Know thyself is a self assessment beginner exercise that will help new explorers of BDSM create meaningful and realistic goals for relationships by asking probing and meaningful questions.
Hand-write out the following questions and answer them honestly and realisitically, review them regularly and update as needed.
- What are my five best traits?
- What are the five best traits I would look for in a partner?
- What are the five best traits I would seek to have in a relationship dynamic?
- What is my full lists of Needs and Wants in a relationship dynamic?
- What are the five best things my potential partner could add to that relationship dynamic?
- What are the five best things I can add to that relationship dynamic?
- How do each of these categories interact?
- Will pursuing the type of dynamic I desire bring me happiness?
- What things can I do to improve my chances of success for attaining such a dynamic and what is my plan for doing those things?
These questions allow for a simple bit of introspection on the part of the user to assess themselves, particularly their wants and needs, and they may find those things vary and change over time. Further, one should not feel limited to merely five things on many questions, but should instead commit to having a minimum of five things for each of those respective questions.
Additionally, someone who is just discovering themselves in regards to relationships, sexuality and BDSM or that has systemic problems in having success in these areas may find it beneficial to complete the following exercise:
- List the things that upset you routinely about your life. If you are unsure what they are, consider keeping a journal and monitoring your patters of writing.
- List the sources of the grief. In many cases the source of the grief will be yourself if there is something you can do to change the situation and fail to do so continually.
- What does the issue affect for you?
- Self Esteem
- Emotional Security
- Personal Relations
- Sex Relations
- Where were you to blame in this instance? Were you Selfish, Dishonest, Frightened or Inconsiderate?
- What is the exact nature of your wrong?
- What do you specifically intend to do to correct your part of it?
Completing this exercise forces individuals to assess their issues, take personal responsibility, and also encourages them to deal with the issues in the capacity they are able and thus can be used to help alleviate resentments and practice being more in tune with oneself. Further, being more in tune with ones own feelings also has the side affect of better negotiations and relationships, but first one must have the courage to face their own shortcomings. If you have trouble assessing these things on your own it may be wise to ask for outside help from a trusted friend or mental health professional.
Questions to discuss with a potential partner regarding power exchange dynamics
- What is my role? Am I comfortable with not only the benefits of that role, but the responsibilities? What are those responsibilities? What draws me to the idea of M/s and motivates me in my role? What is the difference between being in control and being controlling? How does informed consent work with M/s or D/s?
- (list separately) What specific things do I want and need from a partner(s) in an authority based relationship? It's important to be honest with yourself and also have realistic expectations here. Do my wants and needs agree with that of my partner(s)? What boundaries do I need to maintain for now? What boundaries do I think I will always need?
- What specific things do I have to offer a partner in this relationship? What are my qualifications if any? What resources can I devote to success?
- How do i plan to attain this relationship? What steps can I take? What do I think or want this relationship(s) to look like?
What is a reasonable timeline for success? How do I define success regarding this today? Are there multiple stages of success? Will I appreciate the journey as much as I think I will enjoy the goal achievement?
- What kinds of research and training will I need as a d-type or s-type? Am I prepared for setbacks and failure? What do I do if my current plan doesn't work?
- How will I communicate best with a potential partner? What do I think are good steps for conflict resolution for the long term?
- How will this relationship affect me? My partner(s)? Those in proximity to me (co workers, family, friends)?
- What is a fair and balanced exit strategy that I as a consenting reasonable adult with self esteem and personal accountability would agree to? What healthy support systems will I maintain while engaged in my relationship?
- What is my goal with training? With the relationship(s)? What are my core values that? What are the really important things I should look for in short term and long term partners respectively?