“Yin and yang, male and female, strong and weak, rigid and tender, heaven and earth, light and darkness, thunder and lightning, cold and warmth, good and evil…the interplay of opposite principles constitutes the universe.” - Confucious
We as human beings possess within us, two opposing energies, the masculine and the feminine. This isn't to be confused with sex or gender, rather these are just sets of traits we inherit that have been organized in a language that we know of as masculine and feminine as more generally, but most definitely not always, we see more of the relevant traits of masculine energy in men and feminine energy in women. Of course, there is other language to describe this; yin/yang, shiva/shakti, sun/moon, fire/ water, and so on. It is important to understand that we have both energies within us, regardless of our gender. A male will have both masculine and feminine energy, as a woman will possess both too. Problems and confusion arise when culture, circumstances, and our upbringing encourage dominance over one energy and suppression or denial of the other. To feel like a whole and balanced being, we wish to seek harmony between the two, or at least a way to access the other energy as and when it is needed.
Now let's explore the characteristics of each.
Masculine Energy: Shiva, Yang, Sun, Fire
Masculine energy is associated with strength and stability. It is that which wants to provide, acquire material things, and is concerned with survival. This energy is very much associated with the physical world and with the mind. It is very logical, practical, makes decisions easily and confidently, and loves to problem solve. Challenges and competition are very welcome. This is an energy that is about doing, not about feeling. Words are used to express rather than emotions. Very action-orientated, masculine energy can represent our goals and what pushes us to go go go! The masculine also loves to be the hero, so admiration, compliment, and praise are all very important.
When the masculine energy is too dominant, we may see these qualities; possessiveness, authoritarian, materialistic, workaholic, all work, no play, overly competitive, egotistical, aggressive, unempathetic, and unable to connect emotionally with others. The lack of ability to connect and express emotion leads to inner turmoil and anger. Burnout, perfectionism, and OCD are common hints the masculine energy is in excess.
Feminine Energy: Shakti, Yin, Moon, Water
If masculine energy is the giver and provider, feminine energy is the receiver and is receptive, soft, and open. There is a gentleness about this energy. It is tender and nurturing. There is less need to always take action and busy oneself and there is more ease and comfort in stillness. To see the beauty in all things is what inspires this energy, and ways of expressing that beauty - art, music, dance, literature, etc Masculine energy loves to build and create in an order of practicality and need, the feminine loves to birth creation just as an act of love. pleasure and expression. The feminine is very in touch with the body, sensation, feelings, and emotions. There is a sense of fluidity, and emotions can change from moment to moment. Passion, sensuality, romance are strong feminine attributes, so is to be supportive, caring, and communal. Intelligence is also another trait of the feminine, however, this comes more from a place of intuition and heart/ gut feelings than logic and reason. Connection is much simpler and more natural for this energy type, hence why it is more associated with the spirit and spirituality.
When the feminine is too excessive or dominant, there can be too much emotional instability. The emotional connection is already strong, but when unbalanced, one can become overly sensitive, an emotional drain on others, or too empathetic themselves. Too much stillness can lead to inertia and it can become difficult to actualize anything. Although very visionary and creative, the lack of logic, practicality, and planning can lead to unsuccessful projects and ideas. Softness, vulnerability, and being open are very lovely qualities, but if out of balance can lead to poor boundaries, and one may come across as weak and lacking in personal power.
Are you already relating to some of the traits listed above? Hopefully, you were able to recognize some qualities on both sides of the spectrum as there are times when we need a bit of both. Naturally, we will lean toward one more than the other, whether that is just the way we were born, or it is something that we have learned. The good news is, these energies can be in flux and are available to us all when we learn how to get in touch with them. There are certain exercises we can do to help reconnect us and open us up to the energy we need. For instance, setting goals is a masculine energy exercise. It helps us to map out logically our ideas and plans for the future. Creative dance is a way of connecting with our feminine energy, to be fully embodied and express ourselves in movement. These are just two examples and there are so many very simple ways to get in touch with both energies and find a balance between the two. Not that we have to live in a constant state of balance, for that may be impossible, but just knowing what to do when we feel off-balance and leaning too far one way, is essential.
Make a list of both the masculine and feminine energy traits and circle the ones you feel you can relate to. Feel free to add any others you can come up with. This will give you an understanding of which energy you are more dominant in. Then, write just a couple of activities you can, and that you will actually do - keep it simple, that will get you in touch it the opposite energy. Try for one week to make a point to spend more time cultivate your opposite and see how you feel.
We often look to another to be our perfect 'fit', to complete us in some way. That means, that we would need opposite pieces to make each other whole, like two pieces of a puzzle. What if we understood that within us we also have these two opposites, that when put together, make us feel more of a balanced, whole being. It's just a matter of remembering there are other pieces within us.
Hope you enjoyed the read. I would love to hear your reflections on this in the comments!