August 6, 2014

Reliable and Dependable


This is a topic that I really have not delved too much into. In fact, it is something that we rarely discuss in the BDSM world.  However, we do touch upon it via other topics which appear more common.  That being said, it is best to uncover some of the basics about how we should all seek to be.

Trust

We refer to the subject of trust quite often.  Many feel this is the basis of the BDSM relationship.  I will go one step further and mention that it is the foundation for all relationships.  Without it, there really is not a relationship.  Who wants to interact with someone they cannot trust?  We all know the feeling of encountering someone who is the sort that leaves you feeling that you need to hold onto your wallet.  A person of this nature is one who seems like he (or she) cares nothing about anyone else.  He is always in it for himself.  Obviously this is not a terrific way to endear trust among one's fellow man.  Of course, it is no surprise that we see so many dominants in the BDSM world operate in the exact same manner.  And people wonder why there is so little trust among people within this lifestyle.

When we refer to trust, what is it that we really mean?  The word is tossed around, usually in the context of not being able to trust, yet few really take the time to consider what is at the core.  When we trust someone, what we ultimately do is depend upon them.  A person worthy of trust showed him or herself to be reliable.  In other words, we can predict with a high degree of certainty what their actions or reactions will be.  They have a consistency in their interaction which is predictable.  This fosters the feeling of trust within another since that person behaves in a consistent manner.  Contrast this with the person who is the proverbial "loose cannon.  An individual of this demeanor is one who has a difficult time generating trust among co-workers or friends.  He is always acting in ways that are unpredictable.  While spontaneous action is a healthy thing, too much of it means that one is truly unreliable.  Sadly, we see way too much of this behavior especially within the BDSM community.

Dependence

Dependence is a topic that causes great confusion.  Throughout life, we are taught that it is unhealthy to be dependent upon another.  People with dependence problems tend to suffer from low self esteem while gravitating towards unhealthy relationships.  The reason for this is because he or she lacks the ability to be alone.  The poor self esteem means that one is "happier" being in a relationship even if it is unhealthy as opposed to being alone.  This same motivation is also what keeps one in a terrible situation as opposed to leaving.  Obviously, from this perspective, dependence is a bad thing.

However, if we go a bit further in our search, we can uncover some things which show us that dependence is not a bad thing at all.  In fact, in all healthy relationships, there is a need for it.  I will insert my usual caveat and mention that we need to separate the unhealthy individuals who suffer from horrific self esteem from the average person who enters the BDSM world.  When one is comfortable with him or herself, dependence is an asset in one's relationship.

Being dependent does not mean one is weak.  This is a common mistake people make.  One can be very strong while also being dependent upon another.  In fact, in a BDSM relationship, it is a natural transition.  The structure of the BDSM relationship means that each individual has certain roles to fulfill.  At the basic level, one dominates while the other submits.  It is through these acts that each person provides something the other needs.  Without submission, there is nobody to dominate and the other way around.  While the exchange of power is total, especially in M/s, each person's input into the relationship is equal.  Both have responsibility to the other.  It is through fulfilling these responsibilities that the parties become to depend upon each other.

So what does this really mean?  Another way of phrasing it is the sub, as an example, comes to be able to count upon her dominant.  The reverse is also true.  Through consistent action, decision-making, and emotional control, each party basically knows what the other is going to do.  There is no fear or concern if something will be provided or not.  When the sub needs the safe space it is available to her....all the time.  At the same time, when the dominant is in need of his sub, she is there to fulfill what is required of her.  Each person shows up and handles his/her roles in the relationship.  A dominant making consistent, concise decisions will provide the forum for a submissive to rely upon.  Notice how it is a two-way street.  In a healthy BDSM relationship, both the dominant and submissive come to depend (rely) upon each other.

Starts With Oneself

As with most everything I write about, reliability starts with oneself.  It is unrealistic to expect one to depend upon you if you are, indeed, not dependable.  Therefore, it is important to look at your own life and actions to determine how you fare in this area.  It is a sad truth that few are people who are called "dependable".  Most people operate from a haphazard perspective bouncing around unclear about what is desired or required.  A lack of clarity does not lead to reliable decisions.  Hence, one needs to focus upon what is truly desired or needed before moving forward.

Part of the process of becoming reliable is to garner the discipline within oneself to do what is required.  For those who are into health and weight loss, there is a set of consistent actions which must be taken to reach the desired goal.  Many of these actions are difficult in the face of temptation.  Thus, one needs to exert discipline within oneself to consistently keep taking the proper action.  It is this consistency which allows one to reach his or her goals.

Getting back to trust, the problem most people have with this topic is that they cannot trust themselves.  Most people have a difficult time keeping promises.  However, what makes this even more destructive is that the easiest promises to break are those made with oneself.  Over time, we let ourselves down so much that we know we cannot rely upon ourselves to take the action needed.  This mindset enters into all of our interactions because, if I am not reliable, how can anyone else be?  Ergo, we see how important it is to be able to trust oneself before trusting another.

In closing, consistency is something that we all need to strive for.  Look at your life and ask yourself where can you become more consistent.  Remember, it is through this that one creates the confidence to be able to take the proper action when needed.  It is also the means which those around us do the same.  Ponder the impact of this upon your BDSM relationship if you are in one.  Consistency in your actions and responses will put your partner on much firmer footing with you.  Whether you are dominant or submissive, it is equally important for you to internalize this point.  A BDSM relationship is really no different from any other relationship once we set the power exchange aspect aside.  And ultimately, if you cannot trust or depend upon the person you are interacting with, what is there to that interaction?  Is it not really a waste of time?

DN  

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