I have been seeing a psychotherapist because anxiety was plaguing me. She only wants to see me once more as things are going well and she has a healthy approach with an expectation of no more than 6 – 8 sessions (evidence strongly suggests that seeing a therapist any more than 10 times is not actually beneficial to your mental health). Anxiety has been with me, on and off, for a long time. I thought it would go away once I left my ex-husband (I won’t go into this deeply but this was a controlling non D/s relationship with no rules except emotional manipulation & obeying his clinical narcissism; not a healthy relationship) but it stayed. It was different but recently has impeded my growth and, on occasion, my ability to function in my day to day life. I haven’t actually talked to my therapist about my desire for submission but rather spoke with her about my desire for service. She is a Buddhist and likes to practice mindfulness so she has a good understanding of service if not the specific kind I mean (this was one of the reasons I went to her). In one of her sessions with me she asked me to write on post it notes my values and we proceeded to place these on the wall in order of importance to me. Values are important in that they (holistically in my case) inform our beliefs and direction in life. What I found hard was that she wanted a linear list in order of importance. At the time she explained how to order my values by asking things like ‘Can you have loyalty without integrity?’ That got me thinking about some of the things on my list. Service is a highly important value to me yet can I have genuine service without integrity? Without loyalty? Without empathy? Without mindfulness? When I start to look at my list I realise that service needs to come lower down the list. So then where does submission sit within this list? I serve all in my life (even the stranger whose letter blew out of their mailbox today and I dutifully found the letterbox and ensured the letter was safely stowed inside) but my submission is just for one. It all boils down to subjective perspective. As most of the words used to describe values are nominalisations anyway, they mean different things to each individual. For me my submission is paramount yet, at least in this way of viewing values, for it to be real it actually has to be placed beneath the other values in my hierarchy to ensure my submission is true. Values differ from needs and wants yet all of these things feed our person, what we base our ‘self’ on, what our frame of reference is in this vast world of differing beings. Is submission a value? Or a need? I think, believe, feel that for me service is a value inextricably linked with my need for submission. It doesn’t devalue my submission to place it in a different category but helps me clarify what submission is for me. Needs are, in my definition, the basic necessities that we require in order to live, these are mostly referred to as physical needs. Yet needs are holistic. We have emotional needs, intellectual needs and spiritual needs; a need to feel we belong, a need to stretch our minds, a need to have some kind of meaning. Without theses forms of nourishment, as surely as without water, we will wither and become unwell. Values are a frame of reference, a personal moral code, which underpins and motivates our decisions, actions and way of living. Needs are necessities without which we become sick. And wants are the icing on the cake. And with all of this the idea is to seek a healthy balance so that our life can be the best we are capable of. If we are unbalanced in anyway any of these things can potentially become addictions that we might lose ourselves in (or lead to unhealthy behaviours). I recently posted about how I felt my need for submission and my denying that need was leading to my anxiety. When I disclosed this to my partner, whom I was in essence asking to become my Dominant, I felt extremely vulnerable and I had a massive panic attack. Since we, in essence, resolved the discussion my anxiety has gone. We will see if it stays away, it is my warning sign, my Achilles heel, reminding me to check myself; what need am I ignoring? What value have I compromised? What want is driving me to distraction?