Why “watery” people overestimate me.

A personal article borne out of journal entries.

Lucy the Oracle
6 min readMar 25, 2024
Photo by Robby McCullough on Unsplash

You won’t find theory here. This is purely a personal vent / attempt to understand my own life. Click here for a more comprehensive and impersonal take on what I mean by comparing people with elements.

This article assumes you have read (or you’re at least aware of the existence of) the theoretical article available from the link above. Browse away.

Polarity is a constant in my life.

This probably explains my endless search for balance, for a “middle way”. I feel imprisoned in a series of extremes the world throws at me, maybe in an attempt to test my faith in the existence of this elusive balance. The people I meet are almost always extreme in some way — extremely critical or extremely accepting; extremely masculine or extremely feminine; extremely shy or extremely loud; extremely narcissistic or extremely selfless and self-cancelling. The list is extensive. It sometimes makes me paranoid. Is that reflecting a hidden tendency of mine towards extremism? What am I BEING that attracts this problem over and over?

…Or could it be that the world at large is polarised in a lot of ways, and I picked up on that energetically?

I don’t know. I’m not sure I SHOULD know. I guess I’ll just shrug and let the answers come when it’s the right time.

Either way, I am no stranger to the idea of polarity. For example, I relate to fire. Most people in my life are the opposite — watery. They come in a variety of ways, with an individuality of their own (although they’d probably want to slap me for saying that. FINE, I’ll take that back before they come raging at me in the comments. You guys are all very similar and don’t stand out from the crowd. Or whatever you want me to say. Happy now?). There is one common thread, however, I have definitely noticed among them: their habit of overestimating me.

Overestimating can be good or bad. It depends on the context.

As you might have guessed, you can overestimate a person in order to lift their spirits if they’re feeling down. “No, you CAN do this; you ARE good; etc” — they tell me these things and similar, especially when I haven’t asked. It’s not bad. I won’t complain. I also won’t lie (I never lie — just sometimes get sarcastic, but try to make it visible) and claim I understand this weird habit of theirs, because no, I don’t. It’s a big puzzle to me. It makes me squint and try to see “why”… But it’s not negative. There is a certain sense of optimism in the habit of overestimating people, isn’t there? Optimism is good. I’m all for it, even when it seems a bit forced.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to imply it’s bad to have blind faith in oneself. It isn’t! But it’s puzzling. Don’t these people who advocate for that fear narcissism? Because last time I checked, narcissists won’t accept the possibility of being any less than “awesome” and “self-sufficient” either. I choose the path of humility instead. But each to their own.

…Or maybe, this “watery” habit of overestimating people comes from a place that has more to do with their nature? I mean, when you look at water, it’s a cautious element. It can be bold and strong and all of these things, but it’s always deliberate and gently persistent. Great qualities! But not always the best choice.

(Always keep in mind, when I say “not the best choice”, this is not a criticism. This is not an attack. This is an acknowledgement of the fact that, love it or hate it, more than one element exists. If a watery approach was enough in every situation, at every moment, everywhere and for everyone… Why would fire and air and earth even exist? They wouldn’t. But they do. And if they do, they bring good things to the table too).

Sometimes, caution isn’t the only plausible option. Maybe impulsivity will take you further instead. Maybe it’s stubbornness. Maybe it’s an airy light-hearted approach. But for some weird reason, “watery” people (or the ones I’ve known, at least) don’t seem to even have eyes to see that. No. All they see is water. All they see is caution here, caution there. Oh, I’m cautious all the time, so this person must be cautious too, so those people must be cautious too… What other approach even exists for living your life?

So when they see others coming from a similar background as them, but achieving different and/or more numerous things, maybe they go straight to the conclusion that “oh, I must suck. These people are better than I. Look at them being more successful at Y and X and Z”. Yeah, sure, that’s the ONLY POSSIBLE conclusion, isn’t it? No other possibility anywhere in the horizon.

Like, are you sure there is no way at all at all, or even the slightest chance, that these other people you see “advancing in life faster” (whatever that may be in your conception) simply have a LESS cautious approach to things? I’m not disagreeing that with caution comes perfection (or the closest attempt at perfection we can get, anyhow), but if you’re too “watery”, chances are you’re prioritising this perfection over other equally worthwhile pursuits. You’re sacrificing novelty, for example. You take so long to take a step (because you’re trying to get it “just perfect”) that in this meantime, you’ve missed out on the less-than-perfect opportunities that could nonetheless also lead to happy moments.

Photo by Loic Leray on Unsplash

Not every walk is on a tightrope.

“Well, but water can also get spontaneous”, maybe you’ll say. Aye. Indeed it does. It’s not in the same way as other elements’ spontaneity though. (Again, I’m not criticising. Just acknowledging).

When I think of a watery kind of spontaneity, I think of (again, I’ll use the same metaphor you see in the other article), the waves in the sea. Ever-changing and ever-flowing with the wind, with the currents, and many other forces of nature. Unpredictable and moody. Isn’t that spontaneous? Well, yes, of course it is; but it’s a collectivist kind of spontaneity. Without wind or currents or seismic activities, water gets calm.

Does fire ever rest? Does earth? Does air? No, none of them are quite as good at stillness as water. Not even earth (or have you forgotten how restless and vigorous certain plants can get?). Water depends on external agitation in order to agitate itself. The self-motivation is almost zero.

Metaphorically, translating this to the context of personalities: this is why “watery” people are often empaths. They’re very attuned to external movement, and always try to move along with it — including emotional “movements” they perceive in others. Conversely, though, maybe they find it very difficult to understand a more “fiery” approach to things where a person would suddenly decide to feel or pursue whatever and go for it. “But where’s the wind? Where’s the current inspiring it? Where is that coming from?” Nowhere, dear watery friend. Nowhere external. It’s an inner spark. You have it, too, and you’ll see it in yourself IF (and only IF) you stop being so supremacist about water. Personality is ultimately a matter of choice. It can grow and change, but we must choose that for ourselves.

And with choices come compromises. “But I want to have more initiative”, maybe one of these extremely “watery” people would say. Do you, though? Do you REALLY? Are you willing to sometimes let go of that empathetic people-pleasing instinct for that to happen? You can’t otherwise, I’m sorry. You can’t stay hyper-focused and hyper-attuned to everyone who surrounds you to desperately try and make all of them happy and harmonious… AND at the same time choose you. See what I mean? You can’t just have the good side of a choice. A compromise comes with it.

It’s not “heartless” to choose yourself every once in a while. It’s healthy. It only feels heartless because maybe you’re overestimating other people. Sure, other people deserve dignity and harmony, but they aren’t all that. You’re blowing their importance out of proportion. You matter too and you aren’t all that either. It’s a bit of a paradox.

Life isn’t as serious and heavy as you assume. Not every minor slight (or perceived slight) done onto you or onto others is the end of the world. People are stronger than that, more thick-skinned than that. We evolved from apes in caves running from big cats and hunting mamooths. Maybe we aren’t as fragile as you think.

Food for thought.



Lucy the Oracle

Oracle learner / spirit worker based in Ireland. Buddhist/polytheist. I don't read minds. I don't change minds. I don't sugarcoat. Take my message or leave it.