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Limitations and Personal Growth

Author: Rover

Filed in: dominance, submission


My usual disclaimer applies. These are simply My personal musings regarding a D/s topic. It works in My relationships, but certainly does not work in all relationships. As Y/you read, think about what may or may not work for Y/you in Y/your unique relationship. Take what makes sense for Y/you, and discard the rest.


I've participated in and observed a hundred discussions on limits. In each of those discussions, the conversation focused exclusively upon physical limits - limits for activities and scenes. While it's vital to know and explore those limits, I find that to focus so exclusively upon them ignores another vital aspect of the D/s relationship.

It's true that Dominants are responsible for their submissive's lifestyle growth, and truth be known, that's an important part of a D/s relationship. Yet it's still just a part of it. And when Y/you stop to think, while it's an important and vital part, it's actually a very small part. How much time do W/we spend scening? Maybe five percent, if W/we're lucky?

Now, I'm not in any way trying to diminish the importance of limits for that five percent of O/our lives. Establishing them, exploring them, discovering them, and even expanding them when appropriate (ie: not hard limits) are vital functions in a healthy D/s relationship. However, no matter how important they may be, it only covers that five percent of O/our lives. What of the other 95 %?

As Dominants, We are not charged with simply the lifestyle growth of Our submissives. Our obligations, responsibilities and commitments go far beyond that five percent of O/our D/s lives together. That's one of the things that differentiates a D/s relationship from a BDSM play partner. No, I'm not saying one is better than the other, just different. In a D/s relationship, We Dominants accept the responsibility for the other 95 % of Our submissive's lives, and make a commitment to their personal growth as well as their lifestyle growth. Just as in their BDSM activities, submissives have limits in their personal lives that need to be discovered, explored, and expanded when appropriate. Because the term "limits" has become so closely associated with BDSM activities, I prefer to call these personal limits "limitations".

Limitations stand in the way of O/our personal growth every bit as much as limits in BDSM activities. Like those BDSM limits, some limitations are hard limits that should never be touched, but most personal limitations simply hold U/us back from achieving O/our full potential. They are the cause of frustration and the obstacle to achievement and success. They can affect relationships with friends and family. They can affect employment and career advancement. They can affect the enjoyment of hobbies and activities. They can even be limitations to enjoying a full and loving relationship. In short, these personal limitations affect most every area of O/our lives.

As We Dominants take on that full responsibility within a D/s relationship, We also take on the responsibility to help find those limiting factors in Our submissive's lives. Generally speaking, what is evident to Us is a symptom of that limitation. We should take particular note whenever Our submissives says they "can't" do something. Whenever they denigrate their own capabilities. Whenever they express frustration or a desire to quit something. Whenever they exhibit signs of changes in their lives, like a new hairstyle or a new clothing style. Whenever there is a change in body language, posture, or the manner in which they communicate, or not communicate. Whenever there is a change in an established pattern to their lives. Those are signs of someone that wants to change something about themselves. And those are also signs that something is limiting their lives, and they are choosing to change themselves in ways that does nothing to overcome that limitation.

There may be limitations from previous bad relationships. There may be limitations of self doubt. There may be limitations of fear. There may be limitations of understanding. The list is endless. And the cause of those limitations may differ considerably. So, in addressing those limitations, it's important not to chase a never ending litany of symptoms. We must dig deep at times to find the source of those limitations, and address that source directly.

That digging process is called communication. Talking about the limitations. Finding those sources together. Don't assume that submissives know the source of their limitations, because in many cases they don't. Discover them together, and provide plenty of reassurance along the way. It may be helpful to keep a list of those limitations as they are discovered, and to prioritize them. Exhibit pride in Your submissive as progress is made, and especially when a limitation is overcome.

Fear and self doubt are two common limiting factors in many submissive's lives. It's vital for submissive to know that overcoming them, does not necessarily mean that fear and self doubt will cease to exist, but that they will grow to the point that they can act in spite of them, and no longer allow fear and self doubt to limit them. I like to use the analogy of jumping off the high board at the swimming pool. It's frightening to stand at the top and think about jumping. It's easy to doubt one's ability to jump while standing up there. And it's precisely the thinking about it that causes many people to turn around and go back down the ladder. Overcoming that fear of jumping does not mean that the fear ceases to exist. It simply means that the fear no longer limits O/our ability to actually jump. In this example, the fear can become an enjoyment all it's own, and becomes more closely associated with excitement. It's always there, no matter how often one makes the jump. But it has been overcome in that it no longer limits one from jumping. And in the process, one no longer doubts their ability to jump. Each successive time they climb that ladder, they know they can and will jump. That's growth. That's overcoming a limitation.

I would love to see more discussions in open forums about limitations in O/our lives, and certainly more discussions within relationships about them. D/s relationships do not revolve around BDSM activities, as enjoyable as they may be. The rest of life, of living together in a D/s lifestyle, occupies much more of O/our time together. The limitations W/we have in that 95 % of O/our lives that is not spent scening, have a far greater impact upon the quality of O/our lives and O/our relationships. Let's place a greater emphasis upon personal growth, and O/our limitations. Not to exclude BDSM limits, but to make sure that personal limitations also get the attention that they deserve.

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