What Makes up a Good Master?

[Note: In this article, the use of the words “Master” and “slave” is non-gender specific. For expositional convenience only, the Master is referred to as “he” and the slave as “she”.]

The traits that make a good Master will vary from person to person. What is right or what works for one person simply does not work or is just incorrect for someone else. We are all different, with distinct dispositions, needs and desires. That is what makes each one of us unique.

Below, I have summarized some traits and skills that have been and still are important to me in my personal development and journey.

Self control and motivation
A good Master must be in control of himself before he can exert control over another human being. He needs to have a good balance between vanilla and SM, as well private and professional life.

A good Master has chosen his path for a reason. As a slave, when you are interviewing for a position with a new potential Master, always ask the question: “What is your motivation for being a Master?”

Honesty and consistency
A good Master should be true to his word and a living example of what he teaches. He should have the ability to uphold his personal honor and remain true to any agreements between himself and his slave.

Communication, communication, and communication
A good Master needs to be able to express and articulate his emotions. Having the ability to talk and openly discuss “anything under the sun” is an integral part of any relationship. Without open (transparent) and honest communication there is no base on which trust can be built. However, communication is not a one-way street. A good Master does not talk down to his slave, or give no chance to respond, but rather he listens to and shows consideration of his slave’s ideas and concerns. Sometimes communication is more about listening than talking.

Compassion
A good Master has the ability to see and understand the emotional aspects of his slave’s spirit and psyche. He is aware of the multitude of things in life that can affect a slave physically, emotionally and mentally. A good Master is righteous, and shows respect and true love for life.

Leadership and mentorship
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” (William Arthur Ward)

Masters are teachers and leaders that need to have the ability to lead and to inspire others. A good Master needs to be able to exert this control in a respectful and intelligent manner. He provides vision and goals. This means that he gives clear direction, firm goals, consistent rules, unambiguous orders, etc. This also includes providing corrections and discipline when necessary. Further, he takes responsibility for his own actions and assumes responsibility for the well-being of his slave. He respects his slave’s needs and limitations – both physically as well as emotionally.

A good Master should also be able to support, teach, and mentor. As Patricia Neal so adequately expressed “A Master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher though, awakens your own expectations.”

Being a leader and mentor means that he needs to have patience. Whenever his slave stumbles in his/her efforts to be a good slave, he needs to be there with support and advice.

Most importantly, a good Master observes his slave and develops her to her full potential.

Humility
A good Master knows he is not perfect. He will make mistakes. A good Master shows great respect to everyone. He has earned his respect and title.

Knowledge and willingness to learn
Having control of someone else’s life is a tremendous privilege and responsibility. It is therefore important that a good Master makes informed decisions for himself, his slave, and their relationship. A good Master needs to understand his slave’s needs and identity, even beyond the roles of their structured relationship. It goes without saying that a good Master should be skillful and knowledgeable in any of the SM practices he engages in.

We never stop learning, whether Master or slave. Remember that the urge to continue to learn is one of the strongest desires and motivations for life itself.

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