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What is masculinity?

Having shared my definition of Femininity some time ago…I thought it was about time I also shared my definition of Masculinity.

So which is better, masculinity or femininity?

The important thing to point out when talking about masculinity and femininity is that neither one is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than the other – they’re just different. Polar opposites. Yin and Yang.

Trying to determine which is better is like asking which are better, Manolos or Choos…neither is any better or worse than the other…just different 😉

The other thing to remember is that every single one of us has both masculinity and femininity inside us. At our core we will feel more comfortable with one of these energies than the other, but they are both there, and they are both helpful to us in different situations.

I’m often asked where the name ‘Feminine 1st’ came from and what it means. It is simply a reminder for women who are more naturally feminine to be “Feminine 1st” and then to utilise the masculine traits that they have as and when it is appropriate for them.

What does using masculinity mean for a woman?

Utilising our masculine traits often requires the use of testosterone…and for us ladies that chemical is in relatively short supply. So when we stay in our masculine for long periods of time we drain our testosterone supplies which leaves us only one option…adrenaline. Running on adrenaline for any period of time leaves us feeling drained and can lead to burn out (which we’ve all experienced from time to time)…which is the reason it’s so important to be able to move back into our feminine whenever we can.

It’s not about being ‘only feminine’ or denying that the masculinity inside us exists. It’s just about being the way that is more natural to us for the majority of the time, being able to bring in and use the traits of the other energy whenever it’s right for us to do so and then move back to our natural position again.

Yin-YangRemember the Yin-Yang symbol…the feminine side has a small piece of the masculine inside it….and vice versa.

It’s this dance between the femininity and masculinity inside us which makes life interesting!

So what exactly IS Masculinity?

So in order to be able to recognise and utilise the masculinity traits that we have inside us, I’ve put together a little acronym to help us remember them: M.A.S.C.U.L.I.N.E.

  • M – Motivated – Masculinity is very driven. It’s about being strongly motivated and having the drive for achieving whatever the individual is focused on at any moment in time.
  • A – Assertive – Masculinity is very assertive….sometimes this assertiveness can show itself as being forceful, wanting to lead or be in control, but it comes from a place of strength and being purpose-driven.
  • S – Structured – Masculinity is very structured…often focusing on systems, processes and procedures to ‘get the job done’.
  • C – Competitive – Masculinity is very competitive. Competitive sports and environments are where the masculine thrives – the thrill of competition, winning, beating other people (not literally!) and ‘coming out on top’ feed the masculine energy.
  • U – Unwavering – Masculinity is very focused…and this focus is often completely unwavering. This can sometimes be perceived as being tunnel-vision or seeming blinkered…but this laser-focus means that the individual keeps their ‘eyes on the prize’ at all times.  The masculine energy has a strong sense of ‘purpose’, when a masculine person is working towards that purpose or mission they are completely unwavering in their approach.
  • L – Logical – Masculinity is very logical, and therefore sometimes can appear quite un-emotional. Rationalising, analyzing, problem-solving, deducing are all common masculine traits….we all know that masculine men have a tendency to want to ‘fix the problem’ more often than dealing with the emotion!
  • I – Independent – Masculinity is very independent. Whereas feminine energy tends towards community and connection (especially in times of challenge), the masculine is much more self-sufficient and will often cut themselves off, take time and space on their own to work through any challenges that they are facing.
  • N – Naturally Protective – Masculinity is naturally protective. The masculine instinctively protects and defends that which he loves and holds dear. This can sometimes be perceived as machismo, misogyny or jealousy…but it is instinctive for a masculine man and originates from a place of love.
  • E – End-Result Orientated – Masculinity focuses on the ‘end-result’. It is very goal-oriented and purpose-driven, always working towards an objective or outcome.

Quite often people look at the definition of masculine traits and perceive some of them in quite a negative way (competitive, independent, unwavering)…but it’s important to realise that each of these traits have a purpose and a use in different situations.

Recently I heard masculinity and femininity described in terms of a glass and body of water. The water is the feminine, flowing and nourishing and the glass is the masculine, structured and hard. In order to really enjoy drinking the water, you need the glass in order to contain it. It doesn’t change the water, it just gives it a container in which to flow. Sometimes you need a little structure in order to allow yourself to flow freely within it….to get the best of both worlds.

…and as always it’s about balance. Finding the balance of femininity and masculinity which is right for you.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

femininity single woman

Femininity for the Single Woman…

femininity single womanWhen you start focusing on your femininity, it can be a bit of a challenge.

If you’re in a relationship it can be tough to step back and give the man in your life space to step into the masculine role.

If you’re not in a relationship it can be even harder, as there is no-one there to take on those masculine traits and step into the space that you’re creating.

You’re independent.

You’re strong.

You’re used to handling everything yourself.

So when a man does come along, it can be very hard to step back and relinquish some control when you’re so used to doing it all on your own.

How can you prepare yourself to become a partnership, when you’re used to running the show by yourself?

The first step is to stop doing it all yourself.

I know that you CAN do it all yourself…but does that mean that you WANT to?

Allow yourself to let others help you, more specifically the men in your life.

Male friends, male family members…if you could use a little help with things, then ask for it. If you make them feel needed the men in your life will be more than happy to help out.

The other thing is to get used to relinquishing control.

Take up a hobby where you have to step completely into your feminine…and simultaneously allow a man to take the lead.

A great example is dancing…such as salsa or ballroom.

As a salsa teacher myself, I know that if both the man and the woman are trying to lead, it doesn’t work.

In order for salsa to flow, one partner has to take the lead, the other has to follow.

When salsa is at it’s best, the man is leading, the woman is following.

The man is the frame, the woman is the picture.

The man provides the structure, the woman provides the beauty.

It requires trust.

For the woman it requires a belief that the man will step forward and take the lead.

For the man it requires a belief that the woman will step back and let him take the lead.

As a woman and a follower it requires letting go of the control we’ve been used to and going with the flow.

It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that the man is doing all the work.  Definitely not.  It’s a dance, a balance.   When dancing women need to provide some strength, resistance and assistance to the process, otherwise it doesn’t work.  Likewise she needs to be signalling that she’s ready for the move that’s coming (because trust me…a quadruple spin if you’re not ready or paying attention isn’t likely to work out too well!!)

Both in salsa and in life, learning to follow can be a challenge when you’re used to taking the lead all the time. But when you step back and let it happen, it can be fantastic.

Sometimes though, in order to move things along quickly, the ladies decide that they are going to ‘help’. Unfortunately they do this by taking over the lead and doing it all themselves…and the guys just have to watch, then try to catch up.

If this happens, the man never learns how to lead, and the woman never learns how to follow….they’re both just going through the motions.

Have you ever been in a relationship which has felt like this?

Neither get to really experience and enjoy the dance…it either becomes a battle (with both sides trying to lead) or the roles end up the wrong way around with the woman ‘back leading’ the dance and the man trying to keep up.

One question I get asked regularly, both from a femininity point of view and from teaching salsa is “What if he doesn’t take the lead?”

You will see it more obviously with salsa, but it’s true in both situations.

The simple answer is that if you show that you are ready and want him to make the move and then you don’t move, when he tries to lead…then he will know that he’s not being clear enough with his lead.

Firstly, you need to indicate that you are ready, in a way that is clear to him, in order for him to understand the move is his (there are a number of different ways of doing this, both in dancing and in life).

Once you’ve done this, if he’s trying to lead you to do something on the dancefloor, and it’s just not happening, he’ll understand that he’s not being clear enough with the lead he’s making.

If this happens a few times, he’ll soon work out that he needs to really step forward and take the lead in order to get the result he wants.

It might take a little time, but if you really step back and give him the space to lead (and let him know that it’s OK that it doesn’t work first time!  Have a laugh about it with him, smile!), he will soon step forward and learn how to do it so that you can both get the results that you want.

…and when he does, the best thing to do is to encourage and support him.

He might not get it right the first time, but with the space and support of a great partner, you’ll soon be dancing beautifully together.

The dance is all about balance…and the best way to find the balance?  Play with it! Have fun with it! Try different things, see what works and what doesn’t.

As a single girl, doing a hobby like this regularly will mean that you will get used to stepping back and handing the lead over to someone else (specifically a man). Which will make doing it in life so much easier…

Plus you can get fit and have fun in the process…it’s win-win!

Oh and remember that you only have 2 days left of the exclusive Feminine 1st subscriber offer! Be sure to get in before the offer ends on Sunday, as I wouldn’t want you to miss out! 🙂  If you don’t have any clue what I’m talking about, then put your name and email address into the pink box near the top of the page and I will send you all the details…!

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

I'm fine

No thanks, I’m fine.

I'm fineHow many times a day / week / month do you say this sentence, or a variation of it?

It’s ok.

I’m fine.

I’ll manage.

It’ll be alright.

We spend our lives telling everyone else that we don’t need any help, assistance, guidance or support.

Often, when someone offers to help, the words of dismissal leave our lips almost before the suggestion has been made in full.

It seems that we are so used to proving to both ourselves and everyone else around us that “we can do it” and “we can cope” that we don’t even stop to consider the offer.

I feel we are so good at giving out and helping others…but not so great on the receiving front.

Well, the downside to that is that even the deepest of wells have a bottom at some point…and if you keep taking out, without putting back in, eventually it will be empty.

Us women are exactly like this. We give out, and out, and out, and out…but we forget that in order to have something left to give, we need to remember to replenish.

Receiving is a vital part of maintaining our feminine core…if we receive, we can continue to give.

Many years ago, I was the personification of the phrase “independent woman”. If something needed to be done, I could do it, I could handle it. There was nothing I couldn’t manage.

I would offer to help everyone else…with pretty much anything…but I didn’t like accepting help.

I didn’t want to put anyone out, or inconvenience anyone. I could do it….regardless of the fact that it might take me twice as long, or three times as much hassle.

When someone reminded me of two things:

If I kept giving out constantly…and never received…sooner or later there would be nothing left to give.

By not receiving myself, I was denying other people the pleasure of being able to give. Helping or doing something nice for someone else can really make your day…who was I to deny someone else that great feeling?

It was a major wakeup call.

I was chatting to a friend last week who was organising an event and having trouble finding a venue. When someone offered to help, her instinct was to say “No, don’t worry about it, I’ll manage”…when instead she found herself saying “actually, that would be great”.

Those 5 words saved her stress, hassle and extra workload which (given everything else that needed to be done) made a HUGE difference to her week.

The venue was sorted, and she didn’t have to worry about a thing…and the person who helped got to feel great about helping out someone they cared about.

It was a win-win situation…which wouldn’t have existed if she had insisted on proving that she could do it herself.

So the next time someone offers you help I’d like to ask you to be a S.T.A.R.

Stop – Stop first before saying anything. Be sure to respond to the offer they are giving you, not react to the fact that someone is trying to help.
Think – Think about what they are offering you. Would it help you? Will they feel good for being able to do it? Could you suggest a compromise which would work for you both?
Acknowledge – Acknowledge what they have said and thank them for their offer.
Receive – Receive the offer graciously.

If we all learned how to be stars…think how sparkly life would be! 😉

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x