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Unlearning the Gender Wars


Unlearning—this is the major premise of every spiritual and religious path. And most of what we need to do to be happy and balanced and live an authentic life requires unlearning what society taught us.

Society, in general, is crazy.

You are not your body. You are not your job. You are not the roles you play (parent/writer/artist/banker/doctor/Indian chief).

And …

You are not your gender.

When it comes to the relationship between the genders, nearly everything must be unlearned. There is a false relationship we call the gender wars.

Society attaches a value to being a woman. Society attaches a value to being a man. These, of course, are false values. They have nothing to do with our worth.

Society teaches that we must lie and hide our true selves to be accepted by the other gender. But whether at home, work, or church, not being authentically who we are—creating false selves—only creates false relationships. (You call them real, but that doesn’t mean they are.)

Eventually, relationships expose lies and false selves. If we're not careful, we project blame onto others for the exposed lies. We attack others when we see the truth mirrored back to us: we are not who we claimed to be.

Men and women learn much from one another in this painful way: The false self declares we are unlovable—but we're loved anyway. The false self says mistakes are unforgivable—but we're forgiven anyway. We weave stories, claiming the nether regions of our inner lives are too painful to risk loving—then we risk anyway. All the while finding out who we authentically are.

A man balances and complements a woman. A woman balances and complements a man. The Divine, in infinite wisdom, gave us the perfect balancers for our energies: mutual strengths to share, learn, and grow. We learn this in relationships—if our relationships are respectful, nurturing, and honest.

The false self looks for completion in the other—this is toxic.

The true self is already whole and complete. The authentic self looks for balance with the other.

Society is out of balance because we are out of balance. We seek others to complete us, and when they fail (and of course they will), we turn to material things: food, shopping, drugs. Then that kicks the wheel of suffering around one more time. We identify with impermanence instead of what is eternal.

What would change if you remembered the other gender was a balancer?

What would you guard?

What would there be to fear?

Unlearn that another gender completes you. Unlearn that you have something to apologize for or defend. Unlearn that you're not enough—that you don’t have something equally powerful to add to the balance and flow of life.

Unlearn every crazy thing society has taught you. It’s not serving you or the world.


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Karen-Monroy · 2746 days ago
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  •  Marta: 
    Great post Karen
     2744 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
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  •  Robbie: 
    Amen! Unlearn indeed! It's pretty ironic, when you think of it... maybe soon there will be classes for "unlearning" since we all know that unlearning these ingrained aspects, from generations before and society can be like getting rid of dandruff! However... it is totally possible and thank you Karen for reminding us all to start (or continue) unlearning!! Fantastic post!
     2745 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
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  •  AnaLewis: 
    Using the word "war" seems like something we need to unlearn right away when it comes to genders. Make love not war, as the '60s proclaimed. :)
     2745 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
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  •  Elle: 
    I'm a big fan of that sentence: 'Unlearn...'
    I've spent most of my life unlearning what I've been told, shaking off labels...
    I don't like labels in general, be defined by gender, job...
    Why this need to label people anyway?
    Love your post
     2745 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
    0 points
  •  Karen-Monroy: 
    The Picture is of an authentic period bedroom from the Wentworth Mansion--I stayed in this room on a recent trip....somehow a bedroom picture seemed appropriate for this piece :-).
     2746 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
    1 point
Unlearning the Gender Wars