For many, the concept of Yin and Yang evokes images of the well-known symbol of duality. For others, it sounds like an eastern philosophy they might have heard of in passing. But the truth is that the essence of these words, and the balance between them, is a critical player in the fabric of our society and our individual emotional experiences.
The Truth About Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang are terms used to describe the dual energies, or principles, that exist in us as humans. There are also other, and possibly more familiar, ways for describing these dualities, such as: masculine & feminine energy, being versus doing tendencies, and left & right brain characteristics.
Whatever name you use for them, the Yin and Yang principles remain critical components of all human beings, and they are something we all need to understand in order to reclaim our rightful balance.
They can often be better understood in terms of their “personality traits” as energies. Here is a list of some of the characteristics and behavioral expressions of the Yin/Feminine and the Yang/Masculine principles. Though lengthy, this list is by no means exhaustive:
|Reaching Out||Taking In|
|Focus on self||Relationship oriented|
|Purpose driven||Emotion driven|
|Fact Driven||Intuitively Driven|
|Seeks Certainty||Values Curiosity|
Masculine Versus Feminine Energies
Keep in mind that, although we use the terms masculine and feminine, the energies have nothing to do with gender. In fact, these dualities are truly gender-neutral principles. Because we are born into bodies with different sexes, there are gender roles that have been ascribed by our culture and are now aligned with the division of the masculine and feminine energies.
But culture is man-made; it is simply a construct. Our culture divided the masculine and feminine energies into two distinct and separate categories, then attributed the masculine energy traits to those born into male bodies and the feminine energy traits to those born into female bodies. Hence, the division of the energies into gender-typed categories.
Truth be told, we are all born with equal parts masculine (Yang) and Feminine (Yin) energy. They are the opposing principles that work together to create a balanced whole, and in an ideal world, our feminine and masculine principles work together in harmony. Regrettably though, culture has incorrectly taught us that we only have access to one half of our total range of experiences.
For example, baby boys come into the world feeling a wide range of emotions and expressing them with ease. They love cuddles and closeness, and they yearn for nurturing. Alternatively, baby girls are born into the world with access to anger and no hesitancy in screaming loudly to indicate they want their needs met. But, over time, culture expectations overruled these innate tendencies, and the gender division of energies occurred.
That’s right; all babies have temperament and preference, but that has nothing to do with their sex. And yes, we know there are differences in the male and female brain, hormones, and anatomy, but the expression of the range of human principles is not limited to sex at all. Within the construct of gender, we are taught to choose certain principles over others. This isn’t something we are born knowing; it is taught.
Rebalancing Yin and Yang Energy
Despite what culture has seemingly set in stone for us, these energies can and should be balanced. To start, I invite you to look back at the list of the Yin and Yang principles, and ask yourself:
- What principles do I prefer?
- What are my judgments about these principles?
- Which of them seem to come naturally for me?
- What qualities do I wish I could embrace, but I fear how others would judge my choice?
- What principles do I seem to find difficult, both in myself and others?
- Do I have an imbalance of these in my own life? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Finding balance isn’t about being perfect. To be honest, I’m not sure that we ever reach a consistent state of absolute balance. Actually, I’m pretty sure we never do. But awareness of what principles we tend to rely on and an effort to embrace their opposites can help us to feel more balance in our lives, and that is a huge part of healing patterns of disconnection that harm us.
Interested in getting curious and working to restore balance in your own energies? Download my free balancing tool today!