More Critical Than Usual Lately?

Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog: Five Element Fixes. Over the years, in addition to questions regarding relationships, as a naturopathic physician I’ve been asked about a variety of other issues. Questions regarding physical concerns, certainly, but also emotional, mental, and even spiritual issues, as well. And in truth, they are all relationships questions because they address how we relate to ourselves and our environment. The answers to these questions are usually short and sweet, but also rational and logical. And of course, they are grounded in the Five Elements model! The information seems more important now than ever before, so I’d like to share some of these with you here. 

Question: I understand that these are exceptional times what with Covid-19 and all, but lately I’ve been a real Scrooge! I criticize everything my husband suggests (I know he’s just trying to help, but his ideas aren’t that great). What can I do to be less critical of him (and actually, less critical in general)?

Answer: Yes, these are exceptional – really unprecedented – times, but that doesn’t mean we have to make things worse for ourselves and others by being harsh or too critical. There are fixes for being overly critical, but first I think it’s important to understand that done kindly, some criticism can be useful. In truth, criticism can be seen as just intense (or repetitive) correction of a perceived impropriety. For example, children need to learn how to handle a knife safely, and if they do it wrong, a parent steps in and corrects them, ideally in a kind way. As adults, we often comment on the “wrongs” we see around us, often with a desire to correct the perceived incorrectness. Again, done kindly, this correction is a gift. Done poorly, it comes off as criticism, which is rarely well-received.

When you find yourself being too critical, it usually indicates an imbalance in the Metal aspect of your personality. People with a primary Metal elemental personality will be more suspectable to being overly critical, but since we all have all five of the elemental personalities in our energetic make-up, we can all fall prey to a tendency to be too critical. And when this happens, the easy fix is to surround ourselves with red! Wear more red clothing. Sleep under red sheets. Go bold and paint one wall in your house red. The more red around you, the less Metal energy you will have, and that will lessen your tendency to be too critical.

Why: As mentioned, the tendency to correct people sits in the Metal element. That’s because Metal people have strong feelings about what is “right” and “wrong, “appropriate” and “inappropriate,” even “good” and “bad.” Their ability to make this level of discernment is a gift, but taken to extremes, it can be a curse. So, when we or someone we know becomes too critical, we need to decrease some of the Metal energy being exhibited. And as the Five Elements model teaches us, it is the Fire element that helps to keep the Metal element in balance. Red builds Fire energy, so more red will mean less Metal and therefore, less criticism. 

Fortunately, red and green are popular colors during the holidays, so it should be easier than ever to surround yourself with red. Even a red poinsettia will help! And an added benefit of more red in your life will be that this extra Fire energy will help support the emotions of joy and times of celebration, something we can all use a bit more of these days. Blessings to you!

Stay safe and well,


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