The title of master should be given and not self appointed.
This applies on both the individual and the group scene level. He who calls himself a “master” of anything is most likely not. He whom *many* other people think of in those terms is more likely to be, although that’s still no guarantee, because few people know what goes on behind closed doors, no matter what a given person projects in public.
As a title, it is *earned*. It cannot legitimately be self-proclaimed.
As a descriptor of any sort, it must still be earned, by one process or another. It is still never self-assigned.
Yes, “mastery” in general may be an internal thing; however, when applied in a BDSM kind of situation, it is something that other people are in a far better position to assess about a given individual than he ever is of his own self, no matter who he is.
For that matter, that’s true in the rest of life as well. We don’t get to appoint our own selves “masters” of anything, in any context. It’s still for others to evaluate and decide – and more than one.
Just because one calls himself a “master” does not in any way mean he actually is one, or has mastered anything.
*Neither* dominant nor “master” are really self-appointed concepts, although dominant comes closer. Still, there are those who too readily confuse domineering behavior with actual dominance, and so there are still constraints on what really is dominant vs domineering or abusive.
But the big red flag is a person who insists on being called “master” by anyone, including his own submissive, until such time as she or they feel it in their own guts and assign the label to him themselves. A bigger red flag still is one who believes he’s entitled to the title or to consider himself a master of anything just because he continues to work on himself. Capitalization in the abstract of a common noun like this is also a screaming red flag.
A *real* master would never dream of calling himself such, and the majority even shy away from being so addressed or referred to even by others.
People who talk about internal mastery being a function of just working on oneself are completely self-deluded and only showing their own ignorance, particularly as how it relates to BDSM.