“If any human being is to reach full maturity both the masculine and the feminine sides of the personality must be brought up into consciousness.” – Mary Esther Harding
Would you consider yourself more masculine or feminine? Have you ever been described as more one than the other?
For a long time, I prided myself on being seen as hard-working, strong, capable, confident and in my own words “very independent”. I’m not sure exactly when I decided this is who I should strive to be, but I did know that if someone were to describe me as having these traits, well that would feel just great. That would mean I was a success (in my eyes anyway). So I practised, or at the very least projected these personality traits as often as I could in my life, even when I felt exhausted by the effort they required. I believed consistency was important, so I kept pushing and striving to be that girl I’d decided I should be.
And in many ways, that girl was and still is awesome! She ensured I graduated from uni, always had a great job, an adventurous lifestyle and wonderful like-minded people around me, and for that, I am incredibly grateful. That’s a lot more than most, and I really do acknowledge that.
But there was another side to me that close friends would see, (and sometimes the public when I decided to write myself off at a bar.)
This other side felt like a fake waiting to get caught out, she over-thought everything, was super judgemental of herself and others, jealous of others success and happiness, sometimes angry inside, but mostly she just felt lonely and confused by the cards life had dealt her. This wasn’t how it was supposed to turn out?
Above all else, this side of me desperately craved love from another person. As the years went on, I took a more and more proactive approach to love with no shortage of great men entering my life, but date after date, relationship after relationship, I would eventually find myself alone, again. Usually by my choosing.
When another relationship ended shortly after I turned 30, I decided it was time to leave my own pity party, and do some serious self-reflection. I could no longer deny I was the common variable in my sad love life, and while that realisation was painful and scary, it drove me to reject my status quo and search for answers.
I quickly found many different concepts and frameworks designed to help me understand my current situation. Some I resonated with, some I didn’t. One of my personal all-time favourite ideas that I continue to draw on is that of learning to balance and express both our masculine and feminine energy. Now there are many ways to navigate this idea, but as an introduction, here are my favourite key findings on this fascinating topic and my own added interpretations that I trust may help to guide you in love and life…
To navigate life requires both masculine and feminine energy.
Masculine energy at its most pure is independent, detached, ambitious, solutions-focused, strong, competitive, analytical, powerful, assertive, confident, calculated, accountable and goal-oriented and logic-driven.
Feminine energy at its most pure is interdependent, nurturing, purposeful, emotional, vulnerable, supportive, intuitive, open, receptive, loving, trusting, responsive, relationship-oriented and heart driven.
Overly expressing one energy, and neglecting the other for long periods of time becomes unsustainable and unresourceful (i.e. will make you feel pretty CRAP.)
In saying that, every human being will tend to have a dominant or more natural strength energy, be it a little, or a lot.
Which energy is dominant and how dominant that energy is can vary and is not decided by gender, contrary to much historical commentary, but by a combination of nature and nurture. There are females whose natural dominant energy is masculine and men whose more natural dominant energy is feminine.
Regardless of your dominant energy, to master life is to be in tune with both energies and most importantly to know in which context to embrace which energy. The type of energy we need for work, versus with children, versus when we’re in the bedroom (wink wink), can shift dramatically, and again is unique to the individual. Bring the wrong energy and we’ll likely feel like something is off and we won’t get the results we’re after.
If we’re experiencing a feeling of imbalance, frustration, overwhelm or confusion in life, a great place to start is to look at our balance of masculine and feminine energy and ask, what might we need to lean into more right now?
Where imbalance begins…
During childhood the presence of varying levels of dysfunction or energy imbalance within our external environment, be it in our school system, society, culture, government, or family unit can result in us unconsciously tuning into one energy more than the other. This is a natural response at this age to adapt to our external environment.
If this dysfunction or imbalance continues for long periods of time certain behaviours or ways of being can become deeply ingrained, and that can start to play out in our adult life in many different ways.
Just like many things in life, too much off one thing doesn’t work. Too much independence, too much emotion, too much power, too much trust, too much confidence, too much cooperation, too much logic, and some might even argue too much love in the wrong context is counterproductive.
True harmony in life, requires balance.
Head and Heart.
Yin and Yang.
On reflection, it quickly became apparent to me that my strategy for navigating life, in general, was very masculine energy driven. While this is certainly my more dominant natural energy, the imbalance was too great and in certain contexts, especially my career and love life, this was hugely unhelpful.
Friendships were different. They were one area I felt, for the most part, balanced and happy with going into my adult years. Both my masculine and feminine energy was much more equally expressed. In fact, I would say connecting with people, in general, has always been a strength in my adult years. But deeper more intimate relationships were a different story. I know now in hindsight, that they require an entirely new level of feminine energy in the form of trust, nurturing, vulnerability and most importantly love that I was totally unpractised in expressing within myself, let alone toward others. While many men did appreciate and I believe were attracted to my independence and assertive disposition, ultimately after a while it dominated my behaviour and thinking and created a dynamic in my relationships that didn’t allow for a deeper connection.
When two humans come together in love, both comfortable in their masculine and feminine energy, beautiful things can happen.
So if you are experiencing an imbalance in your love life or perhaps across the board, I want you to consider the two lists below on the next page, then ask yourself the questions that follow.
Do you resonate overall with one list more than another?
Do you resonate with certain traits on either list more than others?
Is there an area of your life that could benefit from more of one energy?
If you learned to embrace the energy or traits you least tap into, how might your life?
What specifically would expressing the more unfamiliar traits look like, feel like, sound like to you?
What would they involve you doing? Being? Saying?
Who do you know that is great at embracing the traits you want to develop?
We often surround ourselves with people with similar traits to us but also we draw to people or partners who have traits that we wish to develop. When we feel ‘in awe’ of someone that’s a pretty good sign there are traits in that person we’d love to develop ourselves.
The most important takeaway. All of these traits are available to us. They may not come naturally to you right now, but they are resources you can learn to tap into if you so choose. Whether you want to bring more love into your life, more career success, or simply more balance into your life.
If you’re intrigued to know more, or want to explore this idea in the context of your own life, I love to chat, so click here!