Balancing the Masculine and Feminine
We have an imbalance between the masculine and feminine, which is reflected in how we experience our inner worlds, how we behave and in our society as a whole. We need to recognise the ways in which we contribute to this dynamic so that we can build a fairer more balanced society, that will be better for everyone.
Living in a patriarchy means that people are focused on building and protecting their status at the cost of other aspects of life. When we are more balanced, there is more room for people to be who they are – for example, by showing their feelings. It creates much more spaciousness for us to to exist in.
Wisdom and spaciousness arises from love and understanding. Both of these have a masculine component and a feminine component. We all hold both the masculine and the feminine within us.
When we talk about understanding, the masculine element is giving meaning to something and the feminine component is receiving the meaning of something.
When we talk about love, the masculine element is to actively love something and the feminine component is to receive the love.
In our society, we value the masculine elements more. We perceive the world as something we go out and do something to in order to create value. But receiving the world and the people in it, is equally as powerful and valuable.
In order for the world to be a safer more joyful place, we need to to balance these within us as individuals and as a society.
A typically masculine version of understanding would be writing a book explaining a concept of the world. A typically feminine version of understanding would be listening deeply to what someone has to say and understanding the meaning behind it.
The imbalance in our society manifests in us believing that we understand other’s experiences from the outside better than they can understand it from the inside. It is the idea that science is more true than our felt experience of the world.
A common example of this, is that when we feel something that resonates with us we immediately feel like we want to take that feeling and create something in the world with it. We don’t value the sense of resonance for what it is. We are often unaware of this process even happening and it can result it mansplaining – where someone says something that resonates with us and we end up automatically explaining it back to the person who evoked the resonance in us in the first place as if they don’t understand it. Brains are weird.
We can learn and grow equally as well from listening to what resonates with us as we do from learning about concepts. We already know a shit load of clever stuff, so we probably don’t need many more books. We need to be able to open to receiving life so we can get a sense of what all this crazy stuff means to us, what resonates with us and how we experience the world.
The feminine element doesn’t always have to actually be listening. It can be listening to our felt senses and expressing this to each other by sharing openly about what it feels like to be us. This can feel really vulnerable if we’re not used to it but you can trust that if it resonates with you, it probably resonates with other people, and it will help them to understand their experience better.
The feminine element is characterised by the ability to hold a space for someone to be and discover themselves in. We can do this for ourselves, we can do this for each other and we can go on a shared adventure in getting to know our internal worlds better together. It’s beautiful.
A typically masculine version of love would be to give someone something or do something for them that we hope will make them happy. A typically feminine version of love would be to appreciate someone for all their wonderful traits.
The imbalance in our society manifests in us believing that giving is a more honourable thing to do and receiving is a passive trait that takes no skill and provides no value. It is also the idea that if we want to feel better we need to do something about it, we are to blame for our negative feelings.
This has some really dark manifestations in our society, including blaming rape victims, dismissing mental health problems and bullying ‘weak’ people.
If you give people a safe space to share the ways in which they have been oppressed and hurt and degraded by others, the examples will flood out of them. People hold on to these feelings because they cannot express them in the moment. Being emotionally open and sharing the ways in which we are hurt by others is seen as a weakness to be exploited or a tool that we are using to manipulate people, not as a valuable piece of information to be honoured.
This perception is absurdly integrated into our society; we are numb to how little attention we pay to our feelings and have become used to just ‘sucking it up’ when we are in situations that make us feel like shit. We basically have to do this for every modern job.
In order to embrace the feminine, we need to allow people to share the emotional impact that their environment and other people’s actions have on them. We need to learn to be grown ups and be able to listen to people when they are hurting, including ourselves, without reacting and appointing blame.
When people can share how they feel about something, it presents a much more honest picture of the true reality and we are able to create solutions that genuinely meet people’s needs. If we all pretend we are ok all the time, we will just keep creating environments that make us feel like shit.
It can also be a beautifully powerful and positive experience. Receiving the love of ourselves and others is an active role that takes skill to learn to do well. Compassion helps us transform some difficult emotions and feel less alone with others and we are only able to feel happy, if we can find and listen to the happiness inside of us and help other people recognise it in themselves too.