Too often in our society I see examples of messages to bring us back to the centre line, away from our quirks. In other words, trying to numb or dull our unique qualities. Even in Chinese Medicine, we talk about keeping things balanced and stable in the midline. However, I strongly believe that our super powers lie exactly in our quirks.
“Our greatest strength is our greatest weakness” ~ unknown
In Chinese Medicine we relate everything in the world, in nature and in ourselves to the Five Elements; wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The process of diagnosing our patients focuses on discovering which element the individual has a propensity towards and then how to help them best according to their own constitution. We find that while each element represents important aspects of us, we all have an inclination to get stuck in our own particular CF (Causative Factor) element.
Something I have been exploring in myself and with many of my patients is embracing our quirks. Understanding where we are unique, and practicing executing positive expressions in these aspects of ourselves, can be the key to finding our super power. We must also take care to nurture and balance our tasks in this process, so as to not overtax our body or our spirit. With some fun exploration of flaws we will discover that our best self actually lies right there!
From an emotional spiritual perspective, within the Five Elements, we know that there are ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ expressions in each of the elements.
For example, in the Wood Element, pertaining to the Liver and Gallbladder Meridian system: a negative block expression of this element, one can become overcome with irritability, anger, frustration. However, on the flipside, the positive expression in this element includes careful planning, efficient decision making, and is nurtured by creative expression. Like other Elements, the negative expression of the Wood Element can become debilitating over time if an individual becomes stuck in the negative expression of self, particularly prolonged periods of frustration. Patterns of irritability can develop into vicious negative feedback loops. However, with each experience of the positive expression of this element, the individual will feel more organized and focused and filled with a sense of ability to do great things. Chances are, they will be more apt to continue to make positive choices and set the stage to be the best version of themselves.
The key to finding our super power, lies within our weaknesses.
For example, putting myself on the line here, ‘perfectionism’ is something you really want in an Acupuncturist! Each day that I go to clinic, and get the opportunity to express the quirky perfectionist, detail oriented and intuitive aspect of my being, I feel stronger and more purposeful in life. My quirks, that could in other cases be flaws, get to be expressed in a positive expression which helps my patients. This leaves me feeling fulfilled, empowered and healthy. However, had I not found this work, or other avenues to express these potentially crippling characteristics of myself, I may have been left to express these qualities in debilitating expressions. Anyone who suffers with perfectionism (rampant in the metal element) the need for things to operate as planned and organized (a wood element quality) will know exactly what I mean here.
Another example for those who have propensity in the Earth Element, may have tendencies to over think. We come across this regularly in the clinic. A busy mind that feels impossible to quiet down will often be accompanied with a myriad of digestive, sleep, and energy issues when stuck in a negative expression. These busy mind qualities can be super powers, when the mind is given productive and “feel good tasks” to solve. Problem solving, analytics, in charge of overseeing operations, helping others see all angles of a situation, for example could be empowering activities for Earth Element folk. The more that our quirks are expressed in functional roles, the more positive reinforcement we will have in our deepest aspects of self and have the opportunity to nurture our super powers.
Finding activities in work and in daily life that encourage the fine-tuning and execution of our quirks creates a positive feedback cycle and encourages growth in our strongest aspects of self.
Embracing our flaws helps us understand our gifts. Becoming keen to signals of when our causative factor element is acting out, will help us become in tune with the need for some self-care and when some personal time out is due. For those having propensities in the wood and metal elements, early signals may include an extra edge of irritability, feelings of troubles breathing, neck and shoulder tension, for example. Listening to these cues can not only help us identify our strengths, but also help us take control of our health and act in a preventative and nurturing manner, getting away from approaching health in a reactionary manner.
How do you identify what your own super-power-element is? Since we all have aspects of each element within ourselves, this may not be completely straightforward. Acupuncturists can spend a lifetime studying Five Elements Diagnosis and still have more to learn. So let’s keep this simple. Try starting with having a look at your daily ways, what is a common theme that comes up as a struggle? We all have them. If this sentiment alone triggers something in you, check out the metal element. Those who have propensities in metal hold a lot of importance in quality of self, work, and the world around them. Have a peek at the brief explanation below of the spirits of the elements. Remember, every element has its own beauty and none is more important or better than another. Every Element has its purpose. Is there an element quality that jumps out at you? What is the positive expression of this element? Is that something that would make you feel empowered and motivated? If so, imagine exploring that side of yourself in your work, relationships, home life, way you treat yourself and those around you.
Take note of the negative expressions of this element. How do these qualities affect your life? As you start to understand your emotions and aspects of your personality from a natural Five Elements point of view, you may understand more clearly, your own unique beauty and purpose here in this world. We all have gifts, sometimes it can be tricky to find them, because they may be hiding behind our struggles. Facing your ‘flaws’ and looking through them into their reflection of a positive aspect of yourself may be the change of perspective you need to transmute into your best self. From my heart to yours, I hope you will take a good look at your flaws and find out how that is exactly where your super power is!
About the author:
Delphine is an intuitive Acupuncturist with a keen sense of energy flow within the body. She has a passion for finding and treating the underlying root imbalance causing symptoms. When you come to see her you will be helped with more than just surface symptoms.
As a Registered Acupuncturist with the CTCMA since 2009, she graduated from the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) after completing over 3000 hours of study and clinic experience. Previous to her TCM Diploma, she also graduated from Langara College with a Human Kinetics Diploma in Health Sciences. Delphine uses her diverse education in Eastern and Western health to carefully diagnose and treat various conditions of pain, and especially emotional health. Delphine has excelled in Emotional Health especially in its role of holistic nature to our Physical Body.