After posting the past few days about the importance of the masculine being able to hold space for the fullness of the feminine expression, particularly at a time when the pain and plight of our planet (Big Mama) is so front and centre in our awareness, it also feels important to share the flip side of the coin and to empathise with the masculine perspective.
To recognise just how challenging it is to hold space for the feminine expression.
But before we go there, let’s first acknowledge that this is not a clear cut, black and white conversation (as good conversations rarely are). We all have both masculine and feminine within us, and we all likely mean very different things when using those terms. So to describe these polarities in words is inherently an oversimplification, a finger pointing to the moon, but perhaps valuable nonetheless.
Let’s first be clear that more often than not the feminine isn’t actually expressing her emotion.
She might be seething, or bitching, or complaining, or talking around it, but if it’s not also accompanied by the full expression of the corresponding emotion, then at some level, she’s bottling it up, shoving it down, minimising it, mitigating it, denying it, faking it, bypassing it, rationalising her experience, pretending it’s not there, judging herself for it, forcing her voice or demeanour up out of the experience, putting on a smile, trying to be “conscious” about it, second-guessing herself, or silently gritting her teeth through the discomfort.
In those circumstances (as you may have noticed) the incongruence can be challenging, exhausting and entropic if navigated for any extended period of time, leaving you tip-toeing and withdrawn. And the unexpressed (often unfelt) emotion can end up coming out as her making sideways jabs, starting arguments, being indirectly manipulative, walking on eggshells, anxiously talking, trying to “make everything okay,” being passive aggressive, and not receiving your direction/leadership.
After a consistent period of that kind of interaction you can probably count on your intimate connection suffering as the juicy polarity in your relationship fades and your sexual connection dries up, becomes predictable, mechanical or decidedly routine.
So at least there’s a compelling case to be made for allowing the feminine to fully express her emotion.
But seemingly only if you’re attached to or invested in her.
If you’re not married, sexually intimate, co-parenting, co-habiting or in business together…..
Why would you?
Because even when you are attached to or invested in her, for the most part, emotional expression from the feminine can feel time-consuming, frustrating, draining and even exhausting.
And being hit by an emotional freight train from her can seriously impact your being.
It typically takes you out of flow and can feel like it an emotional bomb being dropped in your space.
It’s seemingly unskillful, often hard to find sexy and totally socially unacceptable.
In the traditional Game A sense it’s utterly unproductive and non-generative.
In fact, sitting there listening can feel a lot like being held hostage to a seemingly self-indulgent and pointless rant.
And even with the best will in the world, it’s hard not to get short tempered, impatient, irritable or infuriated by it (especially if you’re trying to focus and get something done).
So, we don’t blame the masculine for wanting to zone out.
Or go numb.
Or to dip out and lose himself in something fun or creative or productive.
It’s so much easier to avoid it, label it as hormonal/some-kind-of-crazy, refuse to entertain it, or try to control how it comes out.
Especially if the feminine is making you wrong or projecting or judging that you’re the bad guy in the process (which so many of us are prone to do when the emotion is cascading out).
Because who wants to be on the receiving end of that?
To feel unappreciated or shamed or belittled or judged.
Because even if she doesn’t intend that with her words, even if what she’s saying isn’t actually about you at all, it can be hard not to take it personally.
Or not to be reminded of your mother or your ex-.
You may be wondering, is the masculine seriously just expected to sit there and take it?
Not give constructive feedback or try to fix it?
Not get defensive, point to all the ways she’s being ridiculous, or fight back?
But simply sit back and receive it?
And, further, to open your heart and empathise with her (meaning feeling WITH her, as if everything she’s saying is true, without collapsing or bouncing out), knowing that she’s simply in a process with emotion that needs to move through?
Allowing whatever she says that hits up on something uncomfortable inside of you to dissolve those parts of your ego, without needing to share your impact or defense in the moment?
We know it’s not easy.
Believe us when we say that WE GET IT.
We’ve had ALL of the same challenges ourselves, as women.
Even these past few days we’ve had encounters with women wanting space to be held for them and (because they’re not actually expressing the emotion) noticing ourselves dip out to get back to work, or check out because it’s so exhausting.
We’re not saying we’re good at it yet either.
But what we ARE saying is that it’s something that is vital for us to be willing to GET GOOD AT if we’re going to becoming increasingly anti-fragile in order to navigate through the current challenges we face. If we collapse in the face of a little emotional intensity, how can we possibly expect to navigate as life intensifies in this period of existential crisis and impending chaos?
And we’re also not saying that feminine emotional expression is always useful.
Sometimes our egos are firmly online, being childish, or bitchy, or bratty, engaging in power struggles and attention-seeking.
We, like you, have eons of cultural conditioning thwarting our emotional expression. And have to learn what true emotional expression — the useful kind — looks like.
So there are no hard and fast “rules.” Sometimes the masculine needs to take a stand, and sometimes a reframe can help once the emotion has moved. And sometimes it takes a load of the unuseful kind of feminine expression to clear out the floodgates for the more useful kind to emerge.
But if we’re going to stand any chance of traversing the invisible terrain between Game A and Game B, we’re going to need to cultivate this skill, not just between the masculine and feminine in men and women, but also between the masculine and feminine in same sex relations and within our own being.
To create a space of receptivity for all those with a genuine need to express their pain to be felt and received so our individual and collective trauma can be alchemized, the polarities threaded, and the co-creation of a more beautiful world possible.
And to bring a more personal light to the end of the tunnel, when the feminine learns to express her true depth of emotion, and the masculine learns to truly receive her, it ACTUALLY FEELS GOOD, enlivening, for both of them. Emotional closeness, sexual intimacy, creative inspiration, and passionate polarity all increase. The release is palpable, the space lightens, the newness refreshes.
As the feminine finally feels safe.
And the masculine finally feels trusted.