How Metal is Reflected in Others

Dear Vicki: I really appreciated your response to Problem Fire, but it brought up a question for me. She asked if having trouble with an elemental expression in someone else means that we need to work on our own expression of that element. Her example was Fire in her brother-in-law, but I’m having trouble with a Metal co-worker (Grant). I’m a Metal, too, so I should understand him, right? Yet everything he does seems to rub me the wrong way. I find him controlling, haughty, and arrogant, but I don’t think I’m any of those things. At least I didn’t used to be. Lately, my family has suggested that Grant might be rubbing off on me. He was hired a year ago to help me with the books in a small construction firm, so we are around each other all day every week. We’re both Metals, so shouldn’t we get along? Or does the fact that I’m having trouble with Grant’s Metal energy mean I need to work on my own? Signed: Problem with Metal

Dear Problem with Metal: The short answer is yes, if your Metal energy is out of balance, you need to work on it. But the longer answer is to address why a fellow Metal can throw off your energies. We have spent a lot of time in this blog discussing how the elements affect each other via the Nurturing and Controlling Cycles. If you are a regular reader, you probably have a good understanding that, as a Metal, your relationships with Water and Earth people will carry a nurturing or building tone (Earth feeds Metal, Metal feeds Water). Conversely, your relationships with Wood and Fire people will carry a controlling or balancing tone (Fire controls Metal, Metal controls Wood). These are the basic patterns that sit at the core of the Five Elements model.

However, we also have relationships with people who have the same primary element as we do. These relationships are usually less dynamic than Nurturing or Controlling Cycle relationships because there isn’t the movement of energy through the cycles to keep things fresh. But, as we have said, no one will understand you better than someone with the same primary element as you. What we haven’t discussed as much is how people with the same element can affect us. And just like with the other elemental relationships, it comes down to whether the people we’re interacting with, in your case another Metal, have balanced or out of balance energies themselves. Metals with balanced energies will help you stay balanced. Metals with out of balanced energies will bring you down. Let’s look at why.

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Wood/Earth/Metal: Can it Work at Work?

Dear Five Faces: I’m writing for my brother, Ted, who “sort of” understands how the elements interact, but said he doesn’t know enough to write in himself. Anyway, he’s having trouble with a co-worker who appears very hostile toward him. They work with a group of people in an accounting firm, and no one has private offices – they all have cubicles, so sound carries. Ted is a Metal/Earth, and while he’s very good at his job, he also likes to socialize with his co-workers. But whenever he does, this particular co-worker (we’ll call her Ann) gets furious that he’s making any noise at all. It appears Ann wants the whole office to be deathly quiet so she can concentrate. It’s bringing the whole place down. How can he handle this? Signed, My Brother’s Helper

Dear Brother’s Helper: Bravo to you for stepping up to help Ted. Office dynamics are always interesting because, within reason, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way for co-workers to interact. Some offices have company events and encourage socializing, others much less so. But outside of the tone set by the company, how people get along at work really will depend on their elements. After all, a relationship is a relationship!

You know that Ted is a Metal/Earth, which means he will be great at precision (thus his success as an accountant). But his Earth, if a strong secondary, will influence his desire to connect with his fellow co-workers. That means standing around the proverbial water cooler chatting, or laughing at jokes with others, will be important to him. It sounds like Ann is a primary Wood; the fact that her reaction to socializing and noise is to become “furious” indicates this. We can assume that her secondary isn’t Earth or Fire, because either of those would make socializing important to her, too. So she is either a secondary Water or Metal. A Wood/Water would probably not last long in an accounting firm, so I’m guessing Ann is a Wood/Metal. This would make her very structured and fits well with her apparent approach that work is for work, not any kind of play.

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