The pitfalls of living in a patriarchal society are never far from our newsfeeds at the moment, whether it’s the debate around abortion control, the gender pay gap, or the “Me Too” movement.

I wonder, though, how many of us are aware of the more subtle ways that our society’s cultural focus on masculine energy affects us as women.

How often have you felt the need to “soldier on”, to declare to the world that you’re “fine”, even when mentally or physically you are anything but fine? How often have you suppressed trauma or physical illness, pushed by the feeling that you’re expected to power through?

That’s just one of the drawbacks of living in a patriarchal culture — soldiering on when far more benefit would come from listening to that feminine energy within us that whispers, “wait; you need to rest and reflect for a while before you continue…”

Instead we hold on to our stresses, whether they come from individual trauma or from the collective trauma we all experience as women. We allow these stresses to dampen our power and our creativity, to stop us taking risks, and prevent us from recognizing the value of our contributions.

How do you harness your feminine energy?

So how do you overcome this? How do we push back against the over-reliance on masculine energy in our society tap in to the immense but overlooked pool of feminine energy that each one of us possesses?

The first step is to tune in to your body, or more specifically, your uterus.

This is the center of our energy, our creativity, and our power. Yet so often we ignore what our uterus is trying to tell us. We accept monthly (and sometimes constant!) symptoms as inevitable — we pop a painkiller and yet again, we simply power through. We’ve normalized pain and symptoms around our menses to the point that we fail to even question what’s happening in our bodies.

When it comes to menopause symptoms, for example, researchers have found a huge cultural divide: in societies where women are revered for their wisdom and experience as they age, they experience much milder symptoms, whereas physical and emotion symptoms are far more debilitating for those who live in cultures where older women are considered to be “past their best”. It’s a perfect example of how we’ve subconsciously been swayed by the patriarchy, and how an overabundance of masculine energy can drown out the feminine energy we need to thrive.

Instead of accepting our monthly or menopausal symptoms as par for the course, we need to view them as clues to unlocking the stress and trauma we’re carrying around and in doing so, seek to remove the symptoms altogether. Again, the patriarchy screams, “suck it up, it’s hereditary, learn to live with it”. The feminine energy allows and encourages reflection to find a sense of how to remedy the problem.

Don’t get me wrong — this isn’t an anti-man, anti-masculine energy rant. I’m not saying we need to start burning bras and yelling, “down with the patriarchy” at every opportunity. What we do need though is balance. We need to acknowledge when that masculine energy serves us individually and as a society but we also need to know when to say, “enough”. We need to consider when to tap in to our feminine energy and the power that it brings us. Whatever gender we identify with, mentally, physically, emotionally, the key to healing ourselves and the world around us is to find a healthy balance of masculine and feminine energy.