Dear Vicki: I am so lucky to have the greatest brother in the world. Jimmy has always been there for me and now I want to be there for him. He is a nurse at our local hospital and had been dating Tina (a lab tech there) for over a year. They seemed like total opposites to me – she’s hysterically funny and always ready to go out for a good time, Jimmy is a gentle, quiet homebody – but I guess they must have completed each other in some way. The year they were together was the happiest I have ever seen my brother. He mentioned he was going to propose to Tina, but the next thing I knew they had broken up. I’m not sure what happened, but Jimmy is super depressed and talking about leaving the hospital. What can I do to help him? Signed: Caring Sister
Dear Caring Sister: The end of a relationship is a difficult time for everyone involved. It will be especially hard for someone like your brother because, although you don’t mention it, I suspect he’s an Earth type of person. Most nurses have a lot of Earth energy and the fact that he is gentle and likes to spend time at home also suggests that he is a primary Earth. Caring for people and home are two big priorities for Earths. Long-term relationships are something else that matters deeply to Earths and I think this may be where Jimmy and Tina got into trouble. Tina sounds a lot like a primary Fire person. They usually laugh a lot and enjoy fun times out with friends. Connecting and creating relationships matter to Fires, too, but they don’t expect – or usually need – them to last. So while Jimmy and Tina both cared about connecting and relating, their expectations for the relationship would have been very different from the start.
What this means is that while Jimmy and Tina clearly enjoyed the time they spent getting to know each other, the purpose of that time together was likely very different for each of them. As a Fire, Tina would have seen the time as a fun connection with someone who was there for her and accepted her as she was. Earths do this for everyone, but it is very natural for them with Fires because, in the Five Elements model, Fire naturally flows to Earth via the Nurturing Cycle (the big circle in the model). In nature, the earthen hearth has always been the perfect receptacle for fire and it is no different with people. Earths usually find it especially easy to accept Fires for who and what they are.
Jimmy, on the other hand, probably saw the time spent with Tina as a path to a more permanent connection because that is what Earths are wired to want. Another reason he probably fell hard for Tina is that the Fire energy she was feeding him (via that Nurturing Cycle) made him feel more alive than usual and thus more determined than ever to make the relationship with her permanent. I suspect that his proposal signaled this to Tina, but as a Fire, a long-term relationship wasn’t high on her priority list. Unfortunately, it’s not surprising that the relationship between the two of them ended given the radical difference in their long-term wants and needs.
The good news for Jimmy in the relationship department is that he has a wonderful sister who clearly cares deeply about him. And as his sister, there is a lot you can do to help Jimmy move through and past this unhappy stage. The first step is to make sure that his Earth stays in balance. A key strength of balanced Earths is how grounded they are. This is the core of their stability and usually a gift Earths give to others. But right now Jimmy needs this grounding for himself. To help his Earth stay balanced, you can treat him to a little something sweet each day since sugar (in small amounts) often balances Earth energy. Another way to help Jimmy is to encourage him to spend a few minutes alone each day softly chanting the “OM” sound. This sound is particularly good at balancing Earth energy. You might also encourage Jimmy to plant a garden or become involved with a community garden. Connecting to the earth especially balances and grounds Earth people. And in Jimmy’s case, it will also be an opportunity for him to meet other people who likely have a lot of Earth energy, too, and therefore the same relationship priorities as he does.
Finally, while he is hurting, you can give Jimmy the gift of yourself by spending as much time with him as possible. You and your family are the longest-term relationship he has which means your presence alone will be grounding and healing for him. As part of your time together, try doing fun things. Introducing Fire energy via activities together will cheer him up. He is surely missing Tina, so fun companionship from people (or pets) close to him will feed his Earth energy at a relationship level.
The good news is that even when they experience an emotional earthquake, grounded Earths are usually able to adjust to the new reality in a reasonable amount of time and then get on with their mission of supporting and loving others. Bless you for being the wonderful sister who will help pull Jimmy’s heart back together!