A Lesson in Propriety, or, #personalproper, Part 1

The lesson? Forget about it, or, at the very least, re/discover and re/define it for your-self (i.e. create your #personalproper)

Society is built on rules and those rules of “correct social behavior,” i.e. “what is proper,” are called proprieties. Now, I am NOT suggesting that you break all the rules of society. Those that are designed to protect people and property, including you and yours, are obviously there for your and others’ mutual benefit. However, in most personal areas of your life, allowing what is “proper” to hinder your ability to live as sensually and fully as possible is a shame, especially since what is "proper" has changed and continues to change with time and context.  What I AM suggesting is that you challenge thoughts that stop you from doing something you REALLY want to do because it is not “proper.”

Proper” assumes that there is a single, correct or “right” way to do something. Living sensually, experiencing life through all of your senses, requires you to try new things and explore new ways of doing them. That is how you change, grow, and discover what “well being” means for you. There is no place for the concept of “improper” or “incorrect” when it comes to your personal well being, especially if it is based on what others think of you or what you do (and not your own personal happiness). In other words, what is “proper” for you may be (and likely is) different than what is “proper” for someone else in reaching bliss and achieving joy.

To that end, I have created a list of the key areas where there is (or should be) no single, correct, right way because fulfillment in each of these areas is defined only at personal level for each individual. These are areas in which I encourage everyone to find and be aware of their “personal proper.”   In Part 1 of this post, I will share the first 5 areas.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, when I will share another 5 areas.   As a quick reminder,  if your “personal proper” in any of these areas harms you or others in any way, you should further challenge how that is proper for you.

#1) LOVE –If you have been in love with two (or more) people the same way for the same reasons and with the same intensity, pat yourself on the back, because you are among an extremely rare group of folks for whom that has ever been true. Love takes many forms, appears in places where you didn’t find it before, and where you never expected to find it. There is no single, correct, right way to fall in love, be in love or love!

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#2) LIFE – Would you allow someone to tell you that you are living your life “improperly?” The only person who can say that is you and, thankfully, you are also the one who has the power to change it – so live your “personal proper” today!


#3) SEX – Is there a “proper” way to have sex? As with most things on this list, some think so, despite the fact that we all know there is a such a wide range of predilections, preferences, desires and interests that it would be VERY difficult to guarantee that everyone could be happy with a single, correct, right way.


#4) HOME – “A house is not a home.” “Home is where the heart is.” These famous quotes, and others like them about the definition of home reinforce the fact that there is no single, correct, right type of home – it cannot be singly defined by four walls and a roof AND it is only correct and right as judged by the desires and comfort in one’s heart.



#5) FRIENDS – You choose your friends (unlike your family). You choose who you want to be surrounded with based on who provides what, the affection you develop, mutual respect and/or simple enjoyment. There is any number of variables that affect who you call “friend” and those variables and “friends” may change over time. And THAT IS OK! There is no single, correct, right definition of or type of friend; there is only the personal proper of who you choose at any given time.

Know that, at times, re/discovering your “personal proper” can and will be difficult. Much of our belief system is the result of socialization and, as a result, what is “proper,” in most cases, has been internalized and is difficult to see past. As children, before we had a sense of “proprieties,” we had a sense of adventure and were always willing to explore. Very early on, we were not inhibited or limited by what others thought because we didn’t know anything different than our own ideas about what would make us happy. Reclaim your inner child and challenge proprieties, using your adult wisdom and maturity to re/discover and re/define your #personalproper.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of #personalproper;  we will discuss another 5 areas of your #personalproper life!


Tanya Leake

Tanya Leake is the founder of EmBODY WELL and is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified health coach, group fitness instructor, specializing in Zumba, dance fitness and sculpt.  She teaches a variety of modes of dance, is certified as an Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor, with additional certifications in Natural Health Fundamentals, Behavior Change and Nutrition Therapy.  She is also a certified instructor for Oldways’ “A Taste of African Heritage” health through heritage program.   She brings a wealth of knowledge from a holistic perspective on health and well-being.