What does the yin yang symbol have to do with relationships?
I never thought much about this well-known black and white symbol. The teardrop shapes flowing into one another seem like a striking motif for bandanas or something.
Little did I know that this “motif” contains universal wisdom that would guide me on my inner growth journey for years to come.
Contemplating the meaning of the yin yang symbol has helped me accept myself, cultivate understanding in my relationships and even transform my once toxic marriage.
In this article, I’ll share a few spiritual lessons that guided me to create healthy and satisfying relationships.
What does yin and yang mean in relationships?
The yin yang symbol comes from ancient Chinese philosophy, dating back to at least 3,500 years old.
It represents the opposing yet complementary forces that govern us and everything around us—yin and yang. The black teardrop in the symbol represents yin and the white teardrop, yang.
Yin energy is receptive, while yang energy is active. Some examples of these polarities include:
Some people consider yin as feminine energy and yang, masculine energy. That said, we each have yin and yang energies, no matter what gender we identify with.
Yin and yang need each other to achieve balance, hence the black dot in the white teardrop (and vice versa).
So to become a whole and realized person, we must learn how to balance our yin and yang energies. We gain invaluable wisdom as we embrace and understand the pairs of opposites that exist within us.
For years, my husband Loïc cringed when I cried during arguments. He felt perplexed and even angry that my emotions seized the conversation.
As we explored his anger together, he eventually connected with something that he buried long ago—his vulnerability.
Loïc had learned in childhood to be strong and never show any form of “weakness”. Ironically, my capacity to embrace my vulnerability invited him to acknowledge his own painful emotions.
This revelation helped us accept the polarity of being vulnerable and strong and better support each other.
Whenever we identify with one side of a polarity, life always guides us to its opposite so that we can integrate it.
Relationships are powerful mirrors
It’s funny how the yin yang symbol invites us to embrace all aspects of ourselves.
In my childhood, my father often had angry outbursts and controlled my every move. I learned to never assert myself, otherwise I’d get yelled at or punished.
Naturally, Loïc’s angry outbursts triggered me and made me feel unsafe. I thought I had escaped my father’s wrath, but it kept rearing its head in other people and situations.
So, I contemplated, What can I learn about myself? What’s my relationship to anger?
Instead of trying to change Loïc (because that never works), I looked within to manage my reactions and connect with my own anger.
I had labeled this emotion as bad or negative. It’s understandable, given my past. Yet welcoming my anger helped me see my crossed boundaries, learn how to defend myself and reclaim my power.
I never would’ve thought that a so-called negative emotion could have such positive aspects!
Now that I’m more comfortable with my own anger, I can better empathize with Loïc. And the more we expand to allow the experience of all our emotions, the more we’re able to stop taking things personally and be present for each other.
So, no emotion is 100% positive or negative. (That’s why yin and yang flow into each other in the symbol.)
And ultimately, no part of us is good or bad. They all have their place and offer us wisdom if we’re willing to listen.
“When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad.” ―Lao Tzu
Developing wholeness within
A common misconception is that our partner is supposed to complete us.
In French, people sometimes even refer to their partner as their “moitié”, or other half.
But if we become too reliant on our partner, expecting them to fulfill our needs, we end up putting our well-being in someone else’s hands. This breeds fear, control and resentment.
What’s more, relationships often lose their spark because we seek qualities in another that we need to develop inside ourselves.
“Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something—and it is only such love that can know freedom.” —Jiddu Krishnamurti
Of course, that doesn’t mean that we should avoid relationships. We learn and evolve alongside other people. But we don’t have to strain our relationships with unrealistic expectations.
Imagine if we each took responsibility for (most of) our needs and validated who we are… What if we understood that our partner is a mirror of ourself?
We wouldn’t judge each other as much because everyone is on a journey to wholeness.
And our relationships would simply help us grow and expand into more joy and fulfillment.
Creating a harmonious world
Our relationships reflect what we’ve denied within and can guide us toward a more balanced, conscious world.
The yin yang symbol gently reminds us to honor our whole selves. With curiosity and compassion, we may realize that so-called opposites complement each other.
Letting ourselves fully experience grief allows the full experience of joy. We can’t have one without the other. Balance is always key.
What we resist, persists until we liberate repressed parts of ourselves, giving us the strength to show up authentically.
The more we embrace who we are, the more compassion we develop for ourselves and others—because as human beings, we’ll all experience similar challenges.
And by learning to see our reflection in another, perhaps we can be more understanding and present for each other.
P.S. I’m offering free EFT Tapping sessions in exchange for a short interview. Learn more and book your session.
Annie Moussu is a certified EFT Tapping Master Practitioner helping women build confidence, set boundaries & enjoy healthy relationships. Get her free EFT meditation & guide for people-pleasing.
Further reading to improve relationships: