Ask Vicki: Relationship Advice Using the Five Elements

What are Your Strengths (and Weaknesses)?

Dear Readers:  Today we offer another opportunity for you to get to know yourself better, or at least better understand your elemental personality. As I mentioned last week, we each have all of the Five Elements in our personality make-up, but we have a special affinity for one of them. I suggested that this elemental affinity can be likened to a primary lens through which we view the world. Our primary lens affects how we interpret and respond to everything that happens in our environment. What we love, who we love, what we hate, what is easy, what is hard, you name it. The reality is that this lens, which I call our primary elemental personality, determines more than we realize regarding how we live our life.

Last week I suggested that our primary elemental personality creates predictable priorities and tendencies in our life that can be compared to joining a secret club at birth. For example, all members of the Wood club will have similar tendencies, as will all members of the Metal, Water, Earth or Fire clubs. How members of these different clubs get along in relationships has been the primary focus of this blog for years, but it’s just as important – if not more so – to know yourself and what matters to you. When you know this, not only will you begin to understand much of what you have done in the past and value now in the present, your relationships with others will start to make sense, too.

So, without further ado, here’s another up-close comparison across the five primary elemental personalities. This time we’re looking at our personality-based strengths and weaknesses.


Water Personality Strengths: Water people have a keen awareness of their inner resources and trust that they can handle whatever life brings. Exceedingly patient, Water personalities know that as long as they stay connected to their deep sense of self, they can ultimately triumph over any difficulty. This makes them optimistic, hopeful people.

Water Personality Weaknesses: If knowing their own abilities is the greatest strength of Water people, their weaknesses are fear and lack of trust. When Water people are disconnected from the inner forces that support them, they feel vulnerable and begin doubting themselves. Fear creeps in. They usually respond to this by becoming whiny, negative, suspicious, or even eventually paranoid people.


Wood Personality Strengths: Wood people easily envision their goals and firmly believe that if they try hard enough, they can manifest almost anything. Powerful and decisive, Wood personalities can get things done in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Using their abundant energy to remove obstacles that block the way, nothing seems impossible to them. It is the nature of the Wood personality to be strong, direct, and assertive (hopefully in a kind way).

Wood Personality Weaknesses: If action and accomplishment are the greatest strengths of Wood people, their greatest weakness is an explosive response to lack of action. When things aren’t happening fast enough, or at all, Wood personalities have nowhere to focus their formidable energy. They’ll push and exhaust themselves in the name of the goal, and ultimately lose their ability to be flexible and adaptable. In the process they can become impatient, frustrated, angry, and often quite mean.


Fire Personality Strengths: Fire people reach for connection and in doing so, frequently create bonds of trust with others. Firm believers in the abundance and good of all creation, including people, Fire personalities are usually upbeat and optimistic. Wherever they are, they can transform the mundane into the exceptional. They attract people to them, inoculate them with joy, and leave them laughing.

Fire Personality Weaknesses: If connection and joy are the greatest strengths of Fire people, their greatest weaknesses are a lack of boundaries and not managing their energy. They thrive on drama and excitement, but can take things too far and burn out themselves and anyone else around them. Fire personalities live for connection, but can entangle themselves with others to the degree that they don’t know where they stop and someone else starts. When this happens, they can become anxious, irrational, and moody.


Earth Personality Strengths: Earth people see the good in everyone and happily embrace others wherever they are. Loving and compassionate, Earth personalities naturally step forward to help, giving a piece of themselves (and anything else available) in the process. They use their steadying energy to stabilize people during times of upheaval or transition, allowing balance to be maintained. Earth personalities love and honor all relationships.

Earth Personality Weaknesses: If helping and supporting are the greatest strengths of Earth people, helping and supporting too much are their greatest weaknesses. Being needed gives purpose to their lives, but they can take things too far. When this happens, Earth personalities can insert themselves in matters that aren’t their business and smother the people they are trying to help (or alienate them completely). Either way, they can worry themselves sick over the people they love.


Metal Personality Strengths: Metal people are kind and have the courage of their convictions. In a sense, sitting at the end of the Five Elements cycle as they do, they truly have seen it all. Their keen ability to synthesize the learning, distill it into a treasure to be kept, then let go of what doesn’t serve, makes them the masters of wisdom. From this knowing they derive their incredible inner strength and will power. But the beauty of a Metal personality is that if you can offer them a rational reason to change, they usually will. Precision is also one of their strengths, as is the ability to compartmentalize their life and world.

Metal Personality Weaknesses: If incredible inner strength and will power are the greatest strengths of Metal people, the tendency to misuse these abilities is their greatest weakness. These valuable traits taken too far often creates an air of superiority that causes them to become inflexible and dogmatic. In their all-important honoring of truth, Metal personalities can impose their own sense of order and discipline on others in an effort to maintain a sense of control. The end result is that people reject them, which initially might not matter to the Metal person, but if it happens too frequently, will eventually erode their self-confidence.


Did you recognize yourself? What about your family and friends? The goal in offering these comparisons is to provide clarity regarding your primary elemental personality and also the elemental personalities of the people in your life. And remember, we have all five elements in our personality composition. So, even if you can’t see the good in all beings all of the time (like a balanced Earth personality can), there absolutely will be times you visit that Earth clubhouse to help stabilize someone you love during an upheaval or transition. There will be times you visit the other clubhouses, too, when you need what that elemental personality has to offer. Bottom line: We can access each of these elemental personality strengths when we need them, but we lead with a dominant personality that affects how we see the world and everything in it.

Blessings to you,