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Male and Female Differences and Strengths - The Yin Yang Perspective
by Felice Dunas, Ph.D
The most fundamental essential philosophies behind Oriental history, culture, religion, government and business is Yin Yang theory. This is one of the oldest cosmologies in all of human thinking. People have been using this understanding of life for over 5000 years. We don’t know its true historical timeline as archeological evidence can document only around 5000 years at present. Yin Yang theory works with the premise that all of life stems from a point of perfect balance. On either side of that balance you have the left and the right, the wet and the dry, the night and the day, the female and the male, the negative and the positive, multi-faceted focused, single goal focused, etc. According to this theory, everything that you can think of can be placed somewhere on the yin or yang aspect to the line. Behavior, time of day, seasons of the year, kinds of food, colors, everything! Yin is the capacity to be receptive. Yang is the capacity to be creative. Yin/Yang is the concept of duality. Yin and Yang are compliments and opposites in life. This is a vast topic and I am only touching upon it here. If you wish to learn more about Yin and Yang energy and how they influence people and their relationships, consider reading Passion Play, a book that I wrote on the subject.
Women’s bodies are more Yin and men’s bodies are more yang. Women get unhealthy when they are not good at being receptive, because they are not utilizing their primary energetic trait, which is receptivity. Men become unhealthy when they do not utilize their gifts of contribution and creativity, which are their primary energetic traits.
When a woman is spending most of her life force, her vitality and time, giving to others, she is going to end up sick, weak, unhappy and, eventually, unproductive. Yin energy moves from the outside in towards the self. Mothering, which takes up decades of our adult lives, is, in large part, about contribution. It’s about giving in creative, structured ways. These are more Yang oriented activities. They are not about receiving. From my medical perspective, it is imperative that a woman put herself in situations that allow her to receive support from others during her mothering years. She needs loving kindness, she needs others to do favors and tasks for her, she needs to receive praise for what she does. She needs to be taken care of if she is going to be good at taking care of others. If there is no balance, if a woman becomes a chronic giver, or as I call her, a giveaholic (pronounced give-a-holic as in alcoholic with the addiction being to self sacrifice), her body will break down and she will become more masculine. Her relationships will suffer, especially her relationship to a man who needs to be more masculine than she is. Her spirit will suffer, her kids will not get the benefit of learning about healthy femininity and she will feel like she is “loosing herself”. This is happening to so many women.
When a man is “self oriented” rather than “other oriented”, when he puts emphasis what is given to him rather than on what he contributes to others, when he is silent and avoiding of his woman’s aggressiveness, “wimping out”, so to speak, he is not utilizing his primary strength. Yang energy moves from the self outward in direct, goal oriented ways. When a man behaves in a childlike way, (women often call their husbands the “other” child) when he doesn’t take a stand for his creativity, his vision, his beliefs or his drives, he sacrifices his yang nature, his greatest truth. Unfortunately, men are given very mixed messages by women who want both a strong hero and a girlfriend-like partner to chat and vent with. Men have been labeled brutish in their sexuality and lack of emotional expression but are also being criticized for expressing weakness or emotionally vulnerable. Self sacrifice and accomplishment are good for men and they would be wise to devote themselves to pursuits’ that enable them to give and to feel the joy of surmounting challenges in reference to giving. Men need to know they have impact, influence and positive effect on others. They need to leave their mark, to have made a difference. Too many men do not recognize the value of behaving in inherently masculine ways. The more feminine they become, the sicker their bodies and the weaker their sprits. The more they execute and complete with success, the better for everyone.
Learning to live within your foundational strengths will allow for greater physical health, deeper intimacy and more pleasant relationships!