Mollena Williams, a well-known and respected speaker, educator, and Ms. Leather 2010, has inspired my submission more than she will probably ever know. One of my favorite messages she conveys is that the submissive’s prime directive (affiliate link) is to take care of the property. The meaning can apply to many things in a submissive’s journey, but right now, it hits me hard as I stand on the scale and review my eating habits. It is a familiar dance I play at the beginning of every year. My goals reset to the same thing. Lose at least 40 lbs, eat right, move more, drink more water, and get my vitamins.

And every year, I fail.

But recently, Mollena's words echoed in my head. Take care of the property. In this case, that means ensuring I'm healthy and doing everything I can to maintain a healthy body. I'm dangerously obese. I don't exercise, and I don't eat enough veggies.

I'm ready to make a change. I'm going to take care of the property.

I know there is so much more to taking care of the property than the health goals I have set for myself. Often the things we don't see as harmful to our personal submission and our submission to our partner are staring us right in the face.

What Does it Mean to “Take Care of the Property”?

The prime directive is the foundation of submission. If we can’t take care of ourselves in all ways, how can we possibly serve someone else? It may feel counterintuitive because Dominants are the authority in many things for us, but the responsibility we have is to make their lives easier. That's why the prime directive is so important to understand.

The key function of the prime directive is to take care of yourself because you belong to someone who cares for you, cherishes you, and wants the best for you. The only person who can do that is yourself. Your partner can support you, but you have to be the one to make sure you are functioning at your best.

This means you manage your physical, mental, and emotional well-being with the tools available. Get routine checkups, take medications responsibly, and follow a doctor's orders to the best of your ability. If you have mental health needs, do not rely on your Dominant to solve your problems. Leave that job to professionals.

Communicate well, and if you can’t, learn how. Relationship communication is a skill we all should practice. A healthy relationship, whether a power exchange dynamic or not, works best when the communication lines are open; both people should convey their thoughts transparently and honestly. Any conflict needs to be addressed and resolved together.

If you follow the prime directive, you will seek to meet your needs and speak up if something is missing. As a submissive, you are responsible for ensuring you are fulfilled and happy in your relationships. Advocate for yourself even when it feels hard to do so.

Show genuine interest in your partner. You should check in with your partner in good and hard times so you can constantly refresh each other. Through kindness, courtesy, honesty, and keeping commitments, you build trust and accountability with your Dominant.

Lastly, listen to your gut. Sometimes we want to ignore that little anxious feeling, but when we start to listen to it, we can protect ourselves from harm. Especially in a relationship, we need to employ our common sense. Besides the dangers of abuse, your common sense can help you secure emotional needs and enhance relationship security.

Common Ways We Are Not Upholding the Prime Directive

Do you feel like you might be slipping and not following the prime directive? Let's list a few of the more common ways we aren't taking care of the property.

We Are Over Committed

Being over-committed is a common curse in this age. How many activities fill your day so by the end, you have to try to squeeze in time to submit? Are you running from one commitment to another, without a moment’s break? How stressed out are you after a long workday? How do you think this impacts your submission? Can you surrender as you or your partner desire when your mind is full tilt and your body is screaming for rest? Probably not.

Taking care of the property means making sure that you can prioritize your engagements and not take on more than you can handle at any given time. And if you say you have to do x, y, and z, you are merely refusing to accept that you can’t say no to people who ask you for your time. Make your submission and relationship a priority by freeing up space to nurture it.

Read More: Juggling Daily Life and Submission

We Are Stressed

Much of the stress that we experience every day is self-inflicted. It isn't a simple process to reduce the stress in our lives, but it will improve our mental health and, in turn, our ability to submit to our partners. Even taking just 10 minutes out of your day to relax and slow down can be a huge help. Learn to let go of the things you can't control and manage the things you can.

Relieving stress as a couple has healing properties too. Show your Dominant that the most important person at the end of the day is them. The little fights about nothing and the added weight of a D/s relationship can take their toll. Find time this week to set a date to make that right.

Read: Stress Overpowering the Dynamic - Submissive Mediation Monday

We Don't Get Enough Sleep

Science says we get far less sleep than our bodies need. With all the commitments we have for ourselves, it's no wonder. We’re all trying to get every single waking moment filled with busy work. But if we learn to reduce what we must do in the evening, we can get a good night's sleep and have a healthier outlook.

Don't dismiss the value of a cat nap, either. Sometimes just squeezing 20 minutes of rest will boost your productivity and mood. And hell, sometimes a nap feels right.

Read More: Can BDSM Cure Insomnia?

We Neglect Pampering

Self-care is often overlooked as a way to recover and heal, but let’s prioritize it through the prime directive. Do things for yourself from time to time. Get that massage, go to the gym, buy that new outfit you saw. Make sure you do your makeup if you like to wear it, and buy the latte on your way to work. However, don't go overboard on it and add financial stress to your life. Make it a pleasant reward, and it will do more good for your psyche than you realize.

Read: Build your self-esteem through a grooming routine!

We Fail to Re-negotiate

As the relationship develops and evolves, some of the previously discussed things need to be re-discussed. Remind each other of your goals and how you plan to get there. It’s also important to renegotiate limits if you feel they’ve shifted and when your needs aren’t fulfilled.

Read More: Contracts as a Road Map to Ever-Evolving Dynamics

How to Apply the Submissive Prime Directive in Your Life

It's one thing to declare the value of the prime directive, but another to actually live it. The key to the daily application of your submissive prime directive is to establish behaviors that keep it in the front of your mind. You want to identify the opportunities that will lead to staying within the prime directive and prevent decisions that will get you into trouble. Here are the methods I use to ensure I’m taking care of the property.

  1. Put it where you can see it.

Now, I realize that having “Take care of the property” on a letterboard in your kitchen may not be the best place to scream your submissive nature. But you CAN find phrases that mean the same thing. Simply use self-care affirmations and positive phrases for the things within the directive that you need reminders for. Put them on Post-it notes, your computer’s screen saver, your home screen, and anywhere else in your line of sight. The important thing is to keep them present in your mind when you don't have the time to reflect on them.

  1. Put the right people in your life (and eliminate the wrong ones).

One of the most effective ways to apply the prime directive is to manage the company you keep. Other people don't have to share your ideals but need to fit into them. Your prime directive applies to how people treat you and make you feel about yourself. You want to nurture positive relationships and let go of toxic ones.

Time is a limited commodity. If you have people who don’t respect the time you give them, disregard your requests for personal time or make you feel like time with them is wasted, you should reduce their rights to your time.

  1. Assess your daily tasks each morning.

When you list out your daily tasks, use the prime directive to evaluate whether or not they are the right things for you to be doing. Make sure everything you do is in line with who you are, and you’ll find your day becomes productive and efficient.

Ask yourself, “who am I today?” When you can answer this question, you may find tasks that will help you take care of the property.

  1. Apply the directive in other meaningful ways.

Everything you do should be through the lens of the prime directive, or you will create unnecessary self-conflict and struggle on your journey. When you make decisions about your life, ask yourself if they are taking care of the property or if you are neglecting your needs.

Meaningful ways to apply the prime directive is to add a meditation practice to your self-care routine and advocate for yourself when you feel uncared for, tired or stressed, or need a break.

  1. Evaluate your day at bedtime.

The only way to know if you followed the prime directive is to see if you strayed from the perfect path that day. You aren’t looking to always be perfect, you are human, and things can interfere with your goals on any given day. Look to improve tomorrow. Don’t beat yourself up over any slips. All we can do is move forward. Keeping a journal of your progress within the prime directive can help you see progress and make you aware of areas that need further development.

I don't claim to know how to be the perfect submissive. I don't have the prime directive down pat, but I practice daily. When we can prioritize taking care of ourselves, it will shine in our service to our partners. We’ll be happier and healthier because we’ve learned to focus on ourselves so that we won’t lose sight of who we are.

Who's going to work on it with me? Let's make a plan to be better at the prime directive right now.