The Tell Me About topic this time is respect and usually I would write about respect in a D/s relationship. But I already did that in this post. I could also write about respecting the rules, but I already did that in this post. Respect is a big thing for us because it is one of the foundations of our dynamic so I thought I would just write about some of the things that came to mind about respect and being respectful, rather than repeat what I had said before.
One of the ways that I have tried to be respectful has been through my writing. Although sometimes I might feel as if I want to air my thoughts, raw and unfiltered, I try to show respect to others, HL in particular. Sometimes this can be tricky, especially when writing about our relationship as I want to be authentic, but am also aware that what I say or write will reflect on him. To write simply about my own feelings sounds reasonable enough, but when they are linked to his actions, it also means sharing things about him.
We are both sensitive to this and will discuss things which we feel might make the other uncomfortable before sharing them. We are, after all, a team and what happens to one happens, happens to us both, so even if it affects us in different ways, there are always implications. I don’t feel that I hold back really, more that I think about the impact of my actions and how that will impact on HL. To me, part of showing my respect is about considering his feelings and responses before I share something personal about us.
Although initially, we felt that our rules and rituals were a key part of showing our respect to one another, as time has gone by, it has also become evident through other means. Last week when things were tough I went off to work and saw this tweet.
I have to say that I felt a lot of things in addition to respect, but that was certainly a big part of it. It was an overwhelming feeling, not only that HL had the utmost respect for me as a person, but also that he understood what I was feeling and that he was there for me. It was a great reminder that our respect for each other is a mutual thing and that the little things that show how you feel, really are important.
Respect for others
I work in an environment where respect is crucial. In school, if pupils don’t respect you then you may as well give up. The days where fear meant that respect didn’t really matter because the hierarchy kept kids in line, are well and truly gone. If you don’t model what you teach, you are teaching something else and so if I am not respectful to others, then I can not reasonably expect people to show me any respect either. This is something that HL and I have always promoted at home with our family too. We expect them to be respectful not only towards us, but to, and of, each other as well.
I would hope that my friends respect me. I certainly find it hard to pursue relationships with people when the respect is not there, and so I would imagine that if they lost respect for me, they would simply move on. As an empathetic person, I have had to learn to create personal boundaries at times so that I can protect myself. I can give too much, try too hard, and can end up putting my own needs to the side for the sake of others. I have come to understand that for some people, the respect for me is just not there, and they are content to use me for their own gain.
Setting boundaries is not something that I find easy as I care too much what others think. I make excuses for people and because I don’t like confrontation, can feel awkward in having to assert myself. I have got better with age though and also become more able to deal with the way that this sort of thing makes me feel. I can usually manage my emotions and move away when I feel that the balance of the relationship is just not there. To me, a big part of respect is about listening to people and trying to understand where they are coming from. I have been hurt in the past when I felt that this did not happen.
Listening and respect
Good listening skills are crucial to building respect. If you don’t listen to someone with a view to trying to understand their ideas and opinions, then they are likely to feel that their voice is not being heard and feel that they are just not worth much to you. When this happens you can end up feeling invalidated, disregarded or misunderstood, and this is not conducive to feeling respected. It isn’t about agreeing with someone, it is about listening and understanding, empathising really, and this is also a crucial part of our D/s.
Although we always listen to each other, we are not always listening actively as life can be so busy, and so we try to have regular times to focus our attention purely on each other and communicating well. This sort of communication is key to maintaining the levels of respect in our dynamic and works alongside our behaviour, language and actions towards each other. Respect is probably one of the easiest parts of a relationship to break down and one of the hardest to build back up so, while much of it has become innate for us, it is also something that we focus on and try to think about.