The masculine grows by challenge, but the feminine grows by praise.
— David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
Not submissive. Not macho.
According to spiritual and sexual author and guru, David Deida, the feminine essence (which both men and women possess) refers to the part of us that is fulfilled by love, intimacy and relationships. The masculine essence (also possessed by both sexes) is represented by purpose, confidence and a drive to live our deepest truths and complete our specific mission. Even though the feminine and masculine exist in each of us, one of them dominates, much like introversion and extroversion. In general, men have more masculine attributes and women have more feminine.
At my core, I’m really feminine. Boatloads of praise and encouragement are the things that move me out of my safe, quiet (non)existence. It took direct comments like, You seem like someone who could do anything, and hundreds of affirmations regarding my writing to get me to believe in myself and dare to spearhead my life.
To me, introversion leans toward the feminine because it is receptive, observant and intimate. Although, introverts can be driven and deeply purposeful as well I always feel more extroverted when I’m proactively directing my life and fighting through obstacles.
In my opinion, praise only moves you if it applies to a characteristic or skill that intimately connects with your values, the deepest truths that you want to grow and show. For example, I received adequate commendations for my skills as a mother and household manager. My ex-husband often thanked me for planning dinners and keeping things organized. I sought and received approval for the way I scheduled kid activities and planned family visits. It was nice to be appreciated for my work, of course, but that kind of praise didn’t foster growth. In a way, it delayed discovery of my purpose.
Seeing your reflection for the first time
Eventually, someone saw me as valuable in the way I Ionged to be valuable. I was honored for thinking deeply, articulating my feelings and expressing my introverted and sensitive way of being. I felt truly seen and approved for the first time.
Eventually, several people praised me for these qualities.
I gravitated toward that praise. I bloomed in its light. It fed my spirit, gave me confidence, helped me become fully me. I began to trust myself enough to let the real me surface and reach out to others. Apparently, I needed to feel meaningful love in order to reflect it.
Revealing what was always there
I know true love and validation come from within you. No one can provide those for you forever. Somehow the powerful praise released what was always inside me. It melted the walls protecting my timid heart. It gave me the courage to be honest and vulnerable. It gave me the strength to live by my own code. It gave me a code, period.
I now know my calling is to be a voice for deeply feeling individuals. I know I have to express myself authentically and with verve.
The praise my feminine essence craved and received led to increased love in my life (more intense connections with family members and friends, an outpouring of care and empathy for space2live readers) and introduced the more masculine attributes of living purposely and growing through challenges.
I dare you to live with purpose
Now my masculine essence is in a growth spurt. Knowing your mission and climbing the mountain is damn hard. As an introvert, I get tired of being so outward and seek drinks of sweet praise to re-energize. I fail and flop and hurt other people’s feelings. I am getting real intimate with my shadow side (easily overwhelmed, a tad emotional, need for reassurance). I’m challenged daily to:
1. Create harmony in my home despite diverse and antagonistic personalities.
2. Manage and maintain a house by myself (I’m decidedly not a DIY kind of girl).
3. Care for children and extended family.
4. Make time to write and promote space2live.
5. Earn money doing what I know how to do.
6. Keep my body strong and healthy.
7. Figure out how to handle emotions and intense feelings.
8. Find a partner who praises my deep thinking, introverted and sensitive way of being… 😉
Most of the above feel like extroverting to me.
It seems our purpose is revealed and driven by praise AND challenges. Our growth, an alternating sequence of masculine, feminine, introversion and extroversion.
In this moment, are you looking for praise or a challenge? What is your purpose? How did you discover it?
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