The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!

#183: Vive La Difference!

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, November 26, 2016

‘Women’s essence is to be yin on the outside and yang on the inside, whereas men’s is to be yang on the outside and yin on the inside’.

We are equal. But does equal mean we are ‘the same’?

I’ve written elsewhere about how men and women are essentially the same - see one of my all time favourite blog articles ‘Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth’. But we’re not identical.

Vive la difference!

Sure, we should have social, political and economic equality between the sexes. But that doesn’t mean we are or should be the same. Quite the opposite, it’s the dynamic tension between the male and female energies that keeps sex strong and powerful in a relationship.

Ideally in a sexual encounter the man opens up his strong yang exterior and invites the woman into his tender yin interior where she can completely let go, safe inside the space he’s created. There she can let her strength manifest, resulting in extraordinary sexual responses.

Interestingly, what is happening energetically is the opposite of what’s happening physically: physically the man enters the woman, energetically the woman enters the man (and how scary and vulnerable can that make the man!)

Similarly, in a relationship, the man holds the space in which the woman can blossom and reach her potential. He’s like the pot and she’s the plant. It’s essential that he is a pot big enough to hold her or her growth will get stunted in the same way that the growth of a bonsai is stunted when you plant a tree in a pot that’s too small. If the man is too restrictive for her she’ll be held back and not reach her full potential. Either that or the pot will crack from the pressure. Fortunately the analogy has its limitations, and unlike pots, men can grow and develop to become big enough for their woman!

If a woman tries to be like a man, and puts up a false yang on the outside, she denies her yin softness and hides her true yang inner strength. She can’t enter into him and feel his support. She’ll feel she’s doing it all on her own, which is tiring and makes her brittle. Ultimately, if he’s too busy maintaining his yang on the outside and won’t let down his defenses enough to let her feel his interior softness, she will feel the lack of connection with her man and they will bounce off each other. On the other hand, if he’s turned too soft and put up a ‘false yin’ on the outside she’ll feel nothing from him either, it’s like a marshmallow and makes for comfort but not necessarily connection.

Now, everyone does have masculine and feminine qualities and a well-developed person will have a pretty good balance within themselves. But the essence of each is different, and if we reject one, thinking the other is somehow better, then we reject a major aspect of ourselves.

So let’s look at what is the ‘feminine’ and the ‘masculine’….

Valuing the Feminine

We grossly undervalue the feminine in this society. Yes, we had women’s liberation in the 70s, and that was a great thing, which has led to a definite improvement in the status of women. But in order to achieve that status, women had to prove that they could be like men, which they did. That’s fine, but all that did was show that women could be masculine. It didn’t raise the value of the feminine.

Which is why several decades on women find they have to be masculine to succeed in society.

True strength in a woman comes energetically from being soft on the outside and strong on the inside. In fact it’s only by being soft on the outside that her inner strength can emanate. Otherwise she’s creating a false yang on the outside, which is hard to sustain, is brittle and prevents her true strength from blossoming.

I want to stress that I am NOT talking about women being soft and weak and pathetic. That people think that’s what I’m talking about is just proof that our society devalues the feminine. It is strong to be soft. We need more of the feminine in this society. We need women to embrace their essential selves.

A woman can then express her femininity in many different ways (I’ve discovered seven different feminine Sex Goddesses or Sexual Archetypes, ranging from ‘tough’ to ‘gentle’ and everything in-between). There is no limitation in how she expresses herself as a woman. The important thing is that she is real and embraces the power and glory of being a woman.

Valuing the Masculine

Just as we undervalue the feminine in our society, we also get the masculine wrong.

Since we’ve had a few thousand years of not valuing the feminine, in place we’ve had an unnatural, overly arrogant masculine. A masculine defined more by the ability to dominate and control than one defined by true strength and openness.

So there has been a complete imbalance in society with a weak feminine and dominant masculine. With the social changes over the past decades, many people are changing. However, just as too many women reject the ‘weak’ feminine and adopt a harsh and controlling energy; too many men reject the ‘dominant’ masculine, and adopt an overly soft and, let’s face it, fairly insipid energy.

So many of my female clients complain that their man is not a man, and so many of my male clients confess that they don’t really know what it is to be a man.

The essence of a man is to be yang on the outside and yin on the inside. A nice analogy is the knight of old who would go off and fight dragons and save damsels in distress, but equally would come home and honour his woman, write her poetry, bring her gifts, and love and adore her. In this way she knows she can depend on him, yet he also opens himself to her, lets her inside. In doing this, he allows her to let go and show her real self too.

Finding the Balance

So many people are confused by how they “should” be, but what they’re really asking is, “How can I truly express myself in the fullness of my masculinity or femininity” and I believe this is because we have polarised the masculine and feminine so strongly. No woman wants to be a pathetic doormat, but is the only alternative to be an arrogant domineering male clone? No self-aware man wants to be a macho shit, but is the only alternative to be sensitive new age wimp?

Not at all. However, it’s only when we understand the masculine and feminine energies as equal complements, yin and yang, that we can embrace both of them within ourselves, and through that within our society.

We are not “opposite” sexes. We are “complementary” sexes.

Both are strong, both are soft, both protect, both nurture. But the essence of each is different. That is what every man and every woman has to find within themselves in order to become whole.

If he is too much the wimp, she’ll have to do the holding herself, and won’t be able to let go. If he’s too much the macho shit, she won’t be able to get inside him and they’ll stay separated. If she’s too much the hard case, he won’t be able to open up to her. If she’s too much the helpless maiden, he won’t be able to meet with her power.

These are variations of dynamics I see all the time. But once people get it then magic starts happening.

Note: this has been written for a heterosexual audience, a balance of the ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, I prefer the terms yin and yang, also needs to apply in same sex relationships.


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