One of the most common misconceptions about learning to be a man is the idea that to become more masculine you must become less feminine. This often stops people from developing into the man they want to be because it’s an exchange that feels unnecessary in the pursuit of being a man. To explain this fully I’m going to get geeky, but I promise to try and make this as simple as possible. Stay with me. In our current model we relate to the masculine-feminine relationship by using a spectrum as shown below.
Using the spectrum model, if you were to put people on this line, it would mean that the more masculine they are, the less feminine they are. Take for example a guy named Jim. If we asked Jim’s friends to describe him they might say something like “he tends to be slightly more masculine than feminine” and they would place him on the spectrum somewhere to the left of center. Contrast that with Bruce, who’s friends would describe him as “very masculine, not very feminine”. We might place Bruce pretty far to the left of this spectrum.
The problem comes when we realize that people are not one-dimensional. Some men have the ability to be super masculine and super feminine. Where do they fall on the spectrum? Where do we put the dancer who can flow with music, create astonishing beauty and used to be a Navy SEAL? Where do we put the musician who, in his most tender moments will write songs that make people cry but who can also get on stage and control a room of 1,000 people with his confidence and presence?
The answer is, they have no place on this spectrum, because the spectrum model doesn’t tell the whole story. The spectrum works if we are talking about how people show up in the moment but it falls short of describing that person’s capacity to show up using his or her innate and developed masculine and feminine abilities. Below is my understanding of the way we relate to the masculine and feminine.
Using this model, the masculine and feminine abilities become more like lines of development. We can increase one without affecting the other, and often an increase in one will have a positive effect on the other as well. This graph shows the map of a typical American male. Although there are some rare exceptions, men will have a higher capacity for masculine ability and women will have a higher capacity for feminine abilities. Since the two poles can develop separately but each have their own unique strengths, our goal is to develop both our masculine and feminine sides to the highest level we can, and to suit the life we want to lead.
You can have it all. You can roar like a lion and purr like a kitten.
Everyone has both masculine and feminine parts and one without the other is useless. Much like our left and right brain working together, once we recognize the need for both a masculine and feminine essence in ourselves, we can achieve more, find greater happiness and get the most out of our natural gifts.