December 15, 2013

Lifestyle Commitment


In my last post, I covered the idea about commitment.  When this term is used, most typically associate it with the idea of being faithful to another person.  For example, partners in a marriage are committed to each other in every way including sexually.  While this is an applicable use for the term, I find that this mindset cuts short the power of it.  As was commitment is the basis for all success.  Without it, one is destined to fail.

Commitment To The Lifestyle

I often write how this is the starting point for all success in BDSM.  Throughout the years I noticed that people tend to sabotage their chance of success within this lifestyle simply because they fail to take this one act.  It is truly amazing how this error causes so much destruction.  However, what does it mean to "commit to the lifestyle"?

BDSM is considered an "alternative lifestyle".  What this means is that it is not considered mainstream.  Naturally, we could engage in tremendous debate as to what exactly is mainstream or "normal".  Nevertheless, we will leave that subject to the philosophers of our time.  For our purposes, it is sufficient to understand that our way of life is not part of the common dogma espoused by society.  Therefore, it requires a conscious decision to enter it.  Those of us who live with this as the core foundation of our lives made the choice at one time to follow this path.  It most likely was not something that was instantly thrust upon us.  Instead, after a great deal of searching, we determined that we were better suited for this journey as opposed to the "normal".

The idea of committing to the lifestyle is independent of the people in it.  This is a crucial point to remember.  I encounter so many, usually reading their profiles, who are disgusted with the people (usually online) they encounter.  The basic truth is that it is not easy to sift through all the garbage that is out there.  At the same time, contrary to what many believe, BDSM relationships require a great deal of work.  Just because a submissive and dominant join together, that is not a guarantee for success.  Fundamental interpersonal skills are still required.  After a series of failures, the individual either begins to question whether BDSM is for him/her or allows the frustration to take over and consider the idea of returning to the vanilla world.

What I see happening in instances like this is the individual is wavering in the commitment made to the lifestyle.  The analogy I like to use is regarding sexuality.  Does one question whether he is heterosexual simply because a relationships, or a series of relationships, went bad?  In a few instances, the answer is yes.  Yet this is not the majority.  Most understand that the choice in sexuality was not the cause for the failures although they might not truly comprehend what created it.  Nevertheless, their commitment to their chosen sexual ideal is not open to debate.

We do not see the same thing in BDSM.  Upon encountering resistance because of all the pretenders out there, our BDSM aficionado starts to turn away from the lifestyle.  The foundation is starting to crack since the commitment level is declining.  Again, the dependence upon others is the condition for the commitment.  Sadly, this might be part of the reason why the BDSM interactions failed.  In my last post, I wrote about the tire kickers and how they feel BDSM is like a new car; something you test drive.  Of course, if you are the person on the other side of that, the one who is committed to BDSM, encountering these types too often is extremely frustrating.  It is understandable how the irritation grows when continually experiencing this.  However, like one does not begin to question his sexuality, it is best to follow the same course with BDSM.

What Brought You To BDSM?

Perhaps it is best to take a step back.  You might want to ask yourself "what brought you to BDSM?".  In other words, why are you here?  Since this is an alternative lifestyle, the odds are great that you were not raised in this atmosphere.  People typically raise their children with the cultural norms they believe in which is most often "normalcy".  Hence we see vanilla, equal parity, heterosexual relationships considered to be normal.  Everything else outside of that is termed "alternative".  Ergo, something brought you here; what was it?

The answer to this question is usually dissatisfaction.  Society, in its' promotion of dogma, sells us on a lot of outcomes.  One of the basic tenets is that by following the path laid out, one will achieve happiness and fulfillment.  However, if that outcome was attained by us, then none of us would be in BDSM.  The search we undertook came as a result of dissatisfaction with our present circumstances.  Perhaps you are one who went through a couple of divorces.  Or worse, maybe you found yourself in a "dead" marriage that was going nowhere.  Many of us were alone having seen every intimate relationship we had blown up for one reason or another.  Whatever the specifics, the bottom line is that we were not fulfilled adhering to society's plan.

Hence we undertook our journey.  While the course of action many take is varied, at some point some research was engaged upon.  In this era, with the Internet making information readily available, most of us began reading websites/blogs about the subject.  Over time, through the increase in knowledge coupled with our own internal search, we realized that BDSM offered us something the traditional was lacking.  The idea of being involved in power exchange relationships sat well with us.  This started us on our journey towards lifetime fulfillment.

My point with all of this is we often lose sight of the basis which created our decision in the first place.  People are afflicted with the idea that the "grass is always greener" elsewhere.  Many of us find ourselves uninvolved in BDSM relationships only to have our faces rubbed in it when we see our friends and family happily getting involved in vanilla success.  Thus, our minds start to question whether or not we would be better off returning to that path.  At this point I will tell you that this line of thinking is a mistake.  I personally pulled this trick only to conclude I was no more suited for vanilla than previously.  The relationship structure was no more suited to me than before.  I think most find this out if they are honest with themselves.

Nevertheless, we see how easy it is for someone to forget the more distant experiences while only remembering the most recent pain.  Yes, it is painful to experience the pitfalls dealing with all the pretenders online.  However, do not think for a moment that the vanilla dating sites are free from the infestation of cons and liars either.  They are not.  At the same time, this course is not about the other people.  While this seems counter intuitive especially when one is alone, the thing to remember is this journey is about oneself.  It is the examining of what is at one's core which leads to the decisions we make.  BDSM is a natural choice for those who are in touch with their domination and submission cores.

Shakespeare wrote "to thy own self be true".  Notice he did not put "contingent upon other people".  We all have to decide what we want in life.  This is a decision that is ultimately up to us.  Some might find this hard to believe but we are responsible for our own happiness.  The choices you make will lead to that.  Taking responsibility for this is what allows us to enjoy freedom.  It is when we pass this off to others that we encounter emotional bondage (and not the good kind either).  Making a conscious choice to pursue BDSM based upon the observations and insights into the events of our lives is a step to freedom.  Many take it.  However, a fair portion of these people go right out the same door when they encounter some difficulty.  Of course, this is not to say that BDSM is for everyone who encounters it.  There are plenty who have no interest in our way of life.  Yet for those select few who know what their core is, there really is no other choice but to abide by your original decision.  The vanilla world either is or it is not for you.  If it was not at one time, why do you think it will be now?  Persistence is a trait that emerges when one is fully committed.  If you have a commitment to the BDSM lifestyle and stick with it, you will find what you need.  Do not treat BDSM like you would an outfit meaning you toss it aside when it does not feel like it fits properly.  Running is never an option.

Remember, it is always helpful to remind yourself what brought you to this way of life in the first place.  There is great power in remembering the pitfalls and emotional pain of the past.  This might offer the stimulation to stick with it.  Contrary to popular belief, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

DN  

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