Loving Beyond Our Gender-Personalities

    Our gender-personalities are sets of personal responses
which were originally created in each of us by our upbringing.
If we were born female, we might have been enculturated
with the following admirable 'feminine' personality traits: 
friendly, gracious, tactful, sensitive, caring, helpful, supporting.
If we were born male, we might have been enculturated
with the following admirable 'masculine' personality traits:
strong, independent, active, disciplined, objective, logical, practical.

    When we name these specific personality characteristics,
we easily agree that such character-traits are learned rather than innate.

    And if we dislike some of the personality-traits
that were socialized into us by our upbringing,
we can unlearn them when we become self-aware enough
to make decisions that could change our personalities.

    Our parents, peers, & culture might have given us
some personality-traits that we no longer like.  
Some females were raised with the following regrettable responses:
submissive, needy, jealous, gossipy, nagging, moody, vain.
And some males are raised with other regrettable personality-traits:
sadistic, noisy, selfish, dominant, militaristic, rigid, vulgar.

    This chapter contains a two-page Gender-Pattern Chart,
which lists a few hundred possible personality-traits,
which might have been enculturated into us in the process of growing up.
Trait-by-trait, we ask ourselves which characteristics describe us:
tender, aggressive, charming, willful, cooperative, organized, possessive, etc.

    Once we make ourselves explicitly aware of our present personalities,
we can evaluate our selves and then begin to make the changes we desire.
We do not need to retain our original gender-personalities.
We can mature beyond the enculturated traits we discover within ourselves.

Loving Beyond Our Gender-Personalities"

    If and when we succeed in changing our personalities,
we find that our loving relationships are also changed.
In our teen years, we were probably playing
conventional 'masculine'/'feminine' games of love.
And as we slowly revise and replace our original personalities,
we find that our relationships also mature along with us.  

    If we grow beyond our original gender-personalities,
we create new forms of loving beyond the gender-games.  

    And if we set ourselves the long-term project of becoming more Authentic,
then how we choose to re-focus our lives
will also change our gender-personalities
and profoundly transform our loving relationships.  

    If we decide to give part of our lives to raising children,
we can be very careful about which gender-traits we socialize into them.  
In fact, if we agree that all personality-traits are learned,
we can even select those characteristics from the Gender-Pattern Chart
that we would like our children to have.
Then we can discourage the regrettable gender-personality traits
and reinforce the admirable characteristics.

    Each personality-trait is independent of the others.
In raising our children and in re-creating ourselves,
we do not need to choose between two large clumps of personality-traits,
conventionally labeled 'feminine characteristics'
or 'masculine characteristics'.    
We can select the qualities we admire
from anywhere on the Gender-Pattern Chart.

    Thus, reading this chapter on 'masculinity' and 'femininity'
can provide a deeper understanding of our personalities
and the tools necessary for changing our selves.
And if we succeed in re-designing our selves,
we can also begin to make similar choices for our children.
Of course, our children will also have the capacity
to re-design themselves when they become adults.

    We are not stuck with the gender-personalities we were first given.
We can always become more fully the persons we choose to be.  

"Masculinity/Femininity: Loving Beyond Our Gender-Personalities"

    Probably because much popular writing deals with the
conventional differences between men and women,
many readers open this chapter with the same expectation.
They think that this chapter is also going to say
that men are such-and-such and that women are the opposite.
This presupposition is so strong in some readers
that their preconception is what they find in this chapter,
even tho it is denied on almost every page.  

    This chapter takes the radically-different stance
that all of the personality-traits of all individuals
are originally given by enculturation.
And because these gender stereotypes are merely conventional,
they can be changed thru various processes of personal growth.  

    Rather than comparing and contrasting men and women,
this approach to gender-personality
compares and contrasts admirable traits and regrettable traits.  
(These traits are listed in separate columns.
On each side of the Gender-Pattern Chart,
one column is labeled "admirable" and another "regrettable".)

    Solving the problems created by our original gender-personalities
does not involve becoming more like the other sex.
Rather, we identify the personality-traits we do not like in ourselves
and then undertake various processes of personal growth
that will make us more fully the persons we want to be.  

    In this new way of loving, we first re-create our selves
by moving beyond our original gender-personalities. 
Then we are ready to love as the new persons we have become.

revised 8-4-2007; 1-4-2012; 2-13-2014;

    If you would like to read the first two pages of this chapter, click this title:
"Masculinity/Femininity: Loving Beyond Our Gender-Personalities" .
The first page contains the complete table of contents for this chapter.


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