How to Measure the Mettle of a Man.

Via Kara-Leah Grant
on Mar 19, 2014
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Warning: naughty language ahead.

Oh men, men, men. I love them, adore them, worship at their feet.

I always have and always will. They are exquisite creatures. They are the yang to my yin, the Shiva to my Shakti, the hardness to my softness, the penetration to my yielding. With a man, I feel the fullness of my womanliness unfold—and that’s intoxicating.

If I was going to meet or create a man, here’s what I’d want:

The Measure of a Man #1: Words are Married to Action

As he says, so he does. Simple. This reveals integration between who he wants to be or who he believes himself to be and who he actually is. Integration is strength. Integration can be counted on. Integration is mettle.

I’m going to lose ten pounds this year. And he does. I’m going to run a marathon. And he does. I’ll pick you up at 5:00 p.m. And he does. Or he calls if he can’t. Or he sends a stand-in. But he makes sure you’re taken care of.

Words are respected and up-held, just as you’ll be respected and up-held.

The Measure of a Man #2: He embraces both your light and your dark.

He’s not just in love with the wonderful you, but also the worrisome you, the anxious you, the depressed you, the insecure you, the nagging you, the PMS you and the hung-over you. He loves all of you, because he knows that these states are not you—it’s fear masquerading as you.

He might give you more space at this time. He might lovingly share what he sees so as to help you shift out of fear. He might even tell you to get your shit together because he knows you can and he knows you’re indulging your victim, but your fear doesn’t freak him out. He stays with you and he stays with it.

And if it does trigger his stuff, he owns it, he knows it and he deals with it. Which leads us on to…

The Measure of a Man #3: He owns his own shit.

Just as he allows space for you to be whoever you are both in love and in fear, so to does he own his own shit.

He can sense when you’re triggering him and he doesn’t dump that shit all over you, blaming and arguing and venting and controlling. No, he witnesses, observes and takes space so he can work through that shit in his own way. If he does trip up and momentarily dump his shit on you, he takes ownership once he’s gotten his equilibrium back.

He apologizes, makes it right, and does what he needs to so he can take care of his own needs.

The Measure of a Man #4: He communicates clearly.

A man of mettle is not afraid to tell you the truth, and he’s not afraid to tell you things that may trigger you. He knows you’re a woman and you can handle the truth. So he speaks up. He tells you what he needs, when he needs it, and how he needs it. And he listens to your response, whole-heartedly. When he’s triggered, he doesn’t just take off on his motorbike/surfboard/mountain bike—he lets you know what’s going on and what he needs.

“Hey babe, there’s some shit coming up for me here. I need some time.”

And off he goes, to do his thing, to take care of himself.

The Measure of a Man #5: He takes care of himself.

This man is an adult and he can take care of his own needs. He can feed himself good food, he can clothe himself, he can financially support himself, he can get himself to the appropriate healthcare provider when necessary. He doesn’t dodge and avoid and resist looking after himself—body, mind and soul—because he loves and respects himself.

He cares deeply about himself, which is what allows him to care deeply about you.

The Measure of a Man #6: He’s passionate about something.

Darts, body-building, embroidery, writing, running, painting, rugby, mountain-climbing… something! This man knows what he loves and he gives himself 100 percent to this pursuit, pushing himself to enjoy and excel at whatever it is. His passion lights him up from the inside when he talks about it. He gets up at 4:00 a.m. if it means getting a dawnie in before work. He dedicates himself to this passion.

He gives himself to it, in the same way he’ll give himself to you because he’s passionate about you.

The Measure of a Man #7: He’s made peace with his family.

Every man has issues that will have started in childhood. A man of mettle has identified those issues and made peace with them. He may not be close with his family, but he will have forgiven them and he will understand that they were doing the best they could at the time, even if that best was utter shit. He will not be totally unaware; he will not think he has no issues. He will not still be blaming his family, still be leaning on his wounds and reveling in his victimhood.

He knows what happened in his family, he understands how it affected him and he’s made peace with it in the same way that he knows you’ll bring up shit in him and he’ll be able to make peace with that, too.

The Measure of a Man #8: He loves life.

Even a man with mettle may experience depression or anxiety, but underneath all of that there still exists a childlike wonder at the glory of life.

He notices rainbows, rain trickling down windows, bees hovering inside flowers and moreporks (a bird native to New Zealand) at night . He’s up for making snow angels on the first snowfall of the winter or rolling in piles of autumn leaves. He’ll even sit under a full moon with you meditating or howling.

He’s not sulky and self-absorbed and oblivious to the daily miracle of existence on planet Earth and he can share this joy with you.

The Measure of a Man #9: He’s waking up.

A man with mettle is waking up—to himself and to life. He’s beyond being controlled by his mind and by his circumstances. The circumstances of his life don’t dictate his joy but rather his own actions do. He takes whatever life dishes out and he works with it the best he can, in his own way.

If he’s imprisoned for something he didn’t do, he learns yoga, gets a degree, becomes a counsellor, works with other inmates. If he’s imprisoned for something he did do he inquires into his own being to understand how his actions brought him to this place and then he learns yoga, gets a degree, becomes a counsellor and works with other inmates.

He comes out of prison a grown and changed man, just as he comes out of his past relationship a grown and changed man. All of life’s adventures becomes a way for him to better know himself and a way for him to grow and evolve.

The Measure of a Man #10: He meets you whole-heartedly.

A man with mettle can stand strong in front of his woman and meet her wholeheartedly, unflinching in both his vulnerability and strength. He’s right there with you, and if he can’t be, he lets you knowbecause he loves you and wants you to have the experience of a man who will meet you whole-heartedly.

He gives completely of himself, all he can give, while holding his center and his strength.

Of course, the measure of a man begs for the worthiness of a woman.

It takes two to tango. His measure and my worthiness must match. So while I wait for the man that measures up to arrive, I’m taking an active role in working on my own worthiness. Because this kind of man will simply destroy many women—those of us who aren’t ready to take full responsibility for our own needs, communicate clearly and honestly, and take space to honour the self within the container of a relationship.

If it’s Shiva you want, first become Shakti.


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Editor: Cat Beekmans

Photo:  Avinash Lodhi/Pixoto


About Kara-Leah Grant

Kara-Leah Grant is an internationally renowned retreat leader, yoga teacher and writer. Along with fellow Elephant Journal writer, Ben Ralston, she runs Heart of Tribe, pouring her love into growing a world-wide tribe of courageous, committed, and empowered individuals through leading retreats in New Zealand, Mexico and Sri Lanka. Kara-Leah is also the founder of New Zealand’s own awesome yoga website, The Yoga Lunchbox, and author of Forty Days of Yoga—Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice and The No-More-Excuses Guide to Yoga. A born & bred Kiwi who spent her twenties wandering the world and living large, Kara-Leah has spent time in Canada, the USA, France, England, Mexico, and a handful of other luscious locations. She now lives and travels internationally with her son, a ninja-in-training. You can find Kara-Leah on her website, or on Facebook.


12 Responses to “How to Measure the Mettle of a Man.”

  1. Ben_Ralston says:

    Yeah, pretty fair assessment I'd say.
    It's all about just being able to love yourself though isn't it? When a man knows and loves himself, he ticks all those boxes automatically. And the extent to which his self-esteem is healed is really the extent to which he turns up in the relationship with his woman, too.
    So for me there are just two requirements – I want a woman who deeply loves herself (or dies trying), and is as attracted to me as I am to her (which had better be a whole fucking hell of a lot, or it aint gonna work 🙂

  2. Harry says:

    Wow! Kara, great article!!
    It's given me greater confidence in my "Mettle"

  3. Hey Ben,

    Ah… I'd never though about it in those terms… Makes it even simpler doesn't it. Love toward Self, Love towards Other – just a whole-lotta love.

  4. Tui Anderson says:

    Beautiful words and I love that you apply them to both sides… it is not ok to sit on your butt and want the other party to be an incredible human being. 2 divine beings must meet and make magic.
    Now, may I please place my request for a Man of Mettle? 🙂

  5. Mark says:

    Point threes very good. But are you willing to allow him space to be whoever he is both in love and in fear? Cos it sounds like he has to be strong enough to take care of his shit, but support you when your not strong enough to take care of your shit. I may have got it wrong but this seems a little unbalanced. A myth that men have to be stronger than women is perpetuated by this assumption. Still a good article despite my reservations about some of the advice.

  6. Oh yes – claim that confidence!

  7. Hey Tui,

    We are but mirrors for each other – can't experience the Shiva without the Shakti! And yes, your order has been taken. Stay tuned 😉

  8. Hey Mark,

    As I say at the end, you can't expect to attract Shiva without putting your own Self in order… There is no assumption that the male has to be stronger than the female at all. Simply at least as strong…

  9. Brian says:

    Great read Kara. I have been trying to get my shit together both spiritually (meditating to shiva) and career wise, by that I mean finding something that I'm passionate bout that supports the lifestyle I want. I feel as though the woman for me is on the way and I don't want to miss out on her because I'm not prepared. Thanks again for the article.

  10. Nicki says:

    Enjoyed reading this, though find the male adoration a little difficult to handle and aren’t all the points you mentioned absolutely equally necessary for a woman as they are for a man because all those qualities are what builds and sustains a healthy and equal relationship.

    What is the distinction here?

  11. There is no distinction – hence, if you're looking for Shiva, become Shakti. You can't expect the other to embody what you don't. Although you can both still be works in progress, as we all are…

  12. Mike says:

    Probably the best Elephant Journal post I have ever read. Well written.Well said.And well taken to heart.