Balancing Your Feminine and Masculine Energies
Written by: the Editors of goop
Published on: July 19, 2018
Updated on: October 24, 2022
Reviewed by: Deganit Nuur
Illustration Courtesy of Anna Bu Kliewe
We bristle at the designation of certain qualities being inherently “masculine” (i.e., assertive, dominant) and others being “feminine” (i.e., intuitive, caring). What shifts that paradigm, though, is the understanding that those polarities can be completely divorced from our construct of gender and that we all contain myriad, often dynamic, combinations of both.
Deganit Nuur, a certified herbalist, licensed acupuncturist, and one of our favorite intuitives, knows this well. She’s witnessed the interplay of feminine and masculine energy in thousands of healing sessions, and she says they roughly fall into four personality archetypes.
The Four Divine Energy Types
Are you running too much masculine energy? Or a little too in touch with your divine feminine? What does that even mean?
I first learned of the divine feminine while studying acupuncture and Chinese medical theory. We call it “Greater Yin.” Yin refers to the feminine energies in life, and yang refers to the masculine energies in life. Giving is an action of our divine masculine, and receiving is an action of our divine feminine, and a balance of both energies is when we feel harmonious within. It’s simple, yet oddly challenging to achieve.
Of course, we’re talking about universal energies—although they’re commonly associated with gender, I am not referring to gender at all. We’re all born with both yin and yang energies; we all have the potential to lean more towards one polarity or the other.
After tens of thousands of healing sessions, I realize no one will ever attain a perfect balance of both energies. But we all present with a greater dominance of one or the other, and the below four classifications are a general guideline to assessing these energies—and using them to create harmony in your life and within. We’re each unique and special as we are, so you’ll likely relate to a majority of the listed attributes but not all of them, or you may find yourself resonating with multiple categories. Pick and choose what works best for you.
This is about as feminine as it can get. This energy is associated with stillness, nighttime, intuition, creativity, feelings, and senses.
IS THIS YOU? You feel it all. You feel things sometimes before actually understanding them. You have a bleeding heart and tend to side with the underdog. You may require more alone time than most. It’s possible others have called you “needy” or “sensitive” before. You may not necessarily be an introvert, but you likely exhibit introverted tendencies.
YOUR STRENGTHS: You’re great at getting vulnerable, honest, transparent, and authentic. It’s a beautiful thing! It’s nearly impossible for you not to be in integrity. You’re wise and pensive and have the ability to connect deeply with any person or situation. When your energies are in balance, most people feel special in your presence and that they’re totally seen, heard, and understood by you.
THE IMBALANCE: You’re such an empath, you can easily be an energy sponge and take on the energy of any environment you’re in. This can be very disempowering for you. You’re especially in tune with parts of the day that hurt your feelings. Even if just a few minutes of an entire twenty-four-hour period didn’t go your way, you’ll likely ruminate over those few minutes, rather than feel empowered by the entire glorious day you just had. It’s like your mind is being held hostage by your own feelings and cyclic thoughts.
Remember how the yin/feminine is stillness? Too much stillness can feel isolating and lonely and can lead to staying in unhealthy relationships (personal or professional) for too long. It can also be exhausting for your friends. While they love and value how real and vulnerable you are, they may start to feel responsible for your happiness and resentful of your sadness. They don’t want to pity you; they think far too highly of you for that.
TOOLS FOR BALANCING: Meditate, journal, sleep, nap, take time to yourself. Set aside time to feel your feelings. They’re your superpower. Cry just to cry, throw an adult temper tantrum, or dance it all out. The key is to set aside daily time for this practice and get ahead of the feelings. For you, feelings are like a portal to your intuition and internal navigation system. They offer you helpful feedback. When you don’t set aside enough time for them, that feedback may come in retroactively, as it can take you longer than most to process wtf just happened.
To use your feelings as foresight and not hindsight, create space for them. Try to schedule in twenty-minute blocks of sacred space once to twice daily: Mornings before work, an afternoon recalibration, or the evenings in between switching gears are all great times to tune in to you. We have a bunch of free meditations—the Separation Tool and Grounding Cord are perfect for you.
Giving will put you in action and offer you your power back. Give, volunteer, help a friend out, or practice random acts of kindness. Stop asking for advice and forfeiting your power to others and start turning to your intuition to empower yourself. When giving more and taking less, you’re elevating your energy from your second chakra—your feelings center, where insecurities are stored—to your heart chakra. Your heart chakra is your love, abundance, and compassion center, where unity, cohesion, and a sense of belonging happens. You’re going from isolation, worries, and problems to connection, confidence, and solutions.
The Lesser Yin is slightly more fluid: Composition ranges from 60 percent to 80 percent yin and 20 percent to 40 percent yang energy.
IS THIS YOU? In general, you’re pretty well balanced. You’re sensitive and curious and likely more creative than analytical and more introverted than extroverted. You’re self-aware, and you’re able to go with the flow. You may find yourself surrounded by more-dominant personalities that tend to take charge. Your process is all yours, sometimes slower than others, but it’s your journey of self-discovery, and you appreciate truly connecting with it. You’re enthralled by the process.
YOUR STRENGTHS: You create a safe space everywhere you go. You’re fluid with your feelings, allowing other people to explore theirs. You’ll often advocate for those who aren’t advocating for themselves—even if you don’t always advocate for yourself!
THE IMBALANCE: Rolling with the punches is rad, for as long as it’s making YOUR life easier. If it leads to too much self-sacrificing or self-abandoning, it’s going to catch up with you and eventually feel like bitterness, resentment, or like you’re being taken for granted. It’s okay to express your needs. They’re just as valuable and important as anyone else’s.
You may have a tendency to jump to assumptions and make up stories in your head, rather than asking for further clarification. Different strokes for different folks: Even if you don’t understand where a person is coming from (albeit pretty rare for you), try to take their words at face value and respect their way of being. Offer them a bit of credit as way of offering yourself some peace of mind. Let it go.
TOOLS FOR BALANCING: Creative projects are fun for you, as they can be just as insightful as they are productive. While you do value simply “sitting” with your feelings and having a meditation or journaling practice, you’re also into forward motion, resolutions, and measurable outcomes. The creative process can be a perfect mirror for your spiritual growth, whether you’re learning the choreography to your favorite song or making a new handmade coffee mug in a pottery class. Plan to get time for yourself and have something to show for it.
Give back to yourself, first and foremost. Carve out time for your creative endeavors, as well as some self-care time. You need both. The creativity will honor your yang, and the self-care will honor your yin. You’ve got a great balance of both, so honor it. Once you’ve replenished your well, give back to others. A little goes a long way in helping you acknowledge how powerful and significant you truly are and how much you’re capable of impacting change. This Running Earth and Cosmic Energy meditation is perfect for you.
Boundaries are also a big deal for you. Without them, your need for self-care may bleed into relationships and so you’ll get your feelings hurt a little too easily. Take space for yourself and take notice of how much easier your relationships get, how much less you actually “need” from them, and how much more you’re able to offer in them. Boundaries will also help you assess who gets to sit at your table—and who does not.
Now we’re moving into dominant Yang/masculine energy (60 to 80 percent). This type is a little more extroverted, active, and dominant, with a tendency to move through life at a faster pace.
IS THIS YOU? You’re open-minded and kindhearted. You expect a little more from life than most. You tend to be passionate and playful. You’re into being creative and dreaming big with a healthy understanding of pragmatics and limitations. You’re future-oriented and great at accomplishing goals without taking yourself too seriously or getting too bummed when the stars don’t align.
YOUR STRENGTHS: Everyone seems to be drawn to you. You’re curious and always learning and growing. You have this knack for finding the magic in people and experiences. You make life look easy! You have a lovely balance of fierce and flow with a great sense of adventure and a healthy work-life balance. There’s way too much life out there to discover to limit yourself to just one area of interest.
THE IMBALANCE: You’ve got a little extra yang (cosmic creation) energy in you, and if you don’t use it wisely, it will turn against you. Despite everything being great, you may feel trapped, stuck, or anxious. You may even feel ungrateful for all your blessings and sabotage a healthy job or relationship because it’s too peaceful.
TOOLS FOR BALANCE: Nurture your never-ending curiosity, innocence, sense of adventure, and desire for growth. Join classes; get into something new on the reg! I’m talking one or two new hobbies each year. Maybe it’s dance, a foreign language, leaning how to invest in cryptocurrency. Whatever it is, you will ultimately outgrow it and need something new. Plan for this so it doesn’t surprise or upset you.
Create a bucket list of all you wish to do in your lifetime and see how many of those you can accomplish each year. Add in some adventure and it will reduce the drama in your life. Prioritize it as self-care.
Just because you’re often the life of the party doesn’t mean it’s your social responsibility to go to every party. Just because others feel close to you doesn’t mean you’re obliged to reciprocate the feeling. You’re the kind of person everyone wants as a bestie. Do yourself a favor and be your own bestie first and choose other besties according to how much value they add to your life, not how much value you’re adding to theirs. You don’t have to be a slave to your own magic. Honor it with healthy boundaries and send your fans some psychic love.
This is as masculine an energy as it gets. Greater yang energy is assertive, goal-oriented, accomplished, and dominant. This energy is associated with daytime, activity, vision, and power.
IS THIS YOU? You’re a boss and you know it—everyone knows it. You’ve always been a natural leader. It’s likely the kids on the playground assigned you that role before you could even cognitively process the magnitude of your strengths. You’re a fabulous problem solver, you think big, dream big, and shift energy in a big way. You’d get bored otherwise.
YOUR STRENGTHS: You can hustle without feeling burned-out. You move mountains. You often save the day. You’re totally tapped into the bigger picture, and you’re fabulous at keeping your eyes on the prize. You’re all mind over matter, and what a beautiful mind you have! You likely have a pretty robust constitution and hardly ever get sick. (Though when you do get sick, it likely knocks you out.) You’ve been blessed with a little extra energy, motivation, and drive. You think fast, excel, and grow faster than most.
THE IMBALANCE: If you’re not already referring to yourself as type A, I’m sure others are. It’s easy for you to feel failed by or be disappointed in others. People may not even bother helping you out because they know you’ll do a better job than they will. They may get easily intimated by you and not share really relevant, important information that could be impactful to your relationship with them.
You know what you want, and you’ve got the energy and drive to make it happen, so you do. This hustle comes so naturally to you, but you likely aren’t giving yourself enough credit for all you do. It’s common for Greater Yang folks to overextend themselves and do all the things for all the people. You give too much and don’t receive enough. Even if another won’t complete the task as well as you would, let them do it and reserve your energy. You know you’ll have plenty of opportunities to exercise your power; save your energy for those that count the most.
TOOLS FOR BALANCE: Can’t nobody stop a star from shining! Lean into your strengths without apology or trepidation. The sooner you own that you’re a strong, benevolent leader, the easier it will be for others to follow suit and help you out. What’s cool about you is that while you were born with all this cosmic consciousness that has you totally winning in life, you’re also a sweetheart and not trying to win if it means others loose. Trust that everyone wins when you take control. It’s a position of great responsibility, and not for everyone.
Don’t be afraid to delegate, either: Let others pull through. Let them fail. Let it be a reflection of them and not you. Also, get comfortable watching people fall apart and make totally preventable mistakes. It’s the only way they’ll learn and grow into better versions of themselves and become better able to support you. Maybe it’s not that everyone else is so incompetent but it’s more that you’re ultracompetent. Before judging others or feeling let down, slow your roll. Take a moment to explain yourself and your expectations. Teach others how you work as way of inspiring them to rise. Repeat after me: “I am a great giver and an excellent receiver.”
Deganit Nuur is a spiritual teacher, clairvoyant, doctor of acupuncture, writer, and lecturer. Nuur teaches people across the globe how to hone their intuition and use it as a practical tool in daily life through her ongoing weekly telecourse in communication, NU IT; through her live workshops; and through retreats and corporate wellness initiatives. Private clairvoyant healing sessions are available primarily over the phone. In-person healing sessions are available exclusively at the Four Seasons hotels in LA and NYC.
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