Which Element Are You? Understanding Personality Using the 5 Chinese Elements

Our personalities are shaped by the five elements according to Chinese Feng Shui.  The following examples are the extremes that illustrate how each element works to define the personality.  The goal is to have some of every element in our personalities for balance.

Mary, the “Water” person, is the deep thinker who is able to reach down and get a clear, thoughtful understanding or approach to an issue.  If this aspect is not balanced with Fire or Wood energy, she may not be able to express these deep thoughts and is often left in a frustrated silence because she cannot communicate her ideas.

Barry is the “Wood” person.  He constantly has new ideas that he wishes others to understand and accept.  He may talk a lot about these ideas, but without Fire or connection energy, he may become irritable and short-tempered because others don’t jump on board.

John has a lot of “Fire” energy.  He makes connections and always “knows a guy” who can help.   Because he thrives from reaching out to people, he may be a pleasure seeker who craves new relationships and experiences constantly.  If he isn’t grounded with “Earth” in his character, he may burn out or form shallow relationships that don’t last.

Sue is the worrier with too much Earth.”  Do people have enough to eat? Are they warm or cool enough?  Is the newly waxed floor too slippery? In other words, while she is caring and thoughtful, she tends to be a bit smothering if she doesn’t have some Metal in her personality to provide external structure—and some Water that helps her focus go inward rather than just on other’s needs.

John is the rules guy—he knows the regulations, laws, and schedules in any situation and can be impatient and sarcastic with those who are less structured in their approach.  With excessive “Metal” in his personality, he needs the balance of Earth to bring more compassion and some Fire energy to help him make connections with others more easily.

This is just a quick look at how the Chinese elements appear in our personality.  When we discover where we have too much or too little of an element–through one of my workshops, for example :) — we can use this awareness to find balance through other relationships or by nurturing areas we may lack.

A recent workshop participant said it best:

“I love how the elements gave an objective look at my personality.  I am no longer making myself wrong for being how I am.  I have a clearer picture of my natural strengths and weaknesses.  And now I know what I can bring into my life to enhance those areas of my life that need greater balance.” — JoAnne Schaub, Coach, Mentor & Holistic Entrepreneur, joanneschaub.com

Gabriele Amersbach, Lucky Path Feng Shui

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