Tips for Balancing Masculine and Feminine Energy

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Laws Of Human Nature" by Robert Greene. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

Like this article? Sign up for a free trial here.

Why is balancing masculine and feminine energy important? How can balancing these energies improve your life?

Balancing masculine and feminine energy can help you control your own behavior, both on your own and in groups. These energies are both equally valid and important.

Keep reading to find out how balancing masculine and feminine energy works.

Control Your Own Nature: Balancing Masculine and Feminine Energy

Now that we have a better sense of our repressed masculine or feminine traits, it’s time to look at how to stop repressing and find balance. One good way to do this is to try to use both masculine and feminine approaches when it comes to thinking, taking action, self-assessing, and joining a group.

Throughout history, men have been the ones to define gender roles and their relative values. According to men, the masculine methods of doing things were correct, and the feminine methods were irrational and weak. This resulted in women thinking that to be equal meant being more like men. However, both approaches are equally valid in all circumstances. Balancing masculine and feminine energy is undoubtedly good for you.

Here are some comparisons between styles of:

Thinking

Masculine thinking is linear and focuses on categorizing things, analyzing individual parts, specializing, and discounting emotion. 

Feminine thinking tends to focus on context and how things are related to each other. It takes the senses and emotions into account.

Most people gravitate towards one approach or the other, but the most successful thinkers use both approaches and work on balancing masculine and feminine energy:

  • Example #1: Anthropologist Margaret Mead lived with indigenous cultures to understand what they were like and also used abstract models.
  • Example #2: Businessman Warren Buffett considers intangibles, such as employee relationships, as well as statistics when considering buying a company.

To create this balance in yourself, try whatever approach is the opposite of what you usually do. For example, if you’re a masculine thinker, try to pay attention to your intuition. If you’re a feminine thinker, focus on a specific problem.

Action

Masculine action is to attack and overcome obstacles, often independently. 

Feminine action is to take a step back and analyze all the possibilities, one of which might be a way to win without fighting. In the West, this style is often seen as weak, but in other cultures, it’s wise.

  • For example, when Spain launched its armada towards England, Queen Elizabeth I chose to assess the situation before doing anything. When she realized that the weather could destroy a lot of the Spanish ships for her, she concentrated on slowing the armada’s advance so that the storms would destroy it.

To work on balancing masculine and feminine energy in yourself, again try whatever approach is the opposite of what comes naturally. For example, if your style is masculine, don’t act right away. Consider how all the players involved will react. If your style is feminine, make sure that when you avoid conflict, it’s strategic, not because you’re scared of confrontation. Practice confrontation in every day, low-stakes situations. Don’t consider the other person’s feelings, don’t be deferential, and be aggressive.

Self-Assessment

Masculine self-assessment tends to involve grandiosity (overestimating abilities, taking credit for all successes, and blaming others for failure). Men have trouble learning from failure or asking for help when they encounter a problem. 

Feminine self-assessment tends to involve inward focus. Women find it easy to ask for help and attribute their success to a group effort.

To create this balance, men should try looking for their own role in failures and others’ roles in their successes. They should also try to get a more accurate picture of themselves—if they’re not as great as they think, they’ll be motivated to actually improve. Women should let go of past criticism, which might make them less inclined to try new things. They should also try not to take things personally.

Group Behavior

Masculine group behavior includes forming a hierarchy and trying to get as close to the top as possible. Leaders emphasize goals and results.

Feminine group behavior includes considering the feelings of everyone in the group. The process is just as important as the results. 

Men should try the feminine approach, and women should occasionally stop listening to others and expel the negative people in the group. 

Extended Example: Caterina Sforza

Italian noblewoman Caterina Sforza was born in 1463 and grew up in a castle with her father and stepmother. Unlike most girls of the time, she developed both her feminine and masculine sides and stepped outside gender roles, which would have dictated that she become a mother and wife, religious devotee, or a courtesan. Instead, she became a ruler.

Caterina turned out balanced partly because she had a lot of freedom and male influence during her childhood. She adored her father, who was also fairly gender-balanced. (He was fearless, powerful, diplomatic, artistic, fashionable, and moved to tears by choral music.) She came to share many of his interests, and he had her tutored in military history, sword fighting, and hunting, which helped her develop her animus. 

When Caterina’s father was murdered, she moved to Rome to live with her husband, Girolamo. Everyone in Rome was fascinated by her because she was so well-rounded and unconstrained—she was fashionable, well-read, caring, and influential. It fell to her to gain the pope’s favor and secure her family’s position because her husband was too weak and hotheaded. 

When the pope died, Caterina and her family were in danger because they’d lost their only protection. Girolamo was technically still in control of the papal armies until the new pope was elected, but he was too indecisive to make a call. Caterina took over even though she was seven months pregnant. She snuck into the city and took over Castel Sant’Angelo, which had enough firepower to block the roads leading to the Vatican. The cardinals couldn’t gather to elect a new pope until the cannons were pointed elsewhere, and after 11 days, they were forced to negotiate with Caterina, who wore armor and a sword over her dress. 

Caterina continued to use a mix of feminine and masculine styles to maintain power and manage her enemies. For example, when mercenary Cesare Borgia attacked her castle, she first tried to avoid a conflict by trying to trap him on her drawbridge by flirting with him. When that didn’t work, she turned to the more masculine method of sword fighting. This is an example of balancing masculine and feminine energy.

Tips for Balancing Masculine and Feminine Energy

———End of Preview———

Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Robert Greene's "The Laws Of Human Nature" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Laws Of Human Nature summary:

  • Why it's in your nature to self-sabotage
  • How you behave differently when you're in a group
  • Why you're wired to want the wrong things in life

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *