Most people think of "masculinity" and "femininity" in terms of our gender and social stereotypes. We believe that if I'm a woman, I'm supposed to be feminine and if I'm a man I should be masculine. Period. But a more balanced view, is that we all have both masculine and feminine "sides" that we need to acknowledge, develop and work with in order to be a healthy, balanced and fully-functioning individual.
What do I mean? Thinking of masculine and feminine characteristics as being only available to one gender is completely false in my opinion because we actually need both. For example, the qualities most people think of when they think of what it means to be masculine are things like being:
- Confident - Outspoken - Direct - Decisive - Goal-oriented - Solution-focused - Calm under pressure - Ambitious
While qualities associated with being feminine are things like being:
While you may be biologically male or female, doesn't mean you don't need to develop and acknowledge the qualities of both. For example, women, in order to have positions of power in the world, government, business, etc., they have to be able to access qualities like confidence, staying calm under pressure, being direct and decisive, and being goal-oriented. In order to meet any goals they have in life or to accomplish tasks that require planning, they need to use masculine qualities. If they need to ask for a raise at work, set a limit with their child, speak directly to their partner about their needs or manage their business-- all of these utilize masculine energy or qualities.
By contrast, a man who needs to develop a healthy relationship with his children or partner, is confused about a decision he is trying to make in his life, is experiencing a lot of stress, pressure or anger and needs to be able to express it, or wants to invent or create a new product or business-- will need to access his feminine energy or qualities as well.
So as you can see, both sides are extremely valuable and important in navigating life and being flexible in adapting to various situations we face throughout our lives. If we are dependent on only one set of qualities, we will always be limited in how we can function and react in different situations.
It's unfortunate and also dangerous that our society mainly idealizes and promotes masculine qualities at the exclusion of feminine qualities. It's this very confusion and bias that leads to so many wars, greed, ongoing violence and destruction, and focus on competition in the world. This is not to say that we should get rid of masculine qualities either. It simply means, we have to accept and honor both parts of being human which is that we all have and need both our masculine and feminine sides to create healthy individuals and a healthy world.
So ask yourself... are your masculine and feminine sides out of balance? Are there masculine or feminine qualities that you need to develop in your life? Do you have a bias about which qualities are better? If so, consider how this developed and what you would need to do to be more "in balance." If you're facing some major life changes/decisions or just needing to make some smaller changes in your life, consider what qualities you will need to have or develop to make them happen. I will guess that you are going to need both sets to make good decisions that follows your heart and your truth.
So here's to all of us embracing and being proud of both our masculine and feminine sides. May we all live in balance.
Tania Manczarek is a trained therapist, intuitive energy worker, certified yoga instructor, massage practitioner and hypnotist. She offers individual wellness services by phone/Skype, events and retreats in France and abroad. Find out more about her and her practice here.