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How Do the Five Elements Shape Your Personality?

The Five Elements in the natural world are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. These Five Elements form the essential substances of nature, and the essence of you, manifesting inside you as energy. When you get down to it, you are made up of energy. These energies affect you on all levels – body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

Just as each Element contains certain qualities in nature, each Element also contains those qualities within you. They affect your body and how you think and feel.

Our emotional life is governed by the Five Elements. Each Element relates to a different category of emotion. Below are the Five Elements, along with their respective emotions:

  • Wood – Anger, irritability, frustration
  • Fire – Joy, or lack of joy (sadness)
  • Earth – Sympathy, worry
  • Metal – Grief, emptiness
  • Water – Fear, nervousness

These Elements are in a unique relative balance within you. Some Elements you manifest more strongly, and some Elements are weaker. These elemental balances and imbalances are different for each person. 

One Element is the root cause of your energy imbalance. In Five Element acupuncture, we call the root cause Element — the one that originally went out of balance and stayed out of balance — your Causative Factor (CF). This CF Element imbalance occurs before the age of 7, and proceeds to cause the other Elements to go out of balance, one by one.

Your personality forms around the age of 7, along with your CF. Your personality’s development is heavily influenced by the emotion associated with your CF. Your personality and emotional self are made up of all the Five Elements, and will be shaped by them all. 

Your CF Element is not the only one that shapes the development of your personality, but the CF Element will have the strongest effect on how your personality traits develop. The first Element that goes out and stays out of balance in your childhood becomes your CF, and remains your CF for the rest of your life.

If your Wood Element is the first Element that goes and stays out of balance in your childhood, then you are a Wood CF. Since Wood imbalance relates to anger, irritability and frustration, you will tend to have those feelings more frequently. Just as it is for all CF’s, it’s not that a Wood CF wants to feel irritable, but they can’t help it, because their Wood is out of balance. They view their life experiences through the “lens” of Wood, and tend to become easily irritated by things that happen in their life. 

If you’re a Fire CF then, from a very early age, you may lack a healthy amount of joy. You experience life through your Fire imbalance, so your emotions are more “flat”, and you don’t have as much enthusiasm or sparkle as others who have a healthy Fire Element do. You may find you don’t laugh much, or don’t feel as warm-hearted as you would like to feel.

If you’re an Earth CF, you may tend to feel sorry for or worry excessively about people in your life. You may have a need to take care of them, to help them, even more than you take care of yourself. Excess sympathy for others can be an emotional drain.

If you’re a Metal CF, you may tend to feel grief and emptiness. This isn’t always obvious, and sometimes comes out as regret for things from the past, or a low self-worth. Metal CF’s strive for quality in their life, so you may feel a sense of dissatisfaction or not being good enough. 

If you’re a Water CF, you may tend to feel fearful or nervous. Water gives us reservoirs of endurance so, if it is imbalanced, you may feel a lack of energy. Your mind may tend to focus on the worst thing that could happen, instead of believing in a positive outcome in any given situation.

It is important to remember that you are a composite of all Five Elements. Although the CF Element’s traits can dominate your personality, it is by no means the “be-all and end-all” in your personality development. You are multidimensional, and experience a broad spectrum of emotions throughout each day. Your personality is your unique blend of all the Five Elements. These Elements give you your strengths, as well as your weaknesses. 

The more balanced your Elements are, the more balanced your emotional life will become. Staying balanced with acupuncture during each of the five seasons of the year will help you maintain a healthy emotional life, which leads to greater health on all levels. If you haven’t had an acupuncture treatment recently, call us to schedule a balancing treatment at (904) 296-9545. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you! 

By Michael Kowalski A.P., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)
Acupuncture Physician @ Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center, Jacksonville FL

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