a virtueA couple of months ago, I made my first try at writing a little about a Dominant's responsibilities. It was a relatively short and rather rambling article. I hope one day reasonably soon to return to that subject matter again, but for the moment I'm returning to a statement I made in that particular post.
In talking about helping a submissive overcome "resistance," I opined:
For the dominant it requires an inexhausible supply of patience, an acceptance of the fact that these things are going to happen, and an unflagging willingness to help her work through them.
I've had occasion to think about the value of patience recently as a result of a couple of discussions L and I have enjoyed.
I had been talking about some directions in which I anticipated her growth as a submissive would take her. There was a hint of misunderstanding as to whether these thoughts of mine were something along the lines of expectations, or "goals." In actuality it was more speculation than expectation on my part (at least in the sense of the connotation of "expectation" as something that would cause me disappointment if not lived-up-to).
As I endeavored to explain my thinking to her, I found myself particularly wanting to assure her that if/when these things happened, they would happen naturally and at their own pace. I wanted to be certain she understood that no matter the length of time involved (weeks, months, or years) I would not grow impatient because the things under discussion were things that would/could only happen on their own, rather than through any conscious effort by either or both of us.
As I thought more about this talk later, I reflected upon how very important patience can be for a Dom. I had earlier written about its value in handling frustration and maintaining self-control, but there's an aspect I had neglected in that post.
Patience on the part of a Dominant, i.e., real, tangible patience ...patience a submissive can truly see and feel... is one of the finest gifts a Dom can give. Being patient does not imply the fostering of a permissive environment in which whatever a submissive does is more-or-less O.K. Expectations and goals can surely be legitimate parts of a D/s relationship, and there are times when meeting them should be insisted upon. It is equally valid (IMHO) to say, however, that a submissive should know that sincerely and and diligently and consciencously doing his/her best IS enough.
A submissive who enjoys the safety-net of her Dominant's patience is probably going to be more willing to challenge the boundaries of her comfort zone, more willing to allow her Dom to stretch her limits, more willing to "push the envelope" in general, because she knows that the one who cares for her as no other does recognizes that she's human. He accepts that she's going to stumble from time to time, and will be there to help her to her feet again. He expects her best, but is satisfied with just exactly that ...even when "best" isn't perfection.
Perhaps I'm over-simplifying to call this sort of nurturing just "patience," but patience is surely an integral part of it. So in a world where the lines between vice and virtue are often blurred, here's one thing at least that should remain clearly in virtue's column.
posted by John | 6:58 PM [permalink]