May 26, 2022 The Light and Dark Sides of Our Elemental Personalities
Dear Readers: When the unthinkable occurs, when humans turn violent against each other as happened at a Texas elementary school earlier this week, we immediately ask ourselves, “How could this have happened? How is this possible?”
We will probably never know all of the reasons the shooter did what he did. And in truth, explanations pale when held against the tragedy he created. But deep inside, we all have basic needs that drive us forward. In one way or another, we all need to be part of something important, to make a difference, to connect with others, to be loved, to be understood. But when these needs take on a disproportionally large focus in our lives, the pain of their unmet presence can warp us, allowing us to think and act in ways that are unhealthy and potentially dangerous for ourselves, and others. These are the shadow sides of being human and unbalanced.
When basic needs aren’t met, when hatred has overtaken our innate ability to love, we have shown throughout history that we humans are capable of committing atrocious acts. But no one wakes up one morning a suddenly changed monster; the downward slide toward hatred is a path of internal pain and emptiness that those closest to us can often see.
I’m not implying that any single person should have been able to stop what happened in Texas. But I am saying that if we all understood each other better, if we loved and accepted each other more, it might have made a difference. And while I know I’m biased, I do think that an understanding of the elemental personalities from the Five Elements model is an exceptional way of understanding each other, and ourselves.
To help us move forward, I offer here the light and dark sides of each elemental personality. Please remember that we all have all of the elemental personalities in our energetic make-up, but we usually think and act from a primary one. I believe an important goal in life is to manifest the light and love of these personalities with everyone we meet. And if you know someone who seems to be manifesting the dark side of an elemental personality, please reach out to them; they are probably hurting.
The Light and Dark Sides of the Elemental Personalities
Water Personalities need to be part of something important, something bigger than themselves. When this happens, it gives Water people a sense of their place in the world. They are not just one tiny little seemingly inconsequential drop of water; they are part of the mighty ocean. This provides meaning for their lives so they can live in a hopeful and optimistic manner. But when Water people lose touch with the meaning of life, when they feel alone and isolated, they can become narcissistic and intolerant of others. Intolerance creates separateness and an inability to see that we are all one. We all have Water in us. Watch for intolerance in those around you and when you see it, recognize that someone has lost touch with how they fit into the world. Reach out and help them find meaning.
Wood Personalities need to make a difference in the world. When they do, they see the value of themselves reflected in their accomplishments. They are not just one lone person facing a tide of humanity, they are someone able to impact the world in a positive manner. This gives meaning to their life and allows them to live in a way that champions underdogs and rights the unrightable wrongs. But when Wood people cannot move forward, when they feel stuck and blocked, they become frustrated and angry. Their anger looks for someone to blame, someone to strike out against. We all have Wood in us. Watch for anger and when you see it, recognize that someone has lost their ability to move forward. Reach out and help them succeed.
Fire Personalities need to feel connected; they need people to pay attention to them. When they do, they experience a sense of possibility and excitement that feeds them. For however long that lasts, they are not alone; temporary as it might be, they are part of a group experiencing something together. This allows them to speak for their group and create a potentially transcendent experience for all. But when Fire people cannot connect with others, when they feel isolated and unseen, they become anxious and panicked. Their need to be accepted can cause them to act irrationally in order to prove themselves worthy of being seen. We all have Fire in us. Watch for anxiousness and irrationality. And when you see it, recognize that someone has lost their sense of connection to others. Reach out and help them connect.
Earth Personalities need to feel needed and loved. When they are, they find value in their ability to make a difference for others. They contribute by helping others, and this gives life meaning. And in however it is represented, the “family” they bring together creates a sense of home wherever they are. In this home they create belonging for all. But when Earth people do not feel loved, when they are not needed, they will assert themselves in potentially inappropriate ways to prove their value. We all have Earth in us. Watch for neediness and meddling. And when you see it, recognize that someone has lost their sense of being loved. Reach out and offer love and acceptance.
Metal Personalities need to understand things and make order out of life. When they do, this gives them importance. Their belief that they are contributing to posterity means that their life will have mattered; the world will be a better place because of them. But when Metal people cannot make a difference, when their contributions are not recognized or appreciated, they become dismissive and judgmental. They act to ensure that what they think is right will come to pass, regardless of the effect on others. We all have Metal in us. Watch for dismissive, judgmental action. And when you see it, recognize that someone has lost their sense of importance. Reach out and offer appreciation.
I realize that these are very basic, simple ideas offered in the face of a profoundly complex problem. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. Maybe these baby steps can help us better manifest the loving aspects of each elemental personality. Maybe we can reach out and help those we see lost in the dark. And maybe we can follow the light and change the world so all can live in peace.