Type 7: The Epicure/The Enthusiast
The Epicure is an optimistic, fun-loving and positive visioning personality with a strong belief that frustration and pain can be avoided by attending to positive options. Epicures habitually focus their attention on positive possibilities in all things. They are driven by a gluttony for interesting ideas and pleasurable experiences, now and in the future. Challenges for this fast-thinking type include being scattered, impulsive and self-referencing. A positive vision takes work and attention to less exciting practical details which can be avoided or backgrounded by the Seven.
Each Enneagram type has its own idealization, avoidance and a defense mechanism which holds the idealization “in place:”
For Type 7:
Idealized self-image: “I’m OK”
Avoidance: Pain, limitations, boredom
Defense Mechanism:Rationalization; painful experiences are reframed toward the positive. “We broke up and I cried for a day or so, but hey, I learned a lot from my broken heart.”
The Seven’s incredible ability to think of new options and possibilities allows them to leave the present moment with its limits and suffering.
What to expect if you are in a relationship with an Epicure:
- Expect to feel either adored or ignored. Sevens like relationships that mirror their own high self-esteem.
- Expect sensitivity to criticism. State the good news before the bad.
- Feelings of “boredom” mask emotional confusion.
- Seven can become “preachy” when angry (they’re often out of touch with their anger)
- Much attention is focused on planning for a future idealized self-identity or grand plan.
- Mutual happiness and creativity are important to the relationship.
- Kindness and thoughtfulness can evoke softer, avoided emotions.
Learning to recognize the patterns of type, accepting them with compassion and learning to relax them brings us to the present moment where life can be experienced more fully. Recognizing these patterns in others helps us understand and relate to them.
The Practices for Growth for the Epicure:
- Realize that it is limiting to seek only the positive.
- Make and fulfill commitments.
- Cultivate a mindfulness practice which helps focus attention on one thing at a time.
- Learn to become more aware of others’ feelings.
- Allow pain and uncomfortable emotions
- Leslie’s meditations for Sevens
Feeling grateful for something helps keep our focus and energy on it. This is helpful when working with the Enneagram because gratitude automatically shifts focus away from those things which habitually grab attention to perhaps more productive or nourishing things. Intentionally cultivating a gratitude practice is an excellent way to broaden our focus of attention.
For the Seven, gratitude for what is going on right now…..a rain shower, an argument, a quiet moment.
Sources: Helen Palmer; Type Seven panelists; Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition
I’ve had a number of people ask me for advice on being in relationship with a 7. First, here is some insight into the fear of limitations and the way a 7 creates relationships in the world of the mind and then ways you can be in relationship with a 7.
One final secret that isn’t mentioned in the video: whether you’re a parent, a boss, an employee or a partner, don’t enable the 7s tendency to want you to finish what they’ve started or an to execute their idea unless it’s agreed upon ahead of time. It’s much cleaner this way. If you fix their messes, it allows them to perpetuate the habit of planning without learning the essential skill of follow through. It’s much cleaner if the 7s asks for your support on the front end so you get to mutually agree upon what each of you is willing to do.
Also, don’t be seduced by their charm which will start to amp up once they feel locked in. Be kind and clear about your needs. (The moment you insert judgment, they completely shut down as 7s tend to have a brutal inner critic and your judgment sets it off so kindness and understanding doesn’t activate the fight/flight/freeze response and you’ll get a lot more traction).