More Than Punishment
When people ponder the word discipline, especially within BDSM, images of punishment come to mind. Most instantly go to the idea of paddling or some form of behavior modification. While this is a correct view of the word, it is only one of its meanings. There is another aspect which goes even deeper.
Another image that is helpful is to think of the military. What is the first thing they start training new recruits upon entering boot camp? The process of discipline starts the second they step off that bus. In this situation, we have 18 year old kids who are put through daily routines meant to instill the self-discipline necessary to succeed in the military. Things such as bed making, shoe shining, and marching are all done to foster this mentality. When it comes to discipline, this idea is crucial.
There is another mental image I want to utilize. Think of the professional body builder. Consider the muscle bound Adonis you see in fitness magazines or competing in the Mr. Universe competition. These guys look like they were chiseled out of stone. Every muscle is properly developed. How did this happen? Naturally, these men spent countless hours not only working out but also monitoring their diets while eating for a specific purpose. How many of us can say that? The point is that these individuals decided upon an end goal and modeled their behavior to achieve that outcome. Great discipline was required to achieve that end.
Self Discipline Is A Must
When I refer to discipline, I am going to be pointing to the concept of the bodybuilder. This is a sport which is spent mostly in isolation. Therefore, to achieve excellence in this field, one needs to exception self-discipline. I find the same to be true in the BDSM world. If one is lacking in this quality, his or her existence in this way of life is going to less than stellar.
Focusing upon the dominant side of things, I am always astounded when I see some who proclaim to be "Masters" yet so obviously ill-equipped for that title. In short, these people live a life that is totally out of control. What is sad, they believe they are qualified to run the life of another. And what is more annoying is that there are some who believe this to be true.
One cannot proclaim to be dominant without self-discipline. It is impossible to control your own life without it. There are things that we all need to do on a daily basis which we do not desire. That is a fact of life. However, those with the discipline to take action end up achieving success in our society. That is how it works. We live in a world that bases things upon action. That is the bridge from the mind to reality. Those who act achieve results.
Getting back to our exceptional "Masters", ever notice how many are out of shape, have financial trouble, and lack emotional control? To me, these are telltale signs that one is out of control. Certainly being like the bodybuilder is not a goal for everyone but someone who is carrying an extra 100-150 pounds is exemplifying a lack of self control. At the same time, those who are deeply indebted exhibit the same behavior. So many lack the ability to delay instant gratification, thus spending themselves into debt. We see this by the reports stating what the average credit card balances are. A person simply lacks the ability to tell himself "no".
Does this mean that everyone who is overweight or suffering financially is not dominant? Not at all. There are circumstances for everything. Many lost jobs through no fault of their own in recent years only to feel that impact financially. At the same time, there are people who suffer physical ailments or require medication which is a main reason for weight gain. Therefore, we must be careful to not encompass everyone without first looking at the situation of the individual. However, I think you will find that these ones are the exception.
To be masters of our own fate, self-discipline is required. One needs to be able to take action where required. Sometimes this is a decision; other times it is getting up and going to the gym. Whatever is necessitated in that moment is done. This is what mastery is all about.
BDSM And Growth
BDSM is about growth. Over time, those who are in this lifestyle find they grow as people. The journey that brings someone into this life is an inner one. That is the first step. People start to learn about themselves by questioning the life they are leading. I am a big proponent of one spending time with him or herself before entering into a BDSM relationship. This is where one uncovers his or her true self.
For growth to occur, we need to move outside our comfort zones. This is not an easy task for many people. Society conditions us to remain comfortable. We are warned not to take risks. Settling is the norm as opposed to fighting for the exceptional. Thus we see many who fail to grow. To me, BDSM is different.
Since we consciously chose this way of life as opposed to being conditioned for it, we each have a responsibility to excel and grow as much as we can. As people, we are examples of what this life has to offer. Each situation is an opportunity to grow and realize more of our potential. Mastering ourselves, whether dominant or submissive, is an outcome to continually strive for. Character is something that is lacking in this world and the BDSM community is a reflection of that. Nevertheless, people have the opportunity to grow through their experiences and being models of excellence.
Does this mean that one is going to change the world? It is possible but not likely. The point I am making is that an individual should approach every situation throughout the day with the mindset of being excellent. Of course, along the way, many failures will be met. If one is submissive, that is where the first form of discipline can arise. However, is one is into disciplining herself (not punishing), very little will need to be done by the dominant other than pointing out the transgression. This is where self discipline will make a submissive more valuable. At the same time, we need to see the same behavior from the dominant since he (or she) is the one responsible for guiding the entire relationship.
BDSM is a lot more than whips and chains. Those who live this way of life do a great deal more than just engage in power exchange behaviors. This is what is noticed from the outside. However, with power comes responsibility. For one to properly utilize that power, he or she must continually grow and be discipline in approach. Nothing is worse than a totally inconsistent dominant. This will often leave a submissive unsure, leery, and scared. Not exactly qualities to use as a foundation for a successful relationship.
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