Stress and the Enneagram 4
Healthy Enneagram 4 A healthy Enneagram Type 4 is familiar with a wide range of emotions and knows how and when to express them in nuanced and helpful ways. A healthy 4 can turn those deeply felt emotions into creativity and beauty, or decide not to act on every feeling. A healthy 4 expresses herself in ways that resonate with others. She gives form to emotions that others may not have words to express.
Unhealthy Enneagram 4 An unhealthy 4 struggles to accept herself. She allows her emotions to cripple her ability to function and isolate her from others. Unhealthy reactions to emotions – melancholy, victim mentality, resentment – creep in and color her feelings about herself and others. He will use dramatic expressions to cry for help.
Healthy Stress Move to 2 When moving to Type 2 in stress, a healthy 4 can move the focus outside of himself and find energy to complete tasks. She will notice her own and others’ emotional states and respond as a pastor to herself and to others.
Unhealthy Stress Move to 2 Like unhealthy 2’s, an Enneagram 4 in unhealthy stress will appear needy or cloying and be unable to stop craving others’ attention and care. She will have difficulty loving others while allowing her stress to color her perception of others’ feelings about her.
Grief and the Enneagram 4 4s are best equipped to sit with others in grief as they are familiar with the darker emotions and don’t feel the need to fix pain. They are able to let grief just be what it is.
Enneagram 4’s in Church Leadership
The COVID-19 pandemic has had very few moments of beauty and inspiration. At the right time and in the right moment, we will need to be able to look back and see what was invisible to us in this season. The past-oriented 4 who has processed his emotions will be able to do just that. In a sea of gray filled with rising death tolls and political power grabs, she will see the glimpse of light and humanity that others have missed.
Healthy 4’s will be some of our best pastors after the pandemic. They will sit with us as we process our grief and exhaustion. They will acknowledge our emotions, feel them almost as deeply, and then speak from an inner peace about the more beautiful more human moments in the pandemic.
To many Enneagram types, we assume that Churches in the West have had fewer expressions of art than other centuries. An Enneagram 4, while likely agreeing, can turn our attention ever so slightly to see the art that we may have missed. Then, she’ll ask us to contribute our own creative spirit to the many voices of expression the church has always expressed.
We need Enneagram 4’s to help us escape rigid interpretations of Scripture, remind us that the psalms and prophets were poetry before they were predictions, and remember that the earliest ideas captured by the church were songs and verses about Jesus’ life. We need Enneagram 4’s to lead us into verbal and physical expressions of our experience with COVID-19.
There are plenty of emotions to feel right now, Enneagram 4’s. We have emotions we’re unaccustomed to feeling. We have trouble naming them or understanding why they impact our energy. Sit with us, talk freely and comfortably about feelings, and then help us accept our feelings without judgement.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself so that you can stay healthy:
What emotions are you seeing more of right now? Can you find words or pictures to help us express those?
What emotions are you feeling right now? In what ways are they coloring your picture of the world?
Where are you having difficulty finding beauty? Can you be OK with that for the time being and allow a look into the past to help you discover that?