There are certain characteristics that society tends to view as feminine, and others as masculine.
But the truth is that we all have inside of us a mixture of these stereotypical qualities, regardless of our gender.
Rather than be linked to one sex or another, it can be more helpful to think of them as merely the yin and yang of life.
So-called masculine traits take on the more forceful yang energy, whilst so-called feminine traits are the softer yin side of the coin.
Sadly, all too often the power of this energetically softer side of human nature can be overlooked or downtrodden.
In short: We mistake softness for weakness.
But as we’ll see in this article, so many so-called feminine traits make you stronger, not weaker.
1) Being flexible in your approach
I’m not talking about your yoga moves here or being able to touch your toes.
Instead, I mean emotional and mental flexibility. Being able to change and adapt to what the situation demands of you.
Compromise is an incredibly valuable tool.
Far from being a weakness, compromising can ensure that you are able to go with the flow of life.
People who are extremely rigid in their way of thinking can often be seen from the outside as strong-minded.
But the truth is that stubbornness can all too often hold people back.
You’re more open-minded to new opportunities when you take a flexible approach. You can learn from different perspectives.
According to research, adaptable people not only create better relationships but tend to be better leaders and respond better in a crisis.
2) Favoring collaboration and seeking support
Asking for help and getting support is still viewed by many as a sign of weakness.
Research has found men are less willing to seek help and downplay their physical and mental health symptoms. That’s largely because they associate a psychological or emotional problem with shame or weakness.
But this unwillingness to embrace traits seen as more feminine by society can really go against us, as noted in The Conversation:
“A meta-analysis of 78 studies of about 20,000 participants revealed that men who conform to typical masculine norms, for example never relying on others and exercising power over women, suffered more psychiatric symptoms than others, including depression, loneliness and substance abuse. They also felt more isolated, lacking social connections to others.”
The reality is that leaning on one another is part of the human success story.
This collaboration is what has kept our species at the top of the food chain for so long. Being “strong enough” to go it alone goes against this principle.
Collaboration and community are where the real strength lies.
3) Valuing kindness and compassion
There is so much power to be found in caring.
But one of the problems is that kindness and weakness can all too often get mixed up.
Some people mistake or mislabel certain behaviors as kind when actually they come more from a place of weakness.
Being taken advantage of or being downtrodden has nothing to do with excess kindness. It’s got everything to do with having poor boundaries or low self-esteem.
Kindness is then used as a scapegoat for what is actually feebleness.
And I don’t say that to be cruel. Simply to highlight that real kindness doesn’t put us at a disadvantage in life.
It doesn’t mean putting our needs or wants last, letting people walk all over us, or refusing to stand up for ourselves.
It simply means being friendly, generous, tolerant, considerate, and decent.
Showing others kindness takes absolutely nothing away from you. In fact, quite the opposite.
It’s been shown to make you more attractive, help you build stronger relationships, make you feel good, improve your health, give life more meaning, be good for business, and has even been linked to a slow down in the aging process.
4) Using your intuition and gut feelings to guide you
We’ve all heard of so-called women’s intuition.
But the reality is that we all have access to these gut feelings.
Far from being mystical, this inner knowing is actually quite scientific. As explained in Quartz:
“The human mind is wired to see patterns. Not only does the brain process information as it comes in, it also stores insights from all your past experiences. Your intuition has been developing and expanding for as long as you’ve been alive. Every interaction, happy or sad, is cataloged in your memory. Intuition draws from that deep memory well to inform your decisions going forward.”
Under the right circumstances, intuition can help people make better decisions.
But we have to be tuned in and cultivate greater self-awareness in order to tap into these subtle cues we receive.
Otherwise, we may miss or dismiss them.
5) Taking the sensitive approach (instead of being a bull in a china shop!)
Every empath will most likely tell you that it’s true being deeply sensitive can have its drawbacks.
When you feel everything intently, it can be emotionally exhausting or overwhelming at times.
But that certainly doesn’t make sensitivity a weakness. Because so much positivity blooms from having a sensitive approach in life.
Things like emotional intelligence, creativity, passion, empathy, and more.
In most situations, the reality is that a little tenderness goes a long way. A softer approach can be just as effective in life as a bullish one.
As the saying goes: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Sadly, showing our emotions can still be discouraged. We may feel obliged to put on a brave face or swallow our feelings down.
For example, how many of us have apologized for shedding tears?
I know I have, many times.
It’s as if somehow getting upset is inappropriate. Or perhaps we’ve just been led to believe it’s a show of weakness.
But the ability to express ourselves and be mindful of others’ feelings really does make sensitivity a superpower when it comes to building stronger relationships.
This is ultimately how we bond and build trust. And never underestimate how important that is for your success too.
The more easily you can forge connections, the easier it is to get ahead.
Of course, being able to show our sensitivity often requires the next trait on our list.
6) Being vulnerable in your interactions with others
Let’s be real:
Vulnerability feels hella scary for most of us. But that’s exactly the reason it requires true strength.
Because we all fear getting hurt, worry we may be rejected, and are nervous that people will use what we say against us.
By its very definition vulnerability is about being exposed. So no wonder we so often misread that as a weakness.
But there’s an important difference.
Because showing vulnerability is calculated exposure.
We decide to reveal our truth, we consciously show up with sincerity and let others see the real us.
And we do so because the risk of exposure is ultimately worth the gains.
Because we can’t have it both ways.
We cannot build a protective wall around ourselves AND stay open.
Hiding ultimately blocks us from creating authentic connections with others. And that cuts us off from a sense of belonging that is fundamental to our human nature.
It is vulnerability that deepens our emotional, physical, and mental intimacy with others.
7) Showing patience when faced with frustrations
Of all the traits on our list, this is the one I really want to work on the most.
Life can test our patience on a daily basis.
It might be the slow driver in front of you when you’re in a hurry. It could be your child who flat-out refuses to go to bed.
I don’t know about you, but for me, losing my shit is a tempting option at least several times a day.
But when you think about it, our own impatience doesn’t ever fix things. It just has a habit of ramping up our own suffering.
Sometimes it might seem like the more demanding we get, the more people will pay attention to our gripes.
Certainly, there are times when assertiveness is required. But there are plenty more times when patience is what is really needed.
And it’s not just when it comes to our relationships that patience is a strength. It goes for our goals too.
There’s no getting away from it, some things take time. Patience gives us the staying power to go the distance.
It is patience that can give us the inner strength to navigate obstacles and work through challenges without giving up or letting our emotions get the better of us.