What Do You Like?
I see so many enter the lifestyle with a preconceived notion of what it is all about. While I presume this is a natural state for most, I feel it is a mistake in that it limits what people will ultimately experience. It is rather ironic to see someone embrace something they one shied away from simply because they pre-determined that they "didn't like that". As the old saying goes, do not knock it until you try it.
Closed-mindedness is something that is contradictory to BDSM. Think about it for a second. When one enters the BDSM world, he or she is embarking upon something that is considered to be "an alternative lifestyle". This is not mainstream, at least not openly mainstream. The simple act of entering this in any form requires one to cast aside part of the belief system that most of us were raised with. Since society does not actively promote BDSM as a way of life, those who are attracted to it have a certain degree of open-mindedness.
What I find interesting is how this open-mindedness exits once someone settles into a particular aspect they find appealing. Suddenly, this is the "right" way while another approach is the "wrong way". I see so much intolerance for the likes of others simply because it is not to someone's liking. Naturally I feel these people should just be ignored because there is no sense in listening to them. Quite often, they end up being worse than the intolerance we face in the vanilla world.
So, your journey starts (and continues) with asking yourself "what do I like?". This is a question that continues to yield results as we travel down the BDSM path. Over time, I found that many of the things that did not interest me 10 years ago suddenly are intriguing. Also, as I learn more and expand my skills, more options are available to me. These two things combined alerted me to the fact that I should not close my mind to any aspect of the lifestyle. I simply do not know what the future holds.
The easiest way to gain knowledge is by reading. Now, I must mention a concept that I repeated on here for years. There is a lot of misinformation out there about this way of life. People often have an agenda which differs greatly from the average BDSM explorer. The porn industry, as an example, has the agenda to make money hence puts forth an idea that will help excite people sexually. At the same time, many of the "BDSM romance" writers glamorized and romanticize the life of a slave which seriously alters the reality of that part of the lifestyle. 50 Shades is a prime example.
Nevertheless, in spite of this fact, reading is still one of the fastest ways to expand your knowledge base. Once again, this is not only relegated to BDSM but life overall. There are hundreds of different sites which offer tremendous information about different aspects of this life. Try to focus upon those where a person talks about his or her experiences. For example, many slaves have taken to "journaling" their experiences online. For anyone interested in this path, a site such as that will offer a great deal of first-hand knowledge and tips. So I feel spending time reading about the lifestyle is crucial.
Application of Knowledge Leads To Talents
It is said that knowledge is not power, only potential power. Unless one takes the knowledge and applies it to life, little is gained from that knowledge. In other words, it is basically wasted. For that reason, it is vital that one take the knowledge garnered from reading and put it into application.
Focusing upon one talent's is where one is able to expand his or her abilities. If one wants to be a better Master, as an example, it is best if he focus upon what he is able to do in the area of control, financial expertise, certain play areas, and psychology. All of these areas enter into the owning of another. At the same time, depending upon the experience of this individual, there will be areas where he falls short. Improving this while expanding his talents in these areas will make his domination improved. The same is true for a slave. She will have things that she excels at while being a bit poor in other areas. Continually looking at oneself, especially after gaining some mental insight, while seeking to improve is the name of the game. This is something that applies equally to both dominant and submissive.
A terrific exercise for everyone to engage upon is an inventory process. Take an honest look at yourself and inventory your BDSM lifestyle. Look at your talents to appreciate where you excel while alerting yourself to your shortcomings. It is impossible to rectify something that we are not aware of. So inventorying where we presently are is a starting point. As we get closer to the new year, we are going to hear a lot about goals for 2014. Perhaps, it best if you incorporate some benchmarks that you want to reach within your own BDSM abilities. For example, do you want to learn about and experience electrical play? Are you a bad manager of money? If so, perhaps studying the basics of money management is helpful (vital if you want to own someone in my opinion). Whatever you uncover when inventorying your skills, make it a goal to do something about it. Again, focus on those areas which would be defined as talents. Ultimately, when you are in a BDSM relationship, the "talents" are what you bring to the table. If you are limited in what you can do, your offering will be equally as limiited.
Most of you know I feel BDSM is about growth. Success in this world requires one to continually look within. What are you doing today to expand your abilities? This is something we all should ask ourselves on a daily basis. Focusing upon your talents enables you to experience more that the BDSM world has to offer. At the same time, it will increase your attractiveness to another since you are able to offer more to that person. Keep this in mind as you are struggling through the inventory process. There is a payoff at the end.
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