This inquiry appeared in my feed recently:
Dear healers, coaches and personal development folks,
Can someone explain to me EXACTLY how healing your own inner masculine attracts healthy men into your life?
Just an explanation in real laymen terms.
I want to call bs but maybe just maybe I’m missing something here. It’s been known to happen. 😅
P.S. Hopefully I haven’t pissed off all of you and someone can give me a clear answer.
I’ve written before about why I no longer use “masculine” and “feminine” in my teaching and coaching. But I am fluent in that languaging if that’s what someone is using. This person legitimately had a question and I felt deserved a thoughtful answer, not a lecture on the failings of the masculine/feminine paradigm.
Her prompt had drawn quite a few unsatisfylingly circular or self-referential responses. Followed by the inevitable nonsensical arguing in the threads.
Here’s how I responded:
If someone is timid they will both admire and resent assertiveness in others.
If they struggle with structure and consistency they will both rely on and bristle at structure and consistency imposed from others.
If they only know softness and are disconnected from their strength they will be initially attracted to, and end up resenting and hating, others’ strength.
If they’re incapable of providing for themselves they will love being provided for and eventually come to hate the cage they’ve created for themselves.
Polarity is important in relationship but over-reliance on a partner’s positive qualities as a human being to stay weak in developing those qualities within oneself leads to problems.
(Think about how an emotionally developed woman will lose interest in a strong masculine man who constantly tries to outsource his emotional wellbeing to her and refuses to cultivate his own emotional intelligence.)
In short, “masculine” and “feminine” are buckets into which people categorize a variety of healthy human traits, most of which EVERYONE needs in order to be happy, high functioning, full fledged, well rounded human beings.
Of course you want a partner with those traits. But in a long-term relationship, if you use that to stay undeveloped in those areas yourself the relationship will ultimately suffer. I see this all the time.
People who have a rocky internal relationship to a healthy positive quality they lack, will develop a love/hate relationship with others who are strong in that quality.
I think questions like this are a good example of why you really have to get down to the bedrock of what these words mean, if you want to get anywhere. In other words you have to step out of masculine/feminine languaging to talk about it meaningfully.
(Note that I deliberately didn’t question her premise; I just focused on answering her question as she posed it.)
Something to try: the next time you’re tempted to use “masculine” or “feminine” in a sentence, take a moment to identify the specific behaviors, thought patterns, or ways of being that you’re using those words to refer to, and instead, talk about those qualities or behaviors directly. I’d love to hear whether it improves or degrades the discussion. Let me know in the comments.
Previously Published on Medium