We in the BSDM community talk a lot about negotiation as a skill to cultivate. We talk about negotiating especially in pickup play, but generally as a way of making for good scenes.
There's another kind of negotiation that's often left undiscussed, and that's the real negotiations we make with ourselves and our partners about what we want out of life, and it's that negotiation which I'm so incredibly grateful to the community for helping me learn.
The fact is that throughout my life, I've found myself in positions where I was unhappy because I'd learned that the best way to try to get your own needs met was through helping others, and in doing so, others would find their way to meeting your needs. Just as this is a failure in economics, "trickle down need fulfillment" is not a good way to find happiness. It sometimes works, but often ends up leading to silent resentment, and even suppression that can become so systemic that your needs become lost, even to yourself.
Through kink, I've found myself confronting what I really want, in play and in life. Asking for what you want isn't easy, and finding a way to get everyone's needs met is even harder, but at least now I have the skills to begin the conversation - and more often than not, I end up happier in the end.
So thank you all for helping me be better at asking for what I want, and helping me get what I need.