Enneagram Type 7 Description

Type 7 ~ The Epicure


Basic Proposition

The original state of focused concentration (called “Holy Work” or constancy) with an ability to travel the spectrum of life fully and freely, goes into the background in a world that Type 7s perceive as frustrating or limiting, which causes pain that needs to be avoided. Type 7s come to believe that they must escape frustration and pain, assuring a good life by instead creating alternative options, opportunities, and adventures. Concurrently, Sevens develop gluttony of the mind for positive possibilities, pleasures, and future plans. Their attention naturally goes to positive scenarios and keeping life up. Rationalization glues the structure together by helping them reframe painful or “negative” experiences in a positive way. Their ultimate concern or fear is being trapped in suffering and not able to deal with pain. As compensation, Sevens sometimes gain control by becoming self-oriented (acting entitled and superior to others), rejecting authority, making excuses, demeaning or trivializing negative feelings, and being impetuous and inconsiderate of others.

Where Your Attention Goes

Type 7s’ attention goes to interconnecting and interesting information, often connecting specific thinking (little chunks) to global thinking (big chunks). As a result, they are very imaginative and action-oriented, and focus on present pleasures or the multiple possibilities awaiting in the future. Because Sevens busy themselves by self-referencing their feelings, especially on what makes them feel good, they have an internal locus of control. They also tend to focus on relative values and extremes.

Your Stressors: What Makes You Most Personally Reactive

Type 7s’ fixation on pleasure and options results in numerous stressful preoccupations. Because they focus on excitement, enjoyment, and experiencing life without painful situations, they fear constraints or limits placed upon them or losing the freedom to do what they want. As a result, they value limits only as a form of sacrifice, as though they were a martyr. Sevens also fear getting stuck in negativity, and so have difficulty reaching out to and sympathizing with people who are stuck in unhappiness or depression. Instead, they would rather be liked by others, and “charm and disarm” them. When focusing on their many simultaneous possibilities, Type 7s often interrelate these options with a kind of gluttonous “monkey brain.” To avoid pain or suffering, Sevens might justify their own negative behavior through rationalization or intellectualization, which can have an additional adverse effect of giving themselves a superior attitude.

To self-develop, Type 7s should work to diminish these preoccupations, as such reactions block their being able to stay consistently present with an open heart, and ultimately, blocks their ability to accept both joy AND sorrow as part of life. 


Type 7’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Type 7’s Strengths

  •  Loving of life
  • Optimistic and thinking positively 
  • Playful
  • Enjoyable
  • Inventive and imaginative
  • Energetic
  • Helpful
  • Spontaneous
  • Open to and seeing possibilities

Type 7’s Weaknesses

Difficulties Produced for Self

  • Short-term gain may lead to long-term pain (“no pain, no gain”)
  • Various losses resulting from trying to keep life up and escape the “traps” of limits
  • Overload from trying to keep cxcitement going (gluttony)
  • Trying to do more may lead to loss of purpose, then anxiety and depression
  • Distraction and diversion from deeper purposes and commitments
  • Repeating the same mistakes
  • Equalizing authority creates conflict 

Difficulties Produced for Others

  • The Seven’s narcissistic preoccupation with the self may lead to the perception that the Seven is careless or cannot be counted on
  • Feeling like the child of a lesser God because of the Seven’s superior position
  • Feeling the inadvertent pain the Seven inflicts by not keeping commitments
  • Feeling as though your issues or suffering has been minimized, diminished, or trivialized by the Seven, who is trying to avoid conflict and pain


Personality Dynamics

When Type 7s suffer from personality biases, the resulting features are biased mental and emotional dynamics. Fortunately, if Type 7s work to diminish their personality biases, they are able to return to their Essential Qualities and, consequently, attain a higher mental and emotional capacity. 

Mental Center Dynamics: Planning and Work

Mental Preoccupation (or Fixation): Planning

Essential Spiritual Quality (or Holy Idea): Work

When a Type 7 has a biased mental dynamic, they experience a Mental Preoccupation (or Fixation) called Planning. In Planning, the Seven adopts a narcissistic and entitled attitude, in which they demand that life be “kept up,” with open, pleasureful, and positive options. The Seven will rationalize negative options to fit their positive lifestyle. 

When a Type 7 restores their mental dynamic, they experience an Essential Spiritual Quality (or Holy Idea) called Work. In Work, the Seven lives fully and works happily in the moment, not the future, by committing to a course of action. The Seven is able to accomplish tasks thanks to a desire for effort and dedication for its own sake. 

Emotional Center Dynamics: Gluttony and Sobriety

Emotional Reactivity (or Passion): Gluttony

Higher Emotional Capacity (or Virtue): Sobriety

When a Type 7 has a biased emotional dynamic, they experience an Emotional Reactivity (or Passion) called Gluttony. In Gluttony, the Seven craves excitement and experience, wanting stimulation, pleasure, and play. 

When a Type 7 restores their emotional dynamic, they experience a Higher Emotional Capacity (or Virtue) called Sobriety. In Sobriety, the Seven grounds the body in the present moment, accepting both the pleasure and pain, and taking only just what is needed. In this way, the Seven slows down enough to appreciate simplicity and to focus and deepen themself.   

Instinctual Center & Subtypes

When any of the Enneagram types suffer from biased passion and emotional reactivity, they can either contain or compensate for the associated preoccupations through their subtypes. 

Self Preservation (Self-Survival): Family / Like-Minded Defenders 

Type 7s with a self-preservation subtype with emotional bias by taking care of those other deserving people with whom you have identified with. They create a group which, together, mirrors their own beliefs. The craving is limited.

Sexual (Pair Bonding Survival): Fascination / Suggestibility

Type 7s with a sexual subtype cope with emotional bias by going after new experiences, stimulations, and possibilities. They do not want to be limited to any one thing. The craving is embraced. 

Social (Group Survival): Sacrifice

Type 7s with a social subtype cope with emotional bias by enduring and accepting sacrifices for a greater cause (but only because they are temporary limits). The imposition reflects their narcissism, as they believe that “my sacrifice is a big deal for the future cause.” The craving is opposed. 

As the Enneagram types are quite dynamic, Type 7 is influenced by:

Left Wing Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic

Right Wing Type 8: The Protector

Security Point Type 5: The Observer

Stress Point Type 1: The Perfectionist


Self Development Strategies: Attaining Higher Personality Qualities and Reuniting with Essence  

The Central Theme for Type 7’s Healing and Development

The central issue for Type 7’s healing and development may be difficult to grasp, because they are being asked to welcome in all of life as it exists in the present moment – fear, pain, sadness, boredom, and limitation, as well as pleasure, joy, excitement, and options. In the process, Sevens must ask themself to reduce excess, delay gratification, and take only what really is needed. Sevens must ask themselves to empathize with the entire spectrum of experience in others and to care about others’ well-being in equal proportion to their own. Yet for playful, adventuresome, future-oriented Epicures, who habitually direct their outward-moving energy toward positive alternatives and possibilities, this task of deepening and simplifying life and of steadying attention in the here and now is just what is needed to make your life whole.

How You Can Self Develop and Fulfill Your Relationships

  • Become aware of over-scheduling, multiple projects, and future planning as clues to avoiding something “negative”
  • Notice that you are missing the depth of experience and pleasure by staying on the surface
  • Make and keep commitments and agreements with yourself and others
  • Ground yourself in the present and moderate your pace
  • Acknowledge the desires and well-being of others in equal proportion to your own
  • Realize that the full spectrum of life and deeper purpose includes the “darker side” of life – its pains, loss, and limitations, and accept this pain and suffering as part of your wholeness
  • In meditation, slowing the mind down and focusing on a single point
  • Starting each day by previewing and reviewing the hunger for stimulation and options
  • Practicing attending to and accepting the present situation, whether painful or pleasurable, stimulating or boring
  • Working on one thing at a time until completion
  • Letting go of some options recognizing that life is choices (“less can be more”)
  • In accepting limits, noticing that feeling trapped and fearful may occur 
  • Practicing holding ground and resisting rationalizations when making commitments
  • Working at welcoming conflict and criticism
  • Noticing subtle superiority in position of upness

How You Can Help a Type 7 Self Develop and Fulfill Their Relationships

  • Encourage the Epicure to make deep commitments, accept pain as well as pleasure in life, and appreciate the value and worth of all others
  • Provide a supportive framework for a Seven to move into painful situations 
  • Make your own needs, wants and feelings important
  • Apply the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Sweetie)

 

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