Growing up with four brothers and one younger sister (...ten years younger), you could maybe blame my tomboy tendencies on the facts that I was throwing footballs every weekend for ‘fun’ and dodging paintballs while my oldest brother used us as target practice in the woods. Or maybe they came about when my mother snapped at me to quit looking at myself in the mirror while getting ready for middle school as I started to get interested in makeup...and boys. Instead, I pulled my hair back into a slick ponytail and decided to get really good at sports (hiding any apparent curves behind tight sports bras).
Looking back, though, these tomboy qualities could have most certainly came from having a girls-only dress code at school. I remember the first time a teacher walked up to me and had me stretch my arms down to be sure my skirt was longer than where my fingers hit on my thighs (lucky for me, I had short arms - the skirt sufficed!). But even in later years, at university in my business classes, I was surrounded by mostly male peers and professors. Being loud, defensive, and direct were all signs of confidence and acknowledged that I was paying attention and knew the material. There are just too many experiences to mention which might be the éxpose for my masculine tendencies.
A patriarchal system breeds masculinity and in the Western world (and beyond), we reward these qualities, making this seem like the ‘right’ way to be, act, and talk. I always excelled in workplaces because of my firm decision making skills and fierce eye contact. People see these skills as a form of confidence, drive, and even passion. I’ve been programmed, when in a more masculine role, to use these tendencies to succeed. We all play masculine and feminine roles in our lives, whether you’re male or female - the key to being successful in these roles are knowing what energies to use and when.
First, let’s talk a bit about the basic ideas of what it means when we talk masculine and feminine energies. In society, masculine qualities typically include: strength, assertion, being competitive and decisive, and speaking loudly. We’ll use my coaching and manager position as examples of when I’m in my masculine roles. When I’m teaching a new skill in practice or talking about the budget with my team, I always use a lower voice, expressing ‘seriousness’, have firm eye contact, leaving little room for playfulness, asserting ideas as clear and concise as I can. To me, this seems to come natural (or so I thought). I’ve been conditioned to have certain tendencies in roles where being more masculine seems more beneficial - and visa versa for feminine roles. But are they really beneficial?
When I get home from work, I switch into my ‘wife’ role expressing more feminine energy. Knowing that my husband naturally follows his genetic tendencies of masculinity, I know he is most attracted to me when I’m in my feminine energy and role. Often times, though, it’s hard to get there. Too often, I will still be in my masculine role, coming from a work meeting or male-dominated networking event and come home talking loudly, moving aggressively, and driven towards accomplishing my to-do list. My masculine energy tends to clash with my husbands’ and this is where the problems arise. I will remind myself to ‘soften’ before I walk through the door at home. I will repeat this as many times as it takes to physically feel my face relax and my heart rate lower - soften, soften, soften. This is an expressive word that physically and emotionally reminds me to step into my feminine energy.
It’s not just me who benefits from learning how to change from masculine to feminine energies throughout the day. In fact, my husband is one of the only males in his department at the hospital, serving in the NICU. He is interacting with mostly females in a very sensitive and emotional setting. This requires him to take on more feminine-style qualities and expressions to communicate better, such as: empathy, nurturing, being gentle and soft-spoken. It would not be appropriate for him to react with only logic, speaking loudly in a non-empathetic way to a new mom who has a baby born in the NICU, overcoming complications.
This is not meant to be an argument on how we SHOULD act in certain situations, but I can already feel some of your heart rates starting to spike with the intensity to argue back. Nope. This is simply a conscious review of the different energies, both feminine and masculine, that all of us can become more aware of to benefit in situations we come across, daily. Because we live in a patriarchal world, where masculine energy has reaped rewards in most aspects of daily living, it makes it hard to come back to our feminine energies. There are many situations that merit being more gentle, nurturing, soft-spoken, slower moving, and flexible - all expressed as more feminine qualities (for the sake of this article).
If you are like me and wish to express your female energies more naturally, but are having a hard time because of the society we’ve grown up in, then I hope we can help each other. It has to start with being conscious of how we wish to be portrayed or feel in situations. What feelings do we desire right now? This is a great question to start with. Our energies, whether feminine or masculine, must be recognized and the use of deductive, conscious reasoning will help us decide which energies to take on during different times throughout the day.
There’s been a lot of confusion with expressing my femininity within the different roles I play in my own life - business owner, coach, wife, sister, friend, daughter, athlete, and mentor. When society conditions us to act in our masculine energies by rewarding this type of behavior, naturally, I have made masculinity the dominant energy in roles within my life. Is this really appropriate in all situations? As I have taken on being a wife this past year and move closer towards motherhood, it’s become extremely apparent to me that my roles require a lot more female energy than I thought, previously, to be beneficial. I also crave and desire to express feminine qualities more, now, than I once had. Slowly, as I become more conscious to my desires and this idea of balancing both energies, I’ve found it easier to express them in appropriate ways.
There’s always going to be a struggle between using the right energies, whether masculine or feminine, but we must not discount our feminine energy, especially as a female. I typically would show up to a business meeting dressed down in a ‘suit’, hair pulled back, talking in a lower tone of voice, and ready to share my firm opinion. Now, I realize the potential and benefit of staying in my feminine energy. At this point in my life, this is also where I feel more natural. It’s about being more gentle, accepting, and confident of myself when in this energy.
There is so much we can do to foster our feminine qualities, so that they arise more naturally. For me, it’s reminding myself to ‘soften’, dance to my favorite jazz piano while cooking for my husband or friends, and even singing soul-sister music wearing my favorite sundress while driving with the windows down, blowing through my hair on a summer day (totally guilty!). If we desire more feminine energy in our lives then podcaster, Melissa Ambrossini, does a really nice job of helping women to cultivate this further.
Whatever energy you desire and whichever is more beneficial is truly individual and situational. The more we become aware of our feminine and masculine energies, along with the feelings we desire to express are key indicators to balancing the two. It’s also important to note that when others sit in a certain energy, we may need to match them to better connect and build a deep relationship. Human consciousness is ever growing and has seen great expansion the past decade, whether it be conscious parenting, consumerism, or health. We’re all looking to learn more about ourselves in this self discovery to become better humans. I challenge you to become better in tune with your feminine and masculine energies and start making conscious decisions as to which would be most beneficial to our soul and others.--