Real Men Embrace Their Feminine Energy
When we become more complete as human beings, we’re apt to bring more goodness into the world
We are born into a world of opposites. Dark, light. Hot, cold. Summer, winter. Right brain, left brain. Yin, yang. Masculine, feminine.
All people have masculine and feminine energy, which has nothing to do with biology, sexuality, or gender. There are positive, bright, or mature expressions of both masculine and feminine energy, as well as immature, dark, or toxic expressions.
For example, women can be purposeful, strong, and driven. While our culture defaults to associating these qualities with men, that’s a superficial interpretation of what’s happening. These traits are actually just the healthy expression of masculine energy; it doesn’t matter who’s doing the expressing. On the flip side, traits that are often associated with femininity — like being sensitive, caring, or kind — are not exclusive to women. Men can be kind; men can also be tough — as can any person of any gender. What’s most powerful, and most attractive, is when someone can be both.
As we head into 2021 craving a better world, we each have our part to play. As a man, I’ll speak to what I see as our potential to contribute to a brighter future.
Men hold most of the power and wealth in the world. Because of this, we can make a unique contribution by understanding and realizing our full potential. Full potential means accessing all parts of ourselves: those familiar, like our masculine side, and those perhaps less familiar, like our feminine.
When we overdo the most familiar parts of our psyche and neglect those parts of ourselves that create balance, we create problems for ourselves and others. Being out of balance opens the door to our psyche’s darker elements, leaving us stressed out, angry, bitter, resentful, or vindictive.
The alternative is integration, wholeness. The joining of opposites creates wholeness. This occurs when we integrate and manifest both our positive masculine and feminine energy. When we become more complete as human beings, we’re apt to bring more goodness into the world.
While we all benefit from the many significant contributions made by men and women throughout history, men are, sadly, responsible for most of the evil. Wars, genocide, mass shootings, rape, and abuse primarily result from men, unconscious men — men consumed with toxic masculinity. Every day, this twisted masculinity shows up as hostility, aggression, arrogance, and being overbearing, hypercritical, or blatantly rude. (To reiterate my earlier point, women can exhibit the traits of toxic masculinity — though they’re more likely to be punished for such behavior than men are. The reverse is true of men and toxic femininity, too.) These are not just unattractive qualities; they create serious personal, interpersonal, and societal problems — not to mention no one admires a man who can’t behave like a gentleman.
We don’t need unconscious men who are intolerant, abusive, and corrupt. We need men who are conscious, men who shine, men who know the many myths about men and women they have absorbed are false. Men who shine are powerful and kind, focused and creative. Warm-hearted and driven. Firm and tolerant. A strong man is a man who is conscious of all parts of himself, including his feminine energy.
These are the men who can help heal the wounds in humanity and build a more humane world. These are conscious men, real men.
Here’s what we need to understand to get there:
Masculine and feminine energy
Feminine energy is the energy of life. It’s the energy of “being,” not “doing” (which is associated with masculine energy). Bright side traits of feminine energy include creativity, being in the flow, intuition, nurturing, listening, love, openness, empathy, and the expression of feelings. The immature side of feminine energy can manifest as people-pleasing, not speaking up, manipulation, or being indecisive, submissive, or unfocused.
Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama, Brené Brown, Bob Dylan, and Keanu Reeves manifest positive feminine energy.
Positive masculine energy is associated with action, focus, strength, mission, purpose, drive, achievement, power, logic, reason, directness, clarity, predictability, stability, thinking, task, and structure. The dark side of masculine energy manifests as being controlling, dismissive, overactive, coercive, and reckless.
Examples of positive masculine energy include William Wallace (Mel Gibson’s character in Braveheart), Muhammad Ali, Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games, Malala Yousafzai, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Florence Nightingale.
One is not more necessary or respectable than the other — rather, they’re complementary. Masculine energy needs to be in balance with feminine energy. Here’s one example of how this works: Masculine energy has a task focus; it wants to get things done. Feminine energy is people-focused. Combine the two, and you have a person who gets things done and engages people in the process. Think of a leader you have admired — they likely did this very well.
Deconstructing the myths
We learn — or, more accurately, are brainwashed by — the norms of the society we are born into, inheriting whatever belief systems come with. Genetics can also shape our world view. Current research in behavioral epigenetics indicates that past trauma — whether our own, or that of our ancestors — leaves molecular scars that attach to our DNA. We inherit not only physical characteristics but also the behavioral and psychological tendencies of our ancestors. These myths are programmed into us and are can only be unlearned with our conscious effort and participation.
Author Aletheia Luna explains some common myths about men:
- Men shouldn’t cry.
- Men must be stoic and not express their emotions.
- Men must have a successful career.
- Men must be the head of the household.
- Men are primarily logical and left-brain oriented.
- Men have to be interested in sports.
- Men are the protectors of women and children.
- Men must “dominate” women physically, sexually, and financially.
- Men are expected to be aggressively self-confident.
- Men must look strong and have muscles.
Common myths about women:
- Women are overly emotional.
- Women who are aggressive are “bitchy.”
- Women should have a sexy body.
- Women are not good at sports.
- Women are not funny.
- Women aren’t strong enough to be leaders.
- Women must conform to ideal beauty standards.
- Women are irrational.
- Women are primarily illogical and right-brained.
- Women cry easily.
- Women talk too much.
These myths run deep and need to be confronted, called out, eliminated, and transformed.
I’ve got deep patterns running about men and women. When I notice one, or when someone else points one out, it’s painful. I feel threatened, vulnerable, and sometimes, helpless. How can I cleanse myself of these ingrained beliefs?
This is not easy work. Changing any belief begins by first noticing it. When we realize we believe in a myth, we can let go of it. It’s the ones we don’t notice that hold us back. Who is most likely to expose the false beliefs men have about the masculine and feminine? Anyone who has already freed themselves from the myths.
Here are a few ways you can work toward deconstructing your myths:
- Reread the list above. Very honestly ask yourself, which of these myths do you believe? When you identify one — on the list or in life — ask yourself: Why do you think that? What work is necessary to change that belief?
- Associate with people who are making an effort to be more aware of their own limiting beliefs. If you have any false beliefs, there’s a good chance you will find out. In my experience, if you don’t associate with women or men who will challenge you, your false beliefs will continue unchecked.
- Associate with men who have a well-developed feminine side. Look for men who have artistic, musical, or creative interests. They are very likely accessing their right brain, the more feminine and creative side of their personality. What can you learn from them?
- When a myth surfaces, look at it closely. What’s its origin? The first place to look is within your family of origin and the society in which you grew up. Maybe it’s in your DNA too. What do you know about your ancestors? How did they live? What trauma, if any, did they experience? How might that be playing out in your life?
- Reframe false beliefs. I think women are too sensitive. Reframe: One of the gifts of feminine energy is to be sensitive. If you find yourself invested in the idea that all women are too sensitive, investigate your own sensitivity levels. Why is that a trigger for you? What negative associations do you have with sensitivity, and why?
- Stay vigilant. If you identify one myth, there are likely more.
Men need to tap into our inner feminine and access our ability to listen, nurture, empathize, feel, and trust our intuition. We need to invite feminine energy and women into our lives, our boardrooms, and our political arenas, rather than making it push its way in. That is not true balance, it’s expecting femininity to be more masculine.
When we integrate masculine and feminine energy, we can be powerful and compassionate, bold and kind, purposeful and caring, strong-willed and patient, demanding and collaborative. Feminine energy doesn’t make us weak; it makes us stronger, smarter, and more effective — sexier, too.
To be successful, professionally and personally, we have to know ourselves — our strengths, weaknesses, our darkness, and light. We need to understand and accept our feminine qualities and graciously love and invite into our world the beauty and gifts that feminine energy brings. And we need mature masculine energy that is honorable, forthright, and just.
How to develop more feminine energy
If you find yourself getting angry, frustrated, too aggressive, overworked, scattered, or exhausted, you’re likely running on too much masculine energy and not enough feminine. All of the following practices require feminine energy and can help you get back in balance. Some are obvious, some not.
Make time for reflection. When we’re too busy, we rarely give our brains time to rest, which they need to function optimally. We’re moving from one thing to the next, never shutting down.
- Take 15 minutes a day to sit quietly and let your mind wander.
- Journal for a few minutes in the morning.
- Take a nap.
- Go for a walk.
Practice meditation. When we connect to our higher self through meditation, we are directly accessing the source of feminine energy within us, our life force. A regular meditation practice opens the pathway to our hearts. The more we keep ourselves open, the more feminine energy flows.
Develop your intuition. Trust your feelings more. Start by paying attention to the subtle messages your body sends you. Notice when your stomach, chest, or throat feels tight. Notice when you feel relaxed. Observe what you are doing or thinking in each situation. What’s the connection? Pause before making decisions. Look within for guidance. What does your gut tell you?
Be in nature. Nature is abundant with life, with feminine energy. This is why we are attracted to forests, mountains, and oceans — it’s restorative. We intuitively know taking regular walks, hiking, and looking up at the stars are recharging.
Be creative. Creative energy is feminine energy. When we manifest an idea into reality, we are tapping into our feminine energy. Writing, painting, cooking, drawing, dancing, and playing music are expressions of feminine energy. So are things like putting together a presentation, developing plans, brainstorming, and developing new business ventures. When we immerse ourselves in creative activities, we enter into the flow of feminine energy. We experience the magic of creation. It energizes us and unleashes joy into our body and mind.
Build emotional capacity. Any work requiring high degrees of logic and rationality draws on masculine energy. Emotions flow from our feminine energy. Take a few minutes each day to notice how you feel. Start with how your body feels, then see how you feel. The more you do this, the more in touch you’ll be with your feminine energy. If talking about your feelings is difficult, this process will gradually make it easier.
Enjoy the little things. The harder we work, the harder it is to disengage. We push on, and before we know it, we’re not enjoying life as much as we could. Take time to savor the moment, read a book, laugh, take a warm bath, stretch out on the floor, or call a friend. They’re little moments of luxury, small moments of enjoying the simple pleasures of life. You’ll feel better and just a bit more relaxed when you enjoy the little things life offers.
Embrace transformation. Feminine energy isn’t just about caring, nurturing, and creativity. It’s also about letting go of the old and bringing in the new. Masculine energy is associated with stability and reliability. Feminine energy is the energy of change and transformation. If something isn’t working for you any longer — a job, or the place you live — it may be time for a shift. Lean into the part of you seeking a new frontier, a fresh start. The old must go before the new comes in. Call on your feminine energy.
Bringing together opposite dimensions creates wholeness. When a man is balanced and whole, he can access his full power, behave like a gentleman, make the world a better place, and be stronger, smarter, and sexier, too. No bull.