Dear Readers: Four years ago, I posted a blog following what seemed to be a particularly contentious and divisive election in 2016 America. Sadly, it appears that little has changed in America over the past four years and the election held here earlier this week is on its way to becoming even more divisive than the previous one.
In my 2016 post, I explored the role the Five Elements played in that election with the hope that a greater understanding of the dynamics at play would help heal the country. That remains the impetus and hope behind re-sharing that (annotated) 2016 post today. Blessings to all, Vicki
We held a presidential election in America earlier this week and the results left some people astounded and shocked. It was perceived by many as a contest between love and hate, acceptance and fear, inclusivity and exclusion. How we each processed these apparent polarities depended a great deal on which candidate we supported. In the end, the country was split almost exactly down the middle: the electoral vote went to one candidate and the popular vote to the other. In America, the electoral vote decides the election.
It’s not my intent here to discuss who should have won, or who did win. Rather, I’d like to explore the role the Five Elements played in this election in hopes that this understanding will help us begin to heal. America is dangerously divided right now and must come together to move forward. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out in his June 16, 1858 speech, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Hopefully, a little understand will help the healing.
A dominant theme in this election was fear. Fear of people not like us, fear of what either candidate might do if elected, fear of lost rights, fear of staying stuck, fear of elitism, fear of exclusion; you name it, we feared it. Even those aspects of the campaign that emphasized working together carried an underlying fear of what would happen if we just couldn’t work together. Truly, this was an election fraught with fear.
Dear Vicki: I’m having an issue with my husband of three years and hope you can help. Jax is a wise and kind guy who’s really into things being done the “right” way. When he’s stressed, he can get pretty dismissive, but other than that we usually get along really well. Recently, though, we had a significant argument about the upcoming elections. I can’t believe what’s happening in our country and am terribly concerned. Jax just shrugs and tells me not to worry. But so many people are hurting in so many ways, how can I not worry? And how can he be so seemingly indifferent about something so important? Does he even have a heart? What can I do to convince him that he needs to care more? Signed: Worried Wife
Dear Worried Wife: Yours is not the first letter I’ve received about current events here in the U.S. This is not a blog about politics, but fortunately for your situation, I think the issue is less about politics and more about understanding each other. I can’t help you with specific election issues, but I can help you understand some of what’s going on between you and Jax. Much of it has to do with the interaction between your elemental personalities, so let’s start there.
Based on the way you describe Jax, I think it’s safe to say he is a primary Metal elemental personality. Doing things the “right” way, an ability to stay detached, and becoming dismissive when stressed are all pretty characteristic of the Metal personality. And you are clearly a primary Earth personality. Caring what happens to people and a tendency to worry are two very dominant characteristics of Earth people. So, what does that mean for your relationship? To answer that, we will look at our ever-popular Five Elements model.
Dear Vicki: I have a lot of anger surfacing these days. I am over-the-top angry with the political campaigns and the way people are being treated, but recently realized it parallels how certain family members treated me in the past. I let them get away with it, had compassion for their bad behavior, and didn’t really acknowledge how I felt about being disrespected and judged. Finally, two years ago I stepped away from these relationships. At first I felt fantastic, but now my anger at the campaigning has made me realize that I am angry at myself for being a doormat all those years. I even have conversations with myself about this sometimes and deeply regret my lack of action. I am a Metal/Fire, but am turning into a roaring Wood. I read your blog and notice that you often suggest environmental ways to help balance an element. Can you help me? Signed: Angry in Atlanta
Dear Angry: Let me say that it’s truly amazing how many people, especially women, have approached me via this blog and my private practice to express anger at the way groups of people are being treated by specific candidates this year. Individual rights matter in America, and when those aren’t respected it can bring up issues for all of us. I think that’s happening now as part of the presidential campaign in a way we didn’t expect as a country. So, you are not alone in feeling angry, but let’s look at how this is affecting you and what we can do to shift the pattern.
Remember that we all have all five elements in our make up and can draw on them at will when we need what they have to offer. If we are not a primary Fire but need to be more outgoing in a particular situation, we can tap our Fire. If we need compassion, we can tap our Earth, etc. And sometimes, a specific element can step to the front of the line to help us process something we need to process. I think that’s what is happening for you.
While you might normally be a Metal/Fire, right now it sounds like your Wood is ready to process the anger it feels at the Earth part of you that stood in compassion for people and allowed them to treat you poorly. Your Wood also sounds upset that your Earth took so long to step away from these people. The good news is that your Earth did finally step away! Earth has a very hard time ending relationships, especially family relationships. And since Wood controls Earth, your Wood might also be upset at itself for not stepping in sooner and balancing the over-compassionate Earth. The conversations you’re having in your head about what you should have said or wished you’d said also indicate an out of balance Earth.