Regardless of our role, we need to stand on a set of self-defined principles. Sure, the Lifestyle, in general, has core tenets which many of us try to follow. Not what I am talking about. I am referring to your personal ethic. A set of internal rules you have decided to live by. If you have them.
It becomes very difficult to find North if we do not have a compass. Those self-defined principles become that compass. They inform how we act with others, how we treat ourselves, and most importantly let us feel confident when it is time to be our own champion.
One of the easiest ways to get ourselves into trouble in kink is to say yes too easily. I’ve certainly fell into that trap and still do occasionally. We want to please others. We want to be wanted. When someone else asks us to participate they are signaling to us they see value in us. It is very hard to turn that down at times. Being principled allows us the freedom to say no on our own terms.
There are volumes of people in kink who seem rudderless. Why is this? Is it simply that they are lost in a see of information? Or could part of it be they do not understand the importance of self-defined principles? How many people have you met or talked to in the last month, let alone the last year, who couldn’t get the piss out of the boot if there were instructions on the heel?
I am not casting aspersions or making fun. Merely recognizing that in our chosen lifestyle and in kink we must be very self-aware and willing to be our own defender. No one is going to care as much about our own wellbeing as ourselves. If that is not true, I would respectfully suggest you are not ready for this life because if you cannot be your own shield, there are those our there who will eat you alive.
See Your Own Value
We are not going to stand on our own principles, defending our own being, if we do not see value in ourselves. If we are desperate to be validated by others, then we are not taking our own worth into account. Each of us has our own value, seeing that in ourselves is the place to start when defining what is important to us.
Find Your Voice
Knowing our worth and having principles is not enough if we are not able to be vocal in our own defense. I am not talking about fending off the odd insult, or telling someone off who pissed us off. This is about the times when we know we really want to say yes, but should say no. When someone overlooks our contribution in a dynamic. Or when we want to be part of a group or activity for our own good but are scared to speak up.
We have to get over the hump of sitting in the shadows and ignoring our own needs. Voicing what we expect, what is needed, and yes what is wrong. If you are not used to being vocal it will be difficult at first, but it will get easier the more you do it. People will be less likely to gloss over your voice because they will be more accustomed to hearing you.
Find it, keep it, and use it.
Define Your Own Purpose
Why am I here in this restaurant talking to this person? Why am I in this group or at this munch? Why did I come to this class? Why?
The why you are doing something becomes the motivation to be your own advocate. Otherwise, why be there? There is a goal you are trying to achieve be it additional knowledge, vetting a potential partner, making fiends in the community, or simply to get out of the house. There is a purpose, what is it?
Whatever it is use it to spur you forward. We are more likely to use our voice and to be our own champion if we have a clear goal in mind.
Define Your Principles
What is personally important to you? Making sure you have time for your family? Your integrity? Staying STD free?
There are a thousand questions I could ask you to help you dial it in. But really, you already know for the most part what your personal priorities are and what is important to you. These are what you need to hang your proverbial hat on. Make each into a statement which creates a line which you will not cross.
For example, one of my principles is that I will not lie to anyone, ever, not matter the circumstance. To some this may sound easy, but rest assured it is not. I have been tempted to save someone’s feelings from the truth, be easy on their ego, or even afraid of losing a friendship.
Not matter what line you draw in the sand it will eventually be tested in away you do not expect. Do not box yourself in with a million principles. Just the ones that you know you need to be able to maintain respect for yourself.
Being Principled is Hard, but Important
People will call you closed minded at times. Refer to you as stuck up, stiff, and many more choice ways designed to ding your own positive self-view. It can be a lonely road some days to walk because we all just want to get along for the most part.
If we go with the flow and let others define our path eventually we will wind up in a box canyon with no way out and the rains are coming. At that point we have let others set the stage for our self-destruction because we will have to decide whether or not to let go of those who have guided us there and save ourselves or remain and lose all self-respect.
Being principled helps us avoids those dire straits. They allow us to stand in the middle of the chaos others have authored and say no, enough, this is not for me.
The Gold at the End of the Rainbow
Peace. It may be a harder road to travel but it is an infinitely more fulfilling one.
Being able to wake each day confident in our purpose, our general direction, and knowing we have designed armor, those self-defined principles, keeping us on a path which is right for us sets us on a positive path.
People who are worth knowing will respect you for sticking to your guns. Seriously, who in your life do you respect who constantly flip flops regarding their personal worth and ethic? I would be willing to bet, no one. People who are principled, are easier to trust and respect because they are more consistent in how they view themselves and treat others.
At the End of the Day
Time passes faster than we would like to admit. Hell, I blinked and half a century flew by. Not all of it I am proud of. I wish I had been more principled at times. It would have saved me a ton of trouble. Regardless, I am here now, and hopefully learned better.
When I finally learned to have a core personal ethic, consciously decided on, it made my life much simpler, if not always easier. It allowed me to be who I am without apology. Without having to explain myself or make excuses.
Having that personal foundation gave me more self confidence and pushed me to seek those who are also very principled in their lives. As a result, I found the best life partner I never could have imagined. Very principled herself. A giant pain in my ass some days for sure. But a person I can love and respect without caveats. She calls me on my shit when I screw up and lets me know when I am doing well. We can be brutally honest with each other, and with others. There is a freedom in that.
Kink, BDSM, and the Lifestyle are rough. The process of growth sucks beyond imagining some days. It’s near impossible to manage if we do not have a compass to keep us headed in the right direction.
To borrow another’s words, “But let me just officially state the biggest warning that was never explicitly stated: D/s is mounds of painful, gut-wrenching, vulnerable, hurt-like-hell work. And the best part? It never stops being painful, gut-wrenching, vulnerable, hurt-like-hell work (if you’re doing it right).”
It is tough, but with that compass, it gets easier. Otherwise, we might as well be a doormat because everyone and their dog will walk over us.