What Elements are YOU made of?
Updated: May 5, 2018
There was a time in my life when I was single, in school, and dating at the same time as three of my four children. It was great for me and a little weird for them. It was fun to discuss similar experiences and their view of life over Sunday dinner. Studying, dating, psychology, science. We’d talk about all kinds of things. The courses and the professors. We covered a lot of subjects surrounding academics and our personal struggles with dating and romance.
However, we never talked chemistry; at least not the scientific kind. It seemed so intimidating. That periodic table with all the letter combinations and those tiny daunting numbers floating up above in the corner like a fly on the wall. Way to complicated! But where would we be without it? Our conversations did however gravitate to good relationships, why some work and some fail.
This led me to a simple and obvious analogy.
It doesn’t take a chemist to know that some of life’s simplest combinations work together, some don’t. How about water in your gas tank? Oops--Not good! Do you like mint and chocolate-- Now there’s a good match! Bacon and—well, just about anything? Hmmm, jury’s still out. Then there’s the default fifth grade favorite. You got it-- soda and vinegar which makes a great simulation of lava for your last-minute science project. Together that combination bubbles and fizzes creating some sort of gassy foam. Occasionally you come upon a combo that together creates a whole new synergistic flavor; ever tried raspberry jam and cheddar cheese on a soda cracker? A favorite after school snack. The combinations are endless. Inside of a science lab most are measured, tested and predictable. But the real life intangible combinations are highly subjective.
So, what about people? When you throw two personalities together how do they interact? Are there sparks? Fireworks? Nothing? Nada? Zilch? Just for kicks, consider your interactions with your cousins or siblings. Who do you relate or connect to? Who do you fight with? Do you have a sibling rivalry? If so, why?
A relationship is described as “the way in which two objects or people are connected or the state in which they are connected.” It doesn’t deem one good, or bad, better or worse, it is merely a matter of what happens when they are together; when they interact. In the laws of physics, we know that to every action there is an equal and opposite re-action. If you are seeing that played out in your relationships you may have a problem. But this example contrasts that “people” relationships are not based on hard facts like rocket science. They function under personal laws, beliefs, and reasoning; Some of which we may not be aware of but have significant power to exercise considerable control over us.
Humans are wired as social beings with an innate drive to connect with others, live and love, laugh and cry, multiply and replenish. Finding that love is a desired milestone and can be riddled with dreams and romance—infatuation and anticipation-- heartache and tears. When beginning the campaign to find a partner for life it’s important to consider what set of elements is compatible to the elements you bring. In their rawest form, what will the two elements become when brought together to interact? What will they produce together? Warmth? Heat? EXPLOSIONS? Cold Fusion? Have you heard the term “flash in a pan”? This describes a mini reaction, a great burst of energy that fizzles out to nothing in a matter of seconds. Considering the possible and likely outcomes before going forward is crucial.
Life is unpredictable, and unfair. Your chosen combination may seem stable, steady and strong until another element disrupts it. Perhaps it’s uninvited and seeps in unknowingly, or it could be a chosen addition, like the birth of a child. Furthermore, what happens when you turn up the heat? When the pressure is on or when illness strikes, or in laws get involved in your mixture? Which combination will provide adequate strength and endurance, which can remain flexible and able to move through it? What combination can withstand the outside elements that are likely to work upon your unique mixture?
These are not easily answered, and because of their subjectivity they cannot be answered by others. Other than one’s faith or chosen values, the choice to enter a permanent relationship with another is the most determinant choice made in life. It means mingling your own raw elements with the raw elements of another; usually at a very young and still developmental stage. It’s a big deal.
So, what can we do to give ourselves the best opportunity for success? How do we prepare for this union? Let’s not complicate things but begin with simple questions. By examining who you are and taking an introspective look at yourself before you seriously consider a mate aids the selection process. Knowing at least half of the elements going in will put you that much ahead when your ready to look for a mate to join you forever.
Here are 10 simple questions to ponder as you get to know and understand yourself. If you have taken personality assessments, they can aid you as well. These 10 questions are open ended and broad; created as an aid to help you explore and expound key concepts and beliefs in your life style. They are meant to stimulate insight and understanding whether you’re in a current relationship or not. Take adequate time to explore your inner beliefs and tendencies.
10 Elements of Me Questions:
1) What are your core values?
a. How important is it to have a family?
b. Do you want children? How many?
c. Religion? How devout?
d. Sexual relations?
e. Extended Family?
2) Do you rely on a higher power?
a. If so what, who?
d. What is your level of devotion to this power?
3) What are your beliefs surrounding money and spending?
a. Is debt ok? If so when?
b. Who supports your new family?
4) Where do you see yourself in 6 mo.?
a. in 1 year?
b. in 5 years?
c. in 10 years?
5) Where in your life do you experience Joy? And Sorrow?
a. What are your life changing experiences?
b. Have you experienced Trauma? Abuse?
6) Who do you turn to in times of heartache, financial trouble, or hard times?
a. Family? Friends?
b. Do you keep emotions private? What then?
c. Can you trust yourself to get through?
7) What is your concept of how family functions?
a. What are the roles of each member?
b. How are those roles fulfilled?
c. Who does what, when and how?
8) What is your Answerability?
a. How do you feel when you are in a position of accountability?
b. Are you teachable?
c. Are you open? Or private?
9) Does your personality change when under pressure, sick or anxious?
a. How do you act?
b. What do you do to cope?
c. What do you need from others during this time?
10) What is your work ethic?
a. Are you a finisher?
b. Do your projects become dormant?
c. Do you use work as an escape? Or do you do whatever you can to escape work?
There is no right or wrong! It is a simple exercise in exploring what is real for YOU; real enough that it’s evident in your life. The goal is to explore you own elements, put them under a microscope, not to be critical but only to become aware—to acknowledge and understand their existence. Sure, if you get real with yourself and realize there are things you wish you could change even better! Work on it. Get some help if needed. You may not know the answer to some of these questions yet. However, acknowledging what you bring to a relationship assists you in understanding what to watch for in a compatible partner.
In the meantime, make necessary preparations. For instance, if you know your struggling with debt, and your dating someone who is a cash only kinda guy, consider what that means for your future. If you have a hard time when others ask you personal or emotional questions, it may be hard to answer them and be open. This may be an obstacle when you try to form intimate relationships. Looking into why that may be and addressing the issue may enrich your relationships and enhance your life.
This exploration does not imply you should seek out someone who is exactly the same, nor the opposite; that is NOT the objective. Our differences are stimulants for development. Some may annoy, others can inspire, still others may be “deal breakers”. This is simply an exercise in awareness. A personal exploration to aid in determining compatibility; helping in the process of self-discovery. It is meant to inform you in preparation for your search to find a symbiotic relationship wherein both benefit from living together among the strengths and weaknesses they possess.