YIN AND YANG
yin and yang practice yin and yang practice yin and yang practice
Society has made some strides from the days of, “Boys don’t cry” and “Girls wear pink”. The line that separates what genders can -or should- do is becoming smaller and smaller. But while many people have opened their minds and redefined gender expectations, we still have aways to go. Because the ultimate goal is to eliminate the line altogether and find a balance between them both.
This practice asks you to look at how you view the world through gendered glasses, and the ways we can break gender barriers in our own lives. Try not to see this as a challenge or threat to your identity, but as an invitation to open up other aspects of yourself. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the spectrum, there is always room to recognize and appreciate everything that makes you, you.
Begin by making a brief list or think about your current hobbies and interests. Then try to remember how you became attached to them. Have most of your activities come from your childhood? Or did you discover them during adulthood? Has someone recommended it to you recently? Or did you need a way to pass the time? The goal is to identify what makes you drawn to something.
Now consider any hobbies or interests that grabbed your attention over the years, but you never followed through with. Then think about why you never tried. Was it too time consuming or difficult? Were you afraid to fail? Did you want to stay close to your friends and their activities? Or were you worried about holding onto the way other people saw you? The goal here is to determine the reasons that held you back from discovering or furthering your interests.
At any point during this questioning process did the role of gender come up or play a part? Perhaps it didn’t, but without judging, really think about how you were raised. Did your parental figures offer options and support you in your choices? Were you able to pursue any activity, play with any toy, or wear any outfit you wanted? Or did family and friends prevent you from trying something different and new?
This practice isn’t meant to place judgment on anyone, but to really consider how we’ve been taught to see the world. So the last part of this practice is to challenge yourself to try something new. Whether it’s a sport you always wanted to play, trying out a dance class, taking a cooking lesson, or learning a craft, embrace your buried ambitions! And don’t let anyone stop or make fun of you for trying.
Once we unleash the expectation of who we should be, we can become whoever we want to be. Then we realize that there is no “girly” this or “manly” that. It becomes, “this” is what I love -no strings attached. When we begin to see our lives through this lens, we can let go of our expectations for others. Thus there’s no need to use gendered terms for hobbies, activities, or products. So do what you love and makes you, you, and allow the same for everyone else.
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