BDSM offers a unique view into this realm. Few ever take the time to consider the reasoning that goes into choosing this lifestyle. People who ultimately elect to follow this way of life do so only after considerable searching.
Pain As A Motivator
There are two reasons why people do anything: to either gain pleasure or avoid pain. This is an important tidbit to understand when one is looking at motivation. And, of the two options, pain tends to be the more powerful motivator. People will claim to do things for virtuous reasons. However, in most instances, pain will be the instigator that creates change.
We see this concept in detail when we look at the plight of people who suffer from addiction. No matter what the substance, alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling, food, nothing really happens until one reaches a "bottom". In this instance, bottom is another word for pain. One begins the road to recovery only when he or she cannot tolerate any more pain. Of course, there are many reasons to get better before this point. However, the pleasure (usually in the form of logic) does nothing to sway a person in the throws of addiction. It is only after the confrontation with total loss and that pain associated with that where one can take the steps to progress forward.
Pain In The Traditional
Everyone who is involved in BDSM encountered enough pain in the traditional realm to make themselves question it. This is the onset of the process of self growth. Those who question what is occurring have the ability to overcome. Contradict this with those who blindly swallow whatever is served up to them in the form of dogma. The best example of this is the idea that society sells us on what "normal" is. From a young age, we are taught what relationships are too look like. Of course, it is inferred that anything that goes outsides the bounds of what is presented is not allowed. At the same time, we are told this is the path to happiness.
For those of us who arrived at the door of this lifestyle, it is easy to see how we found the traditional lacking. It is not uncommon for one to have multiple relationships that ended in complete failure. In many instances, the main problem was not the individuals involved but, rather, the fact that one was trying to live in a way that was ill-suited for him or her. The pain associated with this caused one to begin to question the instilled belief system.
BDSM To Self Actualization
The internal questioning that is started with this realization is often the start to a lifelong process. BDSM is a way of life that offers areas that are drastically different from what one was previously exposed to. Each time one encounters something new, it is up to him or her to ask "do I like this?". Again, this is the process of evaluating.
Each of us has a life to live as we see fit. This is a secret that society seems to keep hidden from us. Instead, it offers the a la carte plan where we select from a few different models. However, the reality of life is that our fulfillment and happiness is an individual thing. Every person on this planet, all 6+ billion of us are different. What works for one might not have the same result for another. It is for this reason that we are each responsible for our own path in life.
What is your highest end? How will you achieve happiness, peace, and fulfillment in your journey? In other words, how are you meant to live? These are questions that people have asked themselves for thousands of years. The meaning of life is a search mankind in every generation seeks to answer. As you can guess, there is no consensus answer. This is something that must be done individually.
Opportunities are before us everyday. This is a fact that most overlook. The tendency is for one to "miss the forest through the trees". Chasing all that society promotes as the means to happiness creates a result where one is left wanting. Taking a step back and looking at what one really wants is crucial. BDSM offers this opportunity. It is my experience that nobody accidentally falls into this lifestyle. Instead, it is a conscious choice achieved only after deep searching.
Choosing to follow the path of BDSM, in whatever manner one selects, is only the start of a process that should continue the rest of one's life. Everything we encounter needs to be processed. No matter what it is, we need to determine where we stand with it. There are many things that we do not like. What is it about those things that turns us off? Why do we dislike them and what are we willing to do about them? If it is in our control, are we willing to take the steps necessary to make the changes? This is what personal development is all about. Once a problem area is recognized, then it is possible to take steps to alter that. However, to be effective, we must be able to associate enough pain with it the present behavior/situation. If not, any change will be fleeting.
Self actualization is the pursuit of living up to our highest ideal. Being able to grow as an individual is what establishes the foundation for all our interactions. Those who can change and grow are able to master themselves. BDSM is an option that helps open this door for each of us. Embrace it with both arms.
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