Earlier this week I was asked by my good friend Catherine Davies to talk about the subject of masculine and feminine energy in her Facebook Group.
It was really great to see some of you join the conversation live, but for those of you who weren’t able to I’m going to talk about this topic in a little more detail today.
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll know that I promote: loving and listening to your body, being kind to yourself, intuitive eating, not pushing yourself to exercise if you don’t feel up to it (that doesn’t mean never!), no to ‘chronic cardio’, yes to doing what makes you feel good – what lights you up, less push/drive and more going with the flow of your body, eating foods that you lust after as well as those that are nutrient rich, allowing yourself to indulge on a regular basis, taking time in nature, feeling into your emotions…
What all of these things have in common, is that they’re bringing you back into more of a ‘feminine’ energy state. You could also refer to this as Yin energy or Flow energy.
Here are some of the basic characteristics/qualities of masculine v feminine energy:
Sense of mission leading to freedom The search for love and intimacy
Living on the edge Deep radiant beauty
Growth from challenge Growth from support and praise
Definitive and decisive Ambiguous, unpredictable
External focus Internal focus
Results orientated Process orientated
Bottom-line orientated Stakeholder orientated
Motivated internally Motivated externally
Both men and women naturally go in and out of the two energy modes and typically yes, you would say that men tend to be naturally wired to spend more time in ‘masculine’ energy and women more so in ‘feminine’ — although this is not always the case.
But regardless of whether you’re a man or woman I want you to really look at these two lists and identify what your predominant ‘mode’ is?
Perhaps you can even identify predominant modes in specific areas of your life?
…My guess is that you’re probably spending quite a lot of your time in masculine?!
Maybe you can see that you’re mostly functioning in that energy mode at work and/or when running your home. Maybe in the way that you exercise? What about the way that you talk to yourself? The standards you set for yourself?
The World Health Organisation recently declared that ‘burnt out’ is now a medically diagnosed condition. When you consider that people are predominantly living in masculine mode you can see why they would burn out — You cannot sustain long periods of forcing, pushing, striving, controlling, driving, competitiveness, giving, challenge, doing and living on edge!
So, in a world and society that is set up to favor masculine energy, here are some ways to cultivate more feminine energy into your every day life – therefore restoring balance:
Spending time with women – especially women who you recognise as being in their feminine energy. However, do be mindful of the fact that it’s quite common for there to be an element of competition in certain female friendship group dynamics — So gravitate towards the groups, friends or women you recognize to be more gentle, nurturing, quietly confident and sure of themselves – those who are very warm and inviting. Being around other women like this will enhance this energy in you. Years ago, when we lived in tribes, women would have spent a lot of time together — there’s a good reason for this.
Get into your senses – Masculine energy is more about thought (being in the head) whereas feminine energy is more about the senses (being in the body). For a start, a woman’s skin is more sensitive to touch than a man’s; we’re more ‘diffuse awareness’ where as men are very single focus orientated – it means we can take in more of what’s going on around us at any given time.
So, take time to get lost in and embrace your senses. For example — the sounds of nature or music, the feeling of silky or soft clothing on your skin, the sun or breeze on your skin, cuddles or petting an animal, savoring the tastes and smells of amazing foods and drinks, the smell of fresh linen, flowers or perfumes; the sight of something beautiful such as a wonderful view, a stunning design, a loved one, a butterfly or rainbow…the list is endless!
Being creative – Feminine energy is all about creativity. Do you have any hobbies that involve being creative? This also ties back to the previous point because a creative pursuit is likely to engage the senses. For example, you could take up painting or drawing classes, creative writing, cooking a delicious meal for loved ones or even yourself, making jewelry or clothes, knitting or crocheting, working on a home décor scheme or with the beautiful plants in your garden, and lastly even taking more time to thoughtfully put together coordinated creative outfits, if you don’t already!
Connection with others – Again this ties in with some of the previous suggestions, but female energy is all about verbally connecting. Stereotypically women like to talk and listen for far longer than men feel the need to! It’s the way our brains are wired — women are nourished by extended catch up sessions with loved ones.
So, call that friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while or schedule in a time for a good catch up with them! You’ll leave the call or time spent together feeling full and lifted.
Movement – This is a big one. Especially because we are all living more sedentary lives. The feminine energy is all about ‘flow’ and movement. If you have been stagnant and sitting for too long it’s important to move your body and shift the energy.
This could be something as simple as walk out in nature, a yoga class, a run or even some impromptu dancing round your bedroom to your favorite song! Whatever you feel most like doing, but it’s important to keep the energy moving. In fact, even if you just do a 5minute stretch routine it can help immensely. Try any of these if you feel pent up, stagnant, irritable or anxious — it works!
Clothing – Feminine energy is both light and dark and it’s important to embrace both sides of that. We can express this in part through the clothes that we wear, our make-up and accessories. Take a moment to think about your usual style. If you notice that you spend the majority of your time in dark colours, straight or rigid silhouettes, I challenge you to give softer fabrics and more flowing silhouettes a try. For example, cashmere or wool sweaters with a soft neckline, silky flowing blouses and skirts, soft pastel colours and pretty patterns work well too.
If you try this, pay attention to how you feel when wearing these clothes and colours. Also, try some skirts or dresses if you usually wear trousers or jeans, this will help you move away from the ‘restrictive’ feeling of trousers and into a more flowing/free feeling.
Practice receiving – Masculine energy is ‘doing’, ‘providing’, ‘controlling’ and sometimes even nurturing which may be surprising to hear, whereas feminine is a receiving energy that is ‘leaning back’ and ‘open’ and surrendered. Yet we’re so used to doing and striving and perfecting, I’m guilty of this too!
Check yourself and see how often you allow yourself to just receive – this could be through love, attention, energy — do you allow yourself to get filled up? For example, just letting someone help you or do something for you, tending to you, treating you, complimenting you — or you could treat yourself with massages, pedicures, manicures, a facial.
Notice if you feel uncomfortable letting someone do something for you — if they offer, do you usually default into declining or saying you’re fine and you can do it yourself, do you deflect compliments?…This is so common and instinctive to many women and yet deep down we glow when we get into ‘receive’ mode and just surrender and embrace being taken care of!
Those are some key things that can help you increase your feminine energy. Unfortunately, feminine energy is often considered the ‘less valuable’ of the two energies in western society. People are working and striving more than ever and de-prioritizing their enjoyment and just being.
Yet the truth is, one doesn’t outweigh the other. They are two halves to the same whole. They add to each other and balance each other out. Of course, the yin and yang symbol is the perfect representation of this!
An unbalanced masculine energy is all striving with no contentment. An unbalanced feminine energy is pure hedonistic, present-minded indulgence with no direction or goals in life.
So, my message to you would be to check in with yourself, be honest with yourself, have a long hard look at where you feel you lie on the masculine to feminine spectrum and then if necessary, find some ways to create more balance.