I used to be trapped in the belief that all relationships have to be completely reciprocal. That the only way one could be balanced was to have each one-on-one dynamic perfectly balanced. Now I take a most wholistic view, with my various interactions occupying the niches necessary to achieve an overall symmetry. Life is so much more complicated than the easy answers.
In the past I have written about being a responsible top by asking oneself the question, "Would I want that done to me?" The answer does not always have to be a straight yes to work. Sometimes, the answer is more like, "No, I wouldn't want to be treated like that. Yet that is exactly how women have been put down, held back and restrained through out history, and I want to show this man what it feels like so he can understand, empathize and thereby grow in awareness." Female domination allows the male submissive an opportunity to practice symbolic repentance, atonement and ecstatic catharsis for the traditional suppression of women's natural powers.
When I think about being a Mistress or Master, my ideal often falls into the vein of Eastern martial arts and spiritual masters. Those who have mastered themselves through self-discipline, control over one's emotions, and self-reflection. With BDSM play, I envision a balance of the placid, serene qualities of truly being at ease along with the more wild, driving and fierce energies which exist within and all around each of us. So once again, each engagement may swing the pendulum from one extreme to another, yet the whole encompasses an overarching equilibrium.