“Be a man!” the little league coach shouts to the boy, as he limps off the field in pain; “How’s my little man today?” croons a mother to her baby. “You’re such a girl,” a bully says to a frightened eight year old boy he’s pushing around.
What messages do we give our little boys about what it means to be male?
As a hypnotherapist, I have the opportunity to observe what beliefs reside in the subconscious mind of my clients, and one of those things is how they feel about gender. My process is to take clients back to the the source of their problem or troubling patterns using the hypnosis technique called Regression Therapy. Frequently this process takes people into childhood memories, but sometimes they report going further back into what we consider to be their past lives—finding stories that help illuminate their present struggle.
What has this to do with “real men?” Research by regression therapists suggests that we reincarnate as one sex or the other in about equal amounts (with variations along the gender spectrum within those sexes). Here’s what is interesting. When a woman goes back into past lives she will just as easily report—even when she is surprised—finding herself in the body of a man or a boy, as in a female one— and this happens about 12 out of 30 lifetimes reported by them.
Men on the other hand report male lifetimes at a ratio of about 29 out of 30. The rare men who do find themselves in a body of a girl or woman, mostly seem embarrassed by it, and can barely spit out a description of what they are wearing. Little shoes, and a dress, I guess. Even though that little girl probably loves her new Mary Janes, her white socks, and pink dress with ruffles. And when we reach the dating age in their narrative, for that man (recalling being a girl) to say,”there’s this cute boy…,” seems quite difficult to report.
Is this reflective of the fears around homosexuality? Possibly, but I think it more likely it is more about defining maleness by what it isn’t.
It is rare to work with a man who will easily explore his feminine side because of whatever stereotypes he was raised with, but often along the lines of weak, fearful, irrational, vulnerable, as well as loving, care-taking, sensitive and sweet.
While this process is not under my clients’ conscious control, there is obviously a subconscious mechanism at work within men that values being male and suppresses or rejects not being male. This is a troubling reality and a loss for us all, because being truly authentic, emotionally free, and spiritually connected requires a balance of the highest expression of both one’s masculine and feminine qualities. We need to raise our boys to value and express both.