number a disservice in their description of Fours, which is so confusing because one of the authors is a 4 himself! The Road Back To You will have you picturing a type Four as some black hooded figure, crying on a park bench, in the rain. But just like we've explored how not all Sixes are somewhere in the fetal position right now, and Seven aren't always happy, this is not a very fair or accurate picture of type Four.
I talked with some fellow Fours who identify themselves as "Happy Four" and there are actually A LOT of them!
Here's how they describe their experience as a Four.
When you read common descriptions of Fours what resonates and what doesn’t?
- Shelby: I agree that I feel my emotions strongly, but instead of wallowing in them and feeling the negatives, it’s more like an ocean wave that I’m riding- sometimes they knock me down but I can usually ride through them and come out the other side more empathetic and understanding of myself and others.
- Lizzie: I resonate with feeling deeply and being able to empathize with people. I love feeling the vast range of human emotions. Being a unique and meaningful creation is important to me. However, the overly emotional perception doesn’t resonate. I feel like all fours are supposed to be mopey. I don’t like everything JUST because it’s unique or different than the norm. I like things because I actually find beauty in them.
- Christie: I think it’s true that we 4’s like to maintain certain moods, but for me that is generally a happy one.
- (Christie continued) Because I tend to absorb others emotions easily, I tend to avoid negative environments and people. Not that I’m never in that head space, but I enjoy being generally happy and positive and finding the beauty in things.
- Brooke: I resonate with being authentic, genuine, and purposeful in the world. I feel deeply and intensely, but I don’t resonate with the roller coaster of emotions in a day. It has to take something that I’m passionate about or feel personal towards for me to sit in a negative emotion for very long. If I hear a sad story or watch a sad movie, it doesn’t effect me unless it strikes a chord in me personally. I rarely ever cry, and when I do people know that it must be important. I also don’t relate to being creative in an art form. I think, more than anything, I’m creative in my ability to speak with others to figure out their root issue, and I can help them discover what they are by explaining emotions very visually.
What does being a “happy Four” look like for you?
- Lizzie: I feel that a happy four is full of energy and life! They’re always exploding with creativity and adventure that they want to share with others. I’ve been told that even when I’m “sad” there’s a deep joy in me that can be seen when I reenact dramatic, sad songs around the house to express my sorrow.
- Shelby: I have a positive outlook on life. I am a kindergarten teacher and mother of two- being unhappy would be insane. My family is my life and I pour my heart into them. It brings me joy. My husband and I are both musicians for fun- creating with him brings me joy. I’m our lyricist, which gives me an outlet for my creativity. I think that’s a huge component to why I’m happy.
What type do you think others perceive you as?
- Brooke: People perceive me as a super laid back 1.
- Ashley: When I tell people I'm a Four they often say "What?!? I thought you were a 7!"
- Lizzie: I often get mistaken for a 7
- Shelby: My mother in law typed me as a 4 immediately. I’ve gotten a few guesses as a 9, but typically people can guess 4.
Do you like being a Four?
- Shelby: Yes. We are intimately in tune with our emotions and the emotions of others. My husband is a 7, which is challenging in a very good way. ../ My best friend who lives with us is a 6, which can be really exhausting for me as she is severely impacted by my emotional waves. But we’re working on it!
- Whitney: I love it. I feel like I get to see the world in technicolor.
- Jamie: I mistyped myself for a year trying to be a 5, 7, or 9. I didn’t like the idea of being a 4 because it felt like it gets the most negative attention, but I’m starting to really see the beauty in myself being a 4.
What do you wish others understood about "happier" Fours?
- Lizzie: I wish that people wouldn’t automatically assume they know me and my reasoning when they hear I’m a four. Fours are all sooooo different and we find beauty is so many different facets of life. Assumption is a killjoy to me.
- Brooke: I with that people knew that happy 4’s are still insecure and wanting to be accepted for who they are. People confuse me for being overly confident and emotionally balanced and that nothing phases me, but that doesn’t mean my thought life isn’t a mess. I need words of affirmation, to be told that I’m special to you, and that you’re never going to leave my side. I may be independent but when you’re my person, you’re my person and I want that to be made very clear. I need to emotionally release too, and I can’t be the one who guides people though their struggles all the time or brings us to a place of emotional depth. I need people who are willing to go there with me too, to initiate it, and help me uncover the fears inside my own head.
- Jamie: That we’re narwhals and not unicorns, rare but real. We like color and bright light, and we have the ability to listen instead of always complaining or talking about ourselves. That we cry more over the happy than the sad, and even though we appreciate the dark seasons of life we are looking for the joy.
What advice do you have for happier Fours?
- Ann: Be happy! And don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re not 4 enough!
- Brooke: My advice for happy 4’s is to not feel pressured to be the emotional stereotype. People appreciate depth without being dragged too deep, they appreciate crying and laughter at the same time. That we can create a safe and fun atmosphere for people to uncover their wounds and then dream and create a lighthearted path of moving forward towards growth. We have SO much power in helping people see the beauty and joy on the other side of their pain, and that’s ultimately what people look forward to the most. The joy in emotional freedom.
- Christie: Happy 4’s are still just as in touch with all of our emotions, we just prefer to cultivate the positive ones on a more consistent basis. I think because we are intensely aware and familiar with all of the “bad” emotions in our lives, our strength in seeing the beauty in all things is so important for ourselves and for others.
- Whitney: Embrace and enjoy the stillness...The beauty in every situation. Also, for me personally, to verbally express my contentment more and connect more with my family, rather than stay in my quiet, happy bubble.
- Lizzie: Don’t buy in to the stereotypes. The enneagram wasn’t meant to pin people and put them in boxes, it was meant to show us where we’re at, how we function, and how to grow. So be bold and loud and vibrant!