Discovering Your Element

What element are you?

What element are you? The quick answer is that you are all of them because we have all five elements in our energetic make-up. However, the natural affinity we have for one of the elements – the club we belong to – colors the way we look at the world and how we interact with everything in our life.

One quick way to discover your elemental affinity is to determine where you stand on a series of personality attributes and life preferences, then compare that to where each of the elements stand on the same attributes and preferences.

What do you love? What do you hate? What matters to you? How structured is your personality? How do you act when you’re happy or stressed? What are your socialization tendencies? What is your deepest need? Your choice of occupation, and whether you’re happy with it or not, often helps determine your element, too. In truth, knowing your element will help you know yourself better, too.

Take a look at the quick comparisons below. They offer an easy first step on the path of knowing your element. And remember, sometimes self-discovery involves the process of elimination. If you don’t relate to a Water, Wood, Fire, or Earth description below, you are probably a Metal. Enjoy!

They Love

Water: Free time, deep discussions, reading.
Wood: Challenges, accomplishment, moving forward.
Fire: Parties, attention, being busy.
Earth: Helping people, family and food, home.
Metal: Understanding how things work, precision, being right.

They Hate

Water: Tight schedules, budgets, structure.
Wood: Dashed expectations, chaos, being told “No!”
Fire: Being ignored, ordinariness, boredom.
Earth: Conflict, people suffering, not being needed.
Metal: Being wrong, clutter, time running out.

What Matters

Water: Deep issues, connecting with something bigger, quiet time
Wood: Accomplishment, fairness, productivity
Fire: Excitement, attention, connections
Earth: Relationships, helping others, inclusiveness
Metal: Knowledge, protocol, control

Personality Structure

Water: Non-linear, go with the flow, no boundaries unless frozen
Wood: Linear, flexibly structured, likes own rules, good boundaries
Fire: No structure, easily scatters, hard to control, poor boundaries
Earth: Slow structure of moveable matrix, vacillating boundaries
Metal: Rigid structure, in control, tight boundaries

Balanced Expressions

Water: Optimistic, hopeful, trusting, objective
Wood: Decisive, productive, bold, direct
Fire: Joyful, enthusiastic, passionate, spontaneous
Earth: Caring, compassionate, accepting, patient
Metal: Kind, wise, honest, detached

Stress Behaviors

Water: Fearful, hopeless, narcissistic, intolerant
Wood: Indecisive, frustrated, impatient, angry
Fire: Scattered, overwhelmed, anxious, panicked
Earth: Needy, clinging, meddling, worried
Metal: Critical, confused, inflexible, controlling

Socialization Tendencies

Water: Prefers the company of a few like-minded friends.
Wood: Will socialize if they have a role to play or it meets a goal.
Fire: Always ready to celebrate and connect.
Earth: Thrives on the chance to be with those they love.
Metal: Needs separateness in any togetherness.

Deepest Need

Water: To be part of something bigger than themselves.
Wood: To succeed.
Fire: Movement and quick connections.
Earth: To be needed and help others.
Metal: To pursue perfection.

Likely Occupations

Water: Authors, intellectuals, philosophers, artists
Wood: Business executives, sports heroes, elected officials, fundraisers, trial lawyers
Fire: Actors, comedians, motivational speakers, public figures
Earth: Nurses, teachers, parents, counselors
Metal: Architects, accountants, corporate lawyers, military personnel

Click here to read about the Five Elements model.

Click here to read how understanding the Elements can help create better relationships.


We hope you’ll follow the blog Ask Vicki: Relationship Remedies Using the Five Elements and learn how easy it is to improve every relationship. The blog covers general relationship challenges and also responds to questions posed by readers who wonder how to manage a relationship that isn’t going well. It’s kind of a “Dear Abby” of Five Elements relationships. If you have a question about your element club or a relationship issue that you’d like answered in the blog, please email it to: Our goal is to make every connection more peaceful and fulfilling.

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