I’ve been working hard to become a man for as long as I can remember. Being strong, tough, brave, ambitious…all the adjectives normally associated with masculinity. Naturally in my adolescent brain it went to reason that being masculine meant not being feminine. So, resisting my feminine behaviors of neediness, indecision, approval-seeking and all the other adjectives our society associates with femininity was a path to becoming a man.
As much energy as I devoted to ‘being’ masculine, I exerted twice as much energy suppressing ‘being’ feminine.
This model has lead to behavioral swings typically associated with yo-yo dieting. Periods of excessive masculinity that rebounded me into relapses of self-destructive feminine behavior. Not because feminine behavior is in itself destructive, but because my wild swings in action would result in the undoing of everything I had done.
The masculine would spend weeks building a business or slogging through 70+ days of P90X, only for my feminine needs to cause me to withdraw moments before the finish line and sabotage all my efforts. This would result in mediocre results at best, a sense of fatality and “what’s the use” at its worst.
Feminine “needs”. I’m going to talk about this more later.
So, I’d double-down. I read more, practice more, go deeper into the masculine energy world in an attempt to stomp out the feminine for good. Affirmations, meditations, cleanses…all delivering the same result…frustration and shame of my weakness.
And it is that frustration, shame and resentment of our feminine that causes the biggest problems. Lashing out, aggression, repression. Behaviors we’ve come to refer to as toxic masculinity.
In a moment of clarity though I asked, what if masculinity and femininity aren’t opposing forces to be viewed as either/or, but instead catalysts each enabling the other to be expressed in their most positive and useful ways? What if those opposing forces aren’t behaviors or thought patterns, beliefs of dogma, but emotional needs?
In a broader sense of discovering my identity I have spent a great deal of time exploring my needs. Since, as I child, my needs weren’t addressed in a timely or judicious manner, I developed certain traits that lead me to lead a life devoid of my own making. I internalized that time to mean my needs weren’t important or even valid.
Like an emotional, physiological and physical fingerprint I now have a very clear picture of who I am and why. In knowing that profile, we can make significant breakthroughs in defining our purpose and crafting a life that is both most fulfilling and most beneficial to those around us.
I’ve discovered that if we need something we will take steps (even subconsciously) to fulfill that need, regardless if it’s beneficial to the achievement of our goals or not. Basically, if you’re hungry you’ll eat whatever’s in front of you or convenient regardless of its nutritional value or the rational goals you’ve set for your health.
We can’t control the need, only the fulfillment of that need.
The key in leading a conscious life is 1) being aware of your needs 2) ensuring you go about satisfying those needs in a way that is both positive and beneficial to you and your ideal life.
Again, if we only think abut our diet while grocery shopping then when we get hungry while writing a blog post and reach out for what’s convenient, it’s likely to be something we consciously chose (while shopping) like an apple rather than a large fry.
And so I surmised that just as there are very positive ways to express my masculinity surely there are positive, even proactive, ways to express my femininity. Acknowledging that I have, and will always have, feminine needs that need to be satisfied I can ensure I’m meeting those needs in a productive, nurturing way.
In his book No More Mr. Nice Guy Dr. Robert Glover describes the feminine as a bucket to be filled. The feminine receives. The masculine delivers or does. So I began a simple practice of observing my feminine needs and how I was consciously or unconsciously meeting those needs.
Behaviors and feelings most typically associated with our feminine energy include the need for approval, validation, attention, soothing. Gone unchecked those needs can manifest in the negative and self-destructive behaviors of obsessively viewing pornography, endlessly surfing the internet, binging on television or sweets.
Just as bullying and violence are destructive expressions of masculine needs, it’s not the needs that are positive or negative, but the fulfilling behaviors that have unintended consequences.
Admitting that we need both energies to feel balanced and complete means we can take positive steps to satiate those needs without flip-flopping wildly from opposite sides of the feminine-masculine spectrum.
Recognizing that we need to honor our need for beauty and acceptance doesn’t mean we have to go on endless yoga retreats or join a crying circle. It does mean though that, even as the most macho of men, we need to pay attention to what fills us with appreciation and joy.
One of the strongest forces of feminine energy in the universe is nature. Whether you prefer the mountains, the beach or a city park the circle of life is a constant source of the feminine in our lives and is literally right outside your door. And just because you meet the guys in a park for softball or golf doesn’t mean you’re getting your feminine time in.
The act of “doing” anything other than receiving is more masculine than feminine. Climbing a mountain or building a fire are borderline activities that will only satiate the feminine if you consciously stop to appreciate and accept the beauty and wonder around you.
Setting a PR padding or running is most certainly a masculine endeavor. Following those same trails listening to amazing music and appreciating that you don’t have to compete or do anything to enjoy it will fill and possibly overflow your feminine bucket with little to no thought what-so-ever.
Which brings me to the thesis: How Nurturing Your Feminine Can Make You More Masculine
By honoring and attending to your feminine needs you’ll be able to focus more clearly on your masculine pursuits without worrying about feminine energy depletion breaking your concentration or momentum.
Paying careful attention to your behaviors will alert you to the fact that your feminine energy is running low and needs to be refilled. By doing this, you’ll be able to decide how that energy is replenished – by getting distracted chasing the new coffee girl or by sitting quietly appreciating something beautiful.
One way or another your feminine needs will be met, you get to decide how if you stop resisting and start living consciously.