Can She Bring Back the Enthusiasm?

Dear Vicki: I’m writing about my partner Lizzie. We’ve run a small auction business for several years and have done really well. I love seeing what comes in and the challenge of researching its history. I run our office, but Lizzie literally runs the auctions. She is engaging, outgoing, funny, and makes running the events look easy. Or at least she used to. Our auction house burned down several months ago and while I took it philosophically—that’s what insurance is for—Lizzie was devastated. I’ve done everything I can think of to get her to see things the way I do, but nothing I’ve said or done has perked her up. Not even breaking ground for our new building. It’s like she’s really burned out or something and the more I try to help her, the worse she gets. I’m fine doing this alone, but I miss Lizzie’s sunshine. How can I help her get enthusiastic again? Signed, Gloomy in Glendale

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Dear Gloomy: I’m so sorry about the fire. It’s surely a traumatic event for both of you, but based on your primary elemental personalities, it is probably something that will be easier for you to get over than for Lizzie. But there are ways for each of you to heal, so let’s look at your primary elemental personalities and see what we can do.

The fact that you manage the details of the business, love to research the history of the pieces that come in, and have approached the fire in a philosophic fashion makes me suspect that you are a primary Metal personality with a secondary Water personality. The Metal part of your personality will absolutely love the history of the pieces you sell because Metal people tend to appreciate the past. And no elemental personality does details like the Metal personality. However, your philosophic approach to the fire and loss is something we often see in the Water personality. Water people care less about things and more about ideas and meaning. You don’t mention it, but it wouldn’t be out of character for the Water part of your personality to wonder what the meaning was behind the fire or why the fire happened at all.

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They Both Want the Spotlight: Can This Relationship Work?

Dear Vicki: I’m wondering if you can help me with my new boyfriend. I’ve been dating Skip ever since we met at a friend’s party about six months ago and it’s been a blast! He’s funny, outgoing, and really exciting to be with. His hobby is stand-up comedy and he focuses on performing for charity events. He’s got a big heart, too. The problem is that I’m also funny and outgoing, so there are many times when we seem to be competing for the spotlight. We aren’t seeing other people anymore, but do we have a chance of staying together? Signed, Funny in Fresno

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Dear Funny: Do you and Skip have a chance of staying together? Absolutely! Any relationship can work if we take the time to understand each other and our relationship tendencies. And that’s where the Five Elements model comes in – it’s a wonderful tool for understanding our personalities and how they relate to each other. In your case, it’s pretty easy to determine what elemental personalities you and Skip have. As outgoing, funny people who enjoy the spotlight, it’s a good bet that you and Skip are both primary Fire personalities.

A big priority for Fire personalities is connecting with other people, and parties are a great place to do that. The challenge is that Fire people also love to keep moving, so not many of their quick meetings from parties turn into long-lasting relationships. The fact that you and Skip are still together six months later speaks well of your chances. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that there are very specific challenges that come with a Fire/Fire relationship. Knowing them upfront will help a great deal.

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Her Husband Won’t Support Her Career Change

Dear Vicki: My husband and I have been married 15 years and worked in academia for much of that time. Simon taught at a large medical school and was always the most popular lecturer there. I managed the medical school’s library and dearly loved helping the students. Several years ago, Simon pursued his dream of going to med school (he wanted to be the doctor rather than just teach about it) and I kept working to support both of us. After completing his degree, he opened a successful practice. I no longer want to deal with the politics of academia, so this feels like the perfect time for me to change careers and do something more artistic, which I have wanted for years. The problem is that I expected Simon to be as encouraging regarding my potential change as I was of his, but he’s not. Whenever I bring up the subject, he’s completely unsupportive. He suggests that I probably won’t be successful, that there are more talented people around, and at his worst, that I should consider becoming his receptionist (how artistic is that?). Why is he so resistant to me changing careers? And what can I do? Signed: Ready for a Change

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 Dear Ready for a Change: I can understand why this makes no sense to you. It does seem only fair that he supports your career change as you supported his. And in truth, it is only fair. But I think a closer look at your elemental personalities and how they interact will shed some light on why he isn’t jumping for joy over the idea but instead, is actually trying to squash it. We will also cover ways to help you both move through this process.

First, being a popular lecturer suggests that Simon has a good deal of Fire in his elemental personality. However, Fire people usually don’t have the structure necessary to get through med school. That suggests that Simon’s secondary elemental personality is either Wood (more of a doer) or Metal (more of a thinker), as these are the two most structured personalities. And given his desire to “be” the doctor rather than “just teach” about it, I believe his secondary personality is Wood.

You, on the other hand, are clearly a primary Water personality given your life-long desire for creative expression. Water people also usually have a passion for books, which is where working in a library would come in. But the Water personality alone doesn’t have the structure to manage a library. And given your joy at helping the students, I suspect that your secondary elemental personality is Earth, which is exactly the element that helps provide structure to Water (think river channels, ocean floors, etc.). Also, since we all have all five of the elemental personalities in our wiring, you have probably drawn on the Metal personality in you a time or two for added structured when needed.

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New Year’s Resolutions, Fresh Starts, and Ceremony

Dear Vicki: I love New Year’s resolutions! Committing to what I want to accomplish next year makes me happy. Unfortunately, my husband hates the idea. Every year it’s impossible to get him excited about sharing thoughts for the coming year. And when he does finally agree, it’s like the Grinch has moved in. I’m dreading January because I know it will just be one more fight about resolutions. Of course, I could make them alone, but we’ve been together a long time and so much of what happens in my life involves him. How do I get him excited about New Year’s resolutions? Signed: Resolutions for Me

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Dear Resolutions: This is an issue many of us have faced and I believe it can be addressed rather easily with assistance from the Five Elements. Knowing your primary elemental personality and that of your husband will help you approach the subject in a way that might make the idea of resolutions more palatable to him.

The fact that you enjoy coming up with resolutions for the New Year suggests that you are probably a primary Wood personality. The arena of focus for Wood people is the future, and nothing is more future-oriented than creating resolutions for the coming year. In truth, resolutions are really just glorified plans for change and Wood people excel at planning.

Because your husband hates resolutions (rather than just finding them boring, pointless, or silly), I suspect he is probably a primary Metal personality. The arena of focus for Metal people is the past; they excel at synthesizing events that occur over the course of a cycle, be that a month, a season, a lifetime, or longer. Metals are brilliant at looking backward and bringing wisdom forward. But it’s often difficult for them to project themselves into the future; they just don’t think that way, which is probably one reason your husband hates making resolutions.

The idea of making New Year’s resolutions is popular in our culture not because we’re a world of primary Wood personalities. Instead, I think the popularity of resolutions suggests that each elemental personality can and does connect with the idea of a fresh start. So, let’s take a closer look at how each elemental personality responds to the idea of New Year’s resolutions and then we’ll explore a way for you to approach the topic with your husband.

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Does Anyone Love Winter?

Dear Vicki: The Winter Solstice is approaching and that means the start of winter. I hate it! The dark and cold always make me very unhappy, but my sister (a writer) loves December: The darker and colder, the better for her. I think she’s crazy, but how can we be so different when we’re just one year apart? Could this have something to do with our elemental personalities? I have no clue what mine is, but I sure hate winter! Signed: Hates the Cold and Dark

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Dear Hates the Cold and Dark: Winter Solstice does indeed herald the start of winter in the northern hemisphere; December, January and February are usually the coldest months here. But within the Five Elements model, the Winter Solstice represents a pause in the year-long journey from longest day to longest night, then back again. December 21st is the shortest day of the year, and thus the longest night. Beginning the next day, the nights shorten and the days lengthen. So if you hate the dark, Winter Solstice is actually good news for you because beginning December 22nd, the days get longer. But the cold? Well, that’s around for several more months.

To answer your question, how we respond to a particular time of year absolutely can have to do with our elemental personality, especially since – as we have mentioned in previous posts – each elemental personality has a seasonal affiliation. On the surface of things, it seems logical that each personality would resonate positively with their own season, and that can be true, but it isn’t always so straightforward. If someone’s primary element is unbalanced in their personality expression, they may not do well with their own season. Let’s look at how this might work and perhaps you will recognize yourself in one of these elemental personality descriptions.

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