TYPE SEVEN: The Epicure / The Enthusiast
If you are an Epicure, you are optimistic, fun-loving and positive visioning with a strong belief that frustration and pain can be avoided by attending to positive options.
You habitually focus your attention on positive possibilities in all things.
You are driven by a gluttony for interesting ideas and pleasurable experiences, now and in the future. Challenges for 7s include being scattered, impulsive and self-referencing. Their minds move so fast and this is an unconscious strategy to avoid the limits of the present moment. A positive vision takes work and attention to less exciting practical details which can be avoided or backgrounded by the 7.
Each Enneagram Type has its own idealization, avoidance and defense mechanism which holds the idealization “in place”.
IDEALIZED SELF-IMAGE: “I am okay.”
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 I learned a lot.”
The 7s attentional focus on options, ideas and possibilities are helpful… until they’re not. It’s often an unconscious strategy to avoid the limits and suffering of the present moment.
VIRTUE: Constancy; a state of being fully grounded in the present moment exactly as it occurs. You don’t pop up into your head to the next idea, plan, possibility, problem to solve, purchase or experience.
Remember a time when you were fully present in the here and now, and you felt grounded, open hearted and trusted the unfolding from moment to moment.
GROWTH PRACTICES FOR TYPE SEVEN:
Realize that it is limiting to seek only the positive.
Make and fulfill commitments.
Allow pain and uncomfortable emotions.
Cultivate a mindfulness practice which helps focus attention on one thing at a time.
Learn to become more aware of others’ feelings.
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.
CULTIVATING A GRATITUDE PRACTICE for TYPE SEVEN:
Cultivate gratitude for the present moment. In this state, what is here now is enough… just as it is.
What to expect IF YOU ARE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A TYPE SEVEN:
Expect sensitivity to criticism.
State good news before the bad.
Be kind and clear about your needs in order to not activate the fight/flight/freeze response.
The moment you insert judgment, 7s completely shut down as they tend to have a brutal inner critic.
Kindness and understanding will get a lot more traction.
Feelings of “boredom” mask emotional confusion.
Expect to feel adored or ignored.
Sevens like relationships that mirror their own high self-esteem.
Kindness and thoughtfulness can evoke softer, avoided emotions.
7s can be “preachy” when angry, as they’re often out of touch with it.
Mutual happiness and creativity are important to the relationship.
Whether you’re a parent, a boss, an employee or partner, do not enable the 7s tendency to want you to finish what they’ve started or execute their idea unless it’s agreed upon ahead of time.
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.
Much attention is focused on planning for a future idealized self-identity or grand plan.
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.
Watch Leslie give a short introduction and explanation of Type Seven, The Epicure:
Interested in learning how we can support you through Enneagram typing or coaching? Click here.
Sources: Helen Palmer; Type Seven panelists; Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition