December 12, 2012

The Opinion Of Others

Your life is yours to do with it as you wish.

This is a fundamental belief of mine.  Today, I live in a relatively free country although many of those freedoms, in my view, are being eliminated.  This allows me to chose how I want to live my life and what I do with my time.  Every individual walking this planet is given the same thing.  Basically, we are granted a certain period of time to live and then we die.  Some of us get 8 decades while others only get a few days.  The bottom line is none of us are going to live forever and it is up to us to determine how we utilize that time.

Living According To Others

My regular readers know I often write about "societal conditioning".  The reason I do this is because we are all programmed by our surroundings to live a certain way.  Most people have both direct and indirect influences upon them.  Some of the direct ones are parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, and other family members.  The media or overall cultural norms are some of the indirect factors which shape our lives.  Regardless of how it is derived the truth is that most of us adopt beliefs that reflect those around us.

In addition to beliefs, another factor that arises is the common idea that people succumb to the wishes of others.  Societal conditioning, in all its forms, trains us the proper paths in life to follow.  If we stray from what is considered "normal", one risks being ostracized.  Peer pressure is a powerful weapon.  Few like to be isolated and feel different from everyone else.  People, inherently it seems, have a natural insecurity which is magnified when one is made to feel different.  

Therefore, we embrace the concept of "people pleasing".  Trying to stay in the good graces of others is so vital to most of us.  We follow the path established by others so that we will not suffer any of the ill consequences of not doing so.  Individuality is stressed until one actually exercises it.  Then we find there is a price to pay for "leaving the reservation".  This is why one from a long line of doctors also becomes a doctor (or whatever profession).  People will marry the proper person (race, religion, looks, etc..) for the same reason.  Political, religious, and sports affiliations are usually a matter of the family tendencies and the physical location where one was raised.  Overall, people live according to the ideals of others.

Understanding That Its Your Life

BDSM is an alternate life path.  Even though there are a number of recent situations which helped to move the lifestyle more towards the mainstream, the bottom line is that people who engage in BDSM activities, at least to the lifestyle degree, are in the minority.  Therefore, those of us who elect this way of life open ourselves up to the criticism of others.  Most do not understand what we are into and can only judge.  Open-mindedness, something that is talked about a great deal, is rarely present.  The emotional impact is enhanced when it is coming from someone who is close to us.

Your life is just that....yours.  It is imperative that you make decisions that lead to your fulfillment.  Certainly we all have responsibilities and there are times we must do things which we do not like.  However, that does not mean one is obligated to follow a particular path simply to appease the opinions of others.  The truth is that no matter what you do, the critics will still exist.  Thus, you might as well go about doing what makes you happy.

Does this mean we are arrogant and obtuse about our decisions?  No.  I am a believer that just because we choose to live a certain way, in this instance BDSM, that does not mean we are entitled to infringe upon others.  If, for example, one moves in with his/her parents, that does not mean he or she walks around the house naked with only a riding crop (unless the parents are into that type of thing).  I see the tendency of so many who are new to the lifestyle to tell everyone what they are now involved in.  Most find out that the joy is not shared by his or her loved ones.  Their lack of understanding (and disappointment) is quickly expressed.

You choice to enter the BDSM world is an individual decision.  This is not something that can be done to satisfy a partner, friend, or anyone else.  BDSM is a wonderful way to live for those who truly desire it.  At the same time, it is also difficult and trying.  Persistence is a trait that many require.  Sadly, if you are not committed to it for yourself, you will find this quality lacking.  And that is one of the main reasons why so many just "dabble" in the lifestyle.

Whatever your decision, remember that the opinion of others does not matter.  This is your life.  Trying to satisfy those around you is an impossible task.  You have only a certain number of days left on this planet.  In the end, everyone with an opinion will end up dead just like you.  At that time, what they think will not matter.  Well, guess what?  Their opinions are meaningless right now.  Decide to live life as you see fit.  If BDSM hits home with you, pursue it with all the vigor you can muster.  There is no reason why you should have to settle for anything less.

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