I see what you mean... Could be I'm not an enneagram type 4 then... (or it's possible I'm a 4 with a 3 wing?). To be honest, I was never quite certain where I fit best in the enneagram.
But I dunno.. I'm not convinced that I seek identity in the same way as the NFs do. I guess I always tried to reveal whatever I saw as being my identity -- my beliefs, my worldview, my feelings-- through my art and other ways of visual/physical expression, but that this ongoing revealing was free to change along with my revising or revisiting my opinions.
I could be wrong (please chime in here and correct me if I am, NFs) but from what I gather, identity-seeking for NFs is related to asking yourself "who am I ultimately", apart from here-and-now circumstances. Although this is an interesting question, I kind of feel like I get bogged down in abstractions -- like it's a rhetorical question that really doesn't have any answer no matter how much time you set aside to think about it. I'm much more comfortable asking myself what sort of impact I want to have on others right now, and how do I envision having good impact on others in the future...
I'm looking in my Berens book on temperament right now, and in the glossary, she writes in the NF column under Unique Identity: "Idealists [NFs] are forever in search of the answer to the question, 'Who am I?'" The SPs are said to value more the ability to make an impact: "Many of us want to have an impact, but the need for the Artisan [SP] to elicit an immediate response from others is stronger and more concrete (here and now) than for the rest of us. This need for impact also shows in the drive to actin to get a result."
I actually think I really appreciate the NFs wanting to know and display their true identity. Maybe that's why I'm so attracted to them (heck, my Better Half is one!) I guess for some reason I confidently think I know who I am -- it's who I am right here and now. The identity I had yesterday doesn't matter except that today I have a choice to act in ways that have a positive impact right now, and try to change a negative impact I may have had on others up until right now. My identity could change at any moment depending on the quality of the choices I make.
Do you see identity as more of a permanent thing? I LOVE how you describe different sides of your personality showing up under different circumstances, kind of like we're prisms that you can see different views through depending on the way you look at us, but that all the views are part of the same being. Probably one reason why many of us aren't easy to type at a glance.
Whoo! I'll have to think about this some more.