I ran across an excellent post on rules on Fetlife the other day. I’m just going to expand my thoughts on the rules themselves, but the entire post is good and can be read here: So you want some rules, do you?
Rules are everywhere. We live by them, regardless of our age, sex, gender preference, religion, race or whatever other tag we attach to ourselves. Every country has rules or laws. Every aspect of society has rules – every household has rules. They’re everywhere. There’s no escaping being told how you can or cannot behave or what you can and cannot do. Some rules are written, some are not. Some rules are just innately known, ingrained since birth. But, what about personal rules? Do we have rules of our own about how to interact with other people or how other people are to interact with us? I mean aside from the “social norm” rules. I’m sure we do. I’m sure none of us have given them thought enough to vocalize them readily or write about them. What about rules for how we interact with ourselves?
Here is a list of rules – they were written by Paradox81, in relation to how a submissive interacts with him, a base place to start. But, I think these are good rules for anyone. I think these are excellent rules for your interactions with yourself.
2) Love yourself. All of you. Because if I open my life to you, I will love you, and I will love all of you. If you don’t, then you won’t properly allow me to. You are valuable, and I need you to believe me when I tell you that, so I need you to believe it yourself.
3) Believe in yourself. I will have confidence in you to be by your side, to push you just a bit further, because I know you can do it. Find the confidence within to stand proud and believe it too.
4) Forgive yourself of past mistakes. You are not broken. You are not unworthy. It’s OK to make mistakes. Handle them with grace, and learn what you can as you take the next step forward.
5) Remember that bad things that have happened to you, do not define you. Nobody has the power to take ‘you’ away from you, and I’m not going to let you convince yourself they did.
6) Know your limits. Your limits are not “whatever I want to do with you”. Not yet anyway. I will help you discuss them if needed, but I will not dictate them for you. I don’t want to push you past your limits, therefore, I need your help in determining where they are.
7) Value your own happiness. You can’t expect to make me happy if you don’t even value your own happiness. Sure, making me happy can and probably will be an important part that makes you happy in return – but ultimately you can make or break your own happiness, so you need to value it.
8) Have some goals. You are not a blob to mold as I see fit. You don’t necessarily have to know all the steps from A to Z to reach your goals, but you do need to have some. I will help push you in the right direction, but I need to know which direction to push and how hard.
9) Recognize that this is not a game for me. I don’t need to prove I’m powerful or better than anyone or prop my ego up. I am not here just for a power trip or to get my rocks off (well sometimes – that’s a different context!). I will actually care about you immensely in our dynamic, and I’m not just playing with your emotions for shits and giggles. I might like being in control, but it’s not because I need to feel better about myself by bossing someone around.
10) Understand that respect is earned. I don’t need you to blindly respect me. I will earn it just fine thank you. Don’t just give it away to anyone with a strong personality, they might not deserve it from you. Respect is valuable, treat it as such.
Not quite what you were expecting? Good. You might have noticed I skipped rule #1. That’s cause rule #1 is never make assumptions. Communicate with me. I might be pretty damn good at figuring you out, what you want, want you might need and adjusting… but I’m not a damn mind reader and I want to get it right, so yeah… talk to me.
Right. So, excellent start, right? Some common sense sprinkled in there. Things that shouldn’t necessarily have to be a rule or written down – some of these things should just *be*. But, they aren’t. At least, not for me. I’m guessing quite a few aren’t for many other women as well.
You see, I don’t love all of me. I can stand in front of a mirror and point out my flaws quickly and efficiently. In truth, I don’t even need a mirror and not all of my complaints are physical. I can tell you in a heartbeat what I don’t like about myself. But if you ask me what I like about myself, I hesitate. I have to think on it. Why? Partly because we’re told it’s self-centered to tout our good points. And we don’t want to come off that way – especially as submissives. What Dom type is going to want us if we speak too highly of ourselves? If we can say “Yes, this is what I love about me – ALL of me!”? But, as people, we should be able to do that. Society shouldn’t tell us that we have to downplay that or that it’s selfish to love ourselves completely. Paradox is right, though, how can anyone else love all of us if we don’t?
I believe in myself – to a point. Confidence is an issue for me – as in, I don’t have it. I’m lucky I have a Master who’s trying to push me to have that confidence in myself. I used to have it. I don’t know where it went or when it left. This is something I’ve needed to work on for a long time – and I’m starting to. I’m starting to tell myself that I -can- do it. I can be a good mother, I can change for the better, I can grow – and get past the discomfort and fear that growing brings with it. I tell myself that there -is- a light there at the end of the tunnel and that I -will- see it in all it’s glory…and be okay. I’m trying to tell myself that I can reach the star I want to touch. It’s a small step, but it is a step.
Forgiving oneself is often times the hardest thing for people to do. Sure, my mistakes don’t define me – but, they do. I let them. I shouldn’t – no one should. There are days when I feel broken and unfixable – like a china doll that’s been shattered into a million pieces. You just stare at the mess and think “There’s no army of horsemen that can put me back together again…” But, this relates to the previous rule – if I can forgive myself (regardless of whether others forgive me or not), and believe in myself, I can patch myself up and keep going forward. I can learn from what I’ve done, how I’ve failed. I hate the feeling of failure. Sometimes though, that’s a preferable feeling over fear. Learning to forgive myself is the first step to handling things with grace and learning as I move forward.
No one has the power to take me from me? You’re so right. But, someone has. Because I let them. I didn’t stand strong in who I was. Since then, I have rebuilt myself. There are pieces of me still missing. I have to learn to “fill” those pieces with new ones. It’s okay to not be who I was, to love who I’ve rebuilt myself into. It’s okay to acknowledge that I’m different and be alright with that. It’s also okay for me to look back at how I was and appreciate that girl too. I disagree though that the past doesn’t define you. If it doesn’t, then you haven’t learned from your mistakes. It doesn’t mean that if you were a victim in your past that you have to remain the victim. One experience doesn’t and shouldn’t define us. Our past as a whole does. And it’s okay. We can define ourselves from our past. You can take all those negatives and make them a positive to define you – you can become stronger from a string of events that made you feel weak and helpless. It’s up to you how that past defines you.
Knowing your limits is good – whether a “vanilla” setting or not, everyone has limits and personal space boundaries. Knowing these is paramount to you living comfortably. My Master knows my limits – he knows which ones can be pushed and which ones are solidly in place. Even some of my hard limits have been changed – but, by me, in my own time. He’s never pushed for them to be changed, he’s never asked or suggested. He knows there are some hard limits that won’t ever change. But, is isn’t just the S types who have to have limits. D types should too – things they won’t do. Master has his. It’s all about meeting in the middle, so to speak. And yes, sometimes, I need that help in defining my limits or giving them to others – I’m not always great at vocalizing that. But knowing your limits is an excellent thing – a needed tool in keeping yourself safe and sane.
Goals? Yes, I have those. I don’t always strive to attain them, but I have them. They range from how I want Master to play with me at some point in time to how I want to spend my evening. For instance, my goal today, after writing, is to get a decent chunk of work done. I have life goals. I’m forming more life goals. I don’t know how I’m going to attain some of these goals, but I’ll get there. I hope. I need help planning my path to attainment. But, at least I have goals…
Value my own happiness? Some days, I’m not even sure what it is. I think we all need to do better at this. Less complaining, more doing what we want (within our rules, of course). More doing of things that make us smile and feel content down deep in our hearts. I look through rose colored glasses on purpose. There’s lots of things in this world that take away from my happiness – stress, bad things happening. But, at the end of the day, no one can make me happy but me. Not truly. If I can’t be happy without Master, how can I expect to be happy *with* him? Or anyone else in my life. Ask yourself, who are you most drawn to? That person that’s almost always smiling and genuinely just happy or that dour looking one over there in the corner? Yeah, I’ll take the happy one. And there’s a point here for us S types – how can you expect to make your D type happy if *you* aren’t happy? How can you expect them to *want* to make you happy in return if you aren’t? These same questions, though, can be applied to D types. If you aren’t happy, how do you expect your S type to be happy or make you happy in return? It’s a give and take. We should all value our own happiness.
This isn’t a game. Life isn’t a game. We play it sometimes, much like it is a game. And, sure, there are parts that are a game – and are fun to play. But, it isn’t a game. It’s not a competition – well, not all of it. I need to pause and take a step back, breathe. I need to remind myself that I’m not in a competition with anyone. I am who I am. I’m as submissive as I am – and there may be others who are “more submissive” than I am, better practiced at it and know the rules better. That’s okay. There are younger women, prettier women, stronger women, more secure women. And …that’s okay. I’m not in a competition with them. I don’t have to prove to them or to Master how submissive I am. He knows. They’ll see or they won’t. But Master knows. And I know Master is…my Master. I know he knows his shit. I know he knows me. I submit to him for a reason. He’s already proven himself. And yes, once in a while, I make him do it again. And he does, every single time. But he doesn’t *need* to and he doesn’t *need* to prove it to anyone else. I know that Master doesn’t play with my emotions. I don’t play with his.
I agree that respect is earned. But, there’s also a general respect to give to people. Without it, we don’t function as a society. Realize, also, that that respect can be taken back too – just because it’s given doesn’t mean you just get to keep it without earning it or that you shouldn’t earn a deeper level of respect. But, I speak in broad and general terms. Earning respect as a D type is something different and deeper….and yes, that must be earned, without question.
No, these rules aren’t quite what I expected. Maybe others did. My reaction to them aren’t what I was expecting either. I do need to work on these rules – for myself. These are good rules to read and keep reading, to look back at in the future and see where you are with them and whether you keep with them or deviate too far and have to work to follow them again. These rules are an excellent base for how to interact with yourself and how that interaction can and does effect your interactions with others.
I will be working on following these rules…for myself, so that I can be a better woman to serve Master.