How Emotional Work Actually Strengthens Healthy Masculinity

Today I got an email from a woman that repeated a familiar question: In her message, I was asked how I balance my strong personal emphasis on and passion for working with feeling and emotion (which she categorized as feminine), with strong, masculine energy?

A little context: This woman had read a some of my work, and through that reading understood that I have spent many years diving deep into the study and practice of emotional processing, shadow work etc. 

She seemed genuinely concerned that I was out of balance - too feminine - because of my emphasis on deep inner work.

I shook my head a little bit, knowing where she was coming from - which is an oversimplified understanding of gender and emotionality - or masculine and feminine archetypes - that is suffused not just into mass consciousness, but into new age spirituality and alternative culture more broadly.

The truth is - and I speak from experience as a man who has undergone the process of reconnecting to his emotional body - the more connected to my emotions, energy or feeling sense that I am (and more importantly, the more that I listen to and embody these essential elements of myself), the more powerful and strong I am.

Like, really powerful and strong - in direct proportion to my connection to and healthy embodiment of these essential aspects of self.

The less connected I am to my essence - the more inauthentic and weak I am.

To be able to feel deeply and have the courage to step back, understand that feeling, then give it a conscious voice, is the heart of true power. It is the heart of authenticity, of being true to oneself, of being expanded and strong rather than collapsed and weak.

In my experience with relationships, there is often nothing more attractive than pure, graceful honesty. The ability to identify and say exactly how and what you feel - even if it isn’t necessarily nice or easy - seems to be one of the sexiest, most masculine traits. Lovers yearn for it, perhaps because such honesty is the only way we can ever truly know one another, and experience real intimacy.

By doing the work of discovering who we actually are at an emotional and psychological level, we’re laying the ground work for our true authenticity and power to blossom. By learning what our feelings mean and how to navigate them, we’re unlocking the strength, knowingness and direction that they hold. 

Of course there is a yin and yang to this work: the inner, introspective side, and then the outer aspect of holding and embodying our authentic self in the world. 

Both are necessary. 

The most powerful men and women I have ever known have also been the most sensitive, empathic and emotionally attuned people I have ever known. Again, the two are inextricably linked.

Of course there are cases where men and women focus solely on their inner work, and don’t learn to balance that with the embodiment of their feelings or truth in the playing field of their external life. Often, however, effective inner work leads to taking real embodied action in our lives - in other words it isn’t actually confined to the inner world.

I have to remind myself that this perspective does go against everything we’ve been socialized to believe about masculinity and power - that it isn’t through the stereotypical stoic suppression of our emotions that we find real strength, but through turning towards our profound, sometimes overwhelming emotional body that we find who we really are, and make it possible to embody a true, authentic power. A power that sometimes is accompanied by awkwardness, tears, vulnerability or pain and anger.

So, returning to the message I received that started this whole post - If I am asked how I balance my personal emphasis on emotional integration with more ‘masculine’ energy, fist I shudder at the question, and then I might say: The one feeds into the other. I work to embody my authentic self, by listening to my feelings, healing the parts of me that are frozen in pain, shame, or overwhelm, and pushing myself to fully own and hold my truth - with all of its tenderness and strength - in the complexity of this world.

For me, this process has been the greatest source of power and strength I’ve ever known.

Over to you: Any thoughts or comments you’d like to share? Leave a comment down below or shoot me a message, I’d love to hear from you!

Did you like this post, and want to dive deeper? My name is Miles, and I absolutely love working one on one with people - helping them learn how to study and process their own energy and emotion, and work with the wounds and lessons that are gateways to their greatest growth, power and wisdom. I would love to help you step into your truth, and invite you to learn more about me and my work.