Are You a Perfectionist?  You Might Be a Metal Type.

by Dr. Ashley Abbs |

Are You a Perfectionist?  You Might Be a Metal Type.

Did you take the world’s oldest personality quiz to determine which of the Five Elements in Chinese medicine you might be?  If you haven’t, I encourage you to head over to this interactive quiz to learn which of the elements you are, and circle back for more on the Metal Type – the detail oriented, disciplined, organized, and discerning type with a gift for creating something out of nothing.

The medicine of the Metal Element is reflected in the season and metaphors of autumn and the inner refinement that’s happening under the surface, as everything prepares for the colder temps, darker days and the winter ahead.  It is here that we bring closure to the current growing cycle and how the trees releasing and letting go of their leaves invites us the opportunity to reflect on where we currently find ourselves - what we wish to release so that we may be ready for where we want to go. 

metal element chinese medicine

Finishing the Unfinished Projects - To Make Room for the New

At this time of the year we feel called to complete unfinished projects, clear the clutter, cleanse and evaluate the year thus far as we prepare to set our sights on new ideas and the greater evolution of ourselves and our life’s direction.  The Metal Element provides the structure and container for self inquiry and a greater capacity for self awareness. Thus, we may be amenable to the invitation to become adaptable and flexible to possible changes or shifts that could assist us in stepping outside of our comfort zones to do something new.   

One of the properties of this particular Element that I most love is, that on first impressions the Metal Element appears to be hard, structured and rigid, when if fact all of its physical properties can be alchemized and transformed.  Metal can be melted, clay can molded and rock and be chiseled and the capacity for change exists even when it appears impossible at first glance. The same can be said for us when we surrender to the medicine of this Element.

The Metal Type Personality

The artist, architect, and alchemist - Metal Types are detailed orientated, disciplined, organized and discerning. They value beauty, functionality and appearance. This reflects their choices for clothing, furnishing and overall aesthetic of interior design in their homes as well as the way that they choose to execute their work. They are natural analysts and love a good list. 

Often quiet, introverted and reserved at first, Metal Types are considered a bit difficult to get to know in comparison to the other Element Types. However, when you’re invited into their close circle, they will relax and even melt into situations where they feel safe to be themselves and share their gifts and ideas.

Metal Types have a tendency for being self critical and perfectionists. They’re constantly seeking refinement and efficiencies to excel and reach their greatest potential. With an eye for detail, a Metal Type strives to be and do their best at all times. This drives their work ethic, organization and ability to bring things to completion. 

Overly Critical - With a Tendency to Cut Others Out

Due to their tendency towards perfectionism, they can be overly critical of themselves and others, always moving the target of what is good enough and worthy of recognition. This can create an obsession with struggle and performance, leaving them to become overly cynical.  

To avoid potential criticism as a protection, Metal Types can cut others out and isolate themselves or become overly rigid with their routine and expectations in order to be invulnerable from feelings or experiences that might make them uncomfortable.  

Metal Types need to know their purpose within a project, community or relationship. This helps them to be objective and able to structure the demand and expectations of themselves, both personally and professionally, to lead to the best outcomes.  They also seek to know their purpose in this life. Why are they here? How can they be worthy of the life that they have? This leads them to seek rituals and connection to spirit in ways they deem appropriate.   

They have a gift for making something out of nothing. With an affinity for words they can be incredibly prolific, often creating beautiful prose and observations that inspire the soul.   

Healing Practices For A Metal Type

Chinese medicine relies on customization in one’s treatment.  To this end, I recommend the following healing practices for those who find themselves of the Metal Element Type:

Gratitude Practice: At the end of the day, identify at least three things that you’re thankful for and write them down. This exercise is designed to develop your capacity to take in good feelings, compliments and respect in such a way that nourishes you. Over time this process will help to break some of the criticism and cynicism that may be preventing you from finding the internal satisfaction that you’re seeking. As you spend time giving daily appreciation to the positive, you will become more aware of throughout the day, thus cancelling out the negativity.

Practicing Imperfection: Unlearning perfection takes time - its thread is woven through so many aspects of one’s life, and so it’s important to be gentle with oneself as you acknowledge when and how you uphold this belief and protection. Take the time to understand why it exists, before trying to remove it or disparage yourself for doing it. It can be helpful to take small steps in disabling the patterns or beliefs allowing oneself to be less curated in person, on social media or others areas where you show up in the world.

Dr. Ashley Abbs is a registered acupuncturist, writer, mentor, and the owner of TerraSana Health in Calgary AB, Canada. She assists her clients in both her practice and online with the wisdom of Chinese Medicine, using the lens of 5 Element Philosophy to discover "Why They Are The Way They Are," so that they may trust their own inner wisdom and awaken their innate healing capabilities. She is also the author of the book, "5 Element Alchemy" which you can learn more about below or at or on Instagram @ashleyabbs.

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