Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cultivating Submission, post one: embracing humility


Hello! Quick checking in here. I'm back from a pretty busy trip involving a three hour time difference that knocked the wind out of my sails! Sunday I'll post about how things played out while I was away (and how Jason whipped me into shape when I got home.) To those of you who have written to me,please be patient as I'm playing catch up this week. In the meantime,  I'm bringing up my Cultivating Submission series I posted a year ago, one of the most popular set of posts I've written. Why not have a little refresher?  :)

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As I explained in this post, the theme for July is Cultivating Submission. Please look for upcoming weekly posts with challenges you're encouraged to take.

(Before you read this series, please take a moment to read this post: To Whom Should You Submit?)

This week, I will focus on little ways we can grow in humility, let go of control, and submit ourselves more fully. 

It can sometimes be frustrating to not be where you want to be, and often, many of us find in our pursuits of lofty goals, that we are forced to take two steps forward and one step back. What's difficult about this is those two steps forward are so motivating, encouraging, and make us think, at times, that we will continue to have that forward progress. And then a step back hits, and it's disheartening. I've had this happen in so many areas of my life, and our D/S dynamic is no exception. 

When Jason and I first began, we really took off. Since we already had the basic dynamic of his being the Dominant partner and my being the Submissive, as it's always been our dynamic from the beginning, we didn't have actual roles to shift. Really, it was just a matter of figuring out how we would incorporate a more serious approach to our roles. For a time, it was so frustrating to me, because I knew in my head what I wanted (I should say, I thought I knew in my head what I wanted, as the actual application was quite different), and we would seem to get into the two-step-forward, one-step-back rut. I was frustrated because I was convinced that truly, our marriage would be so much better if we were to make this lifestyle choice. 

It certainly was better, eventually. But I had some learning to do first. So did he.

There were learning curves. We had to work quite a bit out, and I needed to be patient as we did. In the meantime, some good friends advised me to take the focus off of myself, and put it on him. 

Well, that was a different way of looking at things. And so I tried. 

Before we even incorporated discipline into our dynamic (which is a serious game changer), I had decided that I was going to do what I could to submit to Jason. If he never spanked me, we never had rules, and I never had my desire for his discipline fulfilled, I could still do my part. I could still submit to Jason in whatever way I could. 

And so I've discovered in all aspects of my life in which I set high goals, setting small, reasonable, reachable goals is the way to achieving something monumental. I cannot sit down and write the next best American novel in a day. But I can sit and write 1,000 words. I cannot achieve the ability to reach my goal weight, or run a 5k today. I can choose to eat well and get to the gym today. You get the idea. 

It seemed a Dominant and Submissive lifestyle really was no different. I could not wake up one day and be the perfect, obedient submissive; nor could I expect Jason to know everything I needed and be the Dom of my Dreams overnight. 

What, then, is today's challenge? What small, attainable goals can we set to achieve the goal of cultivating submission? 

Humble yourself in submission 

How does this work? What does it look like? 

Take a moment to think of the words meek and humble, and people you may know who display this quality. What is it about them that gives them a meek or humble spirit? And how can we cultivate this virtue ourselves? In the context of growing in submission, there are many ways we can grow more humble, submitting ourselves to the one who is in authority.

Show respect. Try using the phrase “May I” when it seems appropriate. When he speaks, don't interrupt. Listen attentively and actively. If he calls for you, go quickly, making his request of paramount importance. Avoid saying “just a minute,” or “when I'm done,” but instead, make obeying the simplest of instructions top priority. 

Embrace criticism

If there are times that he corrects you, try not to view the correction as critical or a personal attack, but rather humble yourself enough that you can accept the correction as loving guidance. I find this one so difficult but with practice, it becomes almost intuitive. There was a time when the simplest criticism would hurt, or make me angry. But responding by getting defensive to honest criticism is childish and immature. Instead, swallow that pride, embracing the truth that we will never grow or mature if we aren't willing to accept criticism. 

When we accept honest criticism as helpful (even when it's painful), we can grow. We show our husbands that we trust them. If we constantly get our backs up over anything viewed as criticism, over time, they have few choices: they can continue to make home miserable by offering criticism that will result in flared tempers or hurt feelings, or they can keep their opinions to themselves. 

Do you want his leadership? Do you desire him to be in authority? Then start in the smallest way possible. Allow him to lead in the small ways. 

What are other ways we can foster a humble, submissive spirit? 

Let Go of Control 

When I began intentionally opening my eyes to ways I could grow in submission, I was astounded by the many opportunities that came my way. Now, Jason is a naturally dominant kind of guy. It's who he is. He is comfortable in his role as leader, and doesn't shirk responsibility, so following his lead wasn't always difficult to do, because he did, indeed, give me a lead to follow. However, when I made the deliberate choice to follow his lead in whatever small ways I could, I couldn't believe how many opportunities there were. 

Dozens, hundreds, thousands of opportunities presented themselves. I remember one particular time we were out picking up a few groceries. He pointed to a vacant spot and said, “Why don't you park over there?” In the past, my response would've been to think, “I'm driving. Do you not think me capable of choosing a parking space?” or “I'd rather park closer to the shopping carts,” or some other such thing. But I'd made the decision to allow him to lead in small ways. I parked where he asked me. When we went into the store, and I wanted to look at something on sale, he said, “We need to get going.” Instead of asking for just one more minute, or ignoring him and finishing what I was doing, I immediately turned away from what I was looking at and followed him. 

Over, and over, and over again, when he asserted an opinion or asked me to do something, I would me it a priority to do what he said, and quickly. 

Eventually, I pushed myself even further. Were there things Jason had expressed an opinion on, but he didn't really push? Yes. I knew that he liked dinner ready when he got home, but he wouldn't require it. I knew he preferred when I dressed in certain outfits, and liked my nails painted a certain color. He had an opinion on so very many things. He liked me to get enough sleep, and disliked when I fell asleep on the couch instead. If I was tired, he wanted me in bed. These weren't “rules.” This wasn't the choice between obeying and disobeying. These were little ways I actively chose to follow his lead. 

By following his lead, you show him that you trust him. It's when you show trust that your submission is viewed in a positive light. A humble, meek spirit that seeks to please is not burdensome, it is welcome. And when your submission is welcome, he grows in his ability to lead. 

So how, then, can we challenge ourselves this week to grow in humility? Not all of these suggestions will seem natural or workable to you. Take what you'd like from these suggestions, and push yourself to try something new. 

First, challenge yourself to be humble in speech. Use the phrase, “May I?” when possible. Listen attentively when he speaks, and don't interrupt. Put down your phone, shut off the computer, and give him your undivided attention. 

Second, embrace criticism as room for growth and not a personal attack. If he offers an opinion, listen humbly, and actively choose to accept it rather responding by becoming defensive or hurt.

Finally, look for little ways to submit to his leadership, and challenge yourself not to disagree. If he wants to take the baby out for a walk, and he doesn't want to put a hat on her but you think she needs one, trust that he's an adult that is fully capable of making decisions, just like you. Fathers don't do things the way we mothers do; that's why there's a yin and yang in the parental dynamic. He's every bit as capable of making adult decisions as you. 

His decisions won't be identical to yours. It doesn't mean his decisions aren't as good. Trust his choices. If he thinks it's too much of a commitment for you to chair the local library book sale the same weekend as your mother is coming into town, don't try to convince him you can handle it. Trust him. If you've had a long day, and you planned a fancy dinner, and he suggests ordering pizza instead, don't argue. Accept the decision and be grateful he cares about your well-being. 

I'm not advocating you foist all decision-making on him. There are some areas that are my domain; I wouldn't go up to Jason and ask him to make my grocery list. I am fully capable of making my own decisions, and it's not fair for me to expect him to do all the thinking for me. What I'm advocating is a very simple, very attainable method of letting go of control in the little areas.

Embrace a humble spirit. This week, look for ways you can honor his lead in what you do and what you say and you may be pleasantly surprised with the opportunities that present themselves. 




24 comments:

  1. This is a very interesting article, J Girl. We're tweeking a bit if our dynamic so I'm definitely looking forward to your weekly challenges. :D

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  2. Nicely written :)

    We all can always find ways of improving ourselves.

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    1. Thank you, Cherished. Definitely there is always room for improvement!

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  3. Hi JGirl, thanks so much for this blog. It's a very good reminder of things I need to work on: accept criticism, trust that his decisions (even though it's different than mine) are good and in my benefit, and most importantly give him my full attention (because he frequented complains that I'm always on my phone). I will be working in these!

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    1. I'm glad you found it helpful, Maggie. Good luck!

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  4. Thank you for this post. I am looking forward to this series you are presenting this month. I need all the help I can get to be whom he wants me to be! :-)

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    1. I'm sure he adores you just as you are, but we can always grow a bit more!

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  5. Loved this post and reminded me of things I can do myself to become a better submissive, thanks for sharing.

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  6. Thank you so much for this series! It's really helpful for me to get back on track!
    Megan

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  7. I think you have written this in a very sympathetic way and I am certain it will be of use to everyone unsure of what submission entails. But I wonder, are you assuming the man involved is 'always right'? My daughter's first relationship of eleven years failed because her husband took away every shred of confidence she had. Everything she did to please him was wrong. Cooking, driving, gardening, shopping, cleaning - the list was endless. It was horrible to watch and we were so happy the day she picked up their toddler and left him. He was not what I like to think of as dominant, he was domineering with a capital D. He had no real thought for her happiness whatsoever. I am glad to say she is now happily married to the most wonderful man, who openly tells her he loves her, and is not embarrassed to state, even in front of us, that he is the head of their household.

    Whilst Dan is very definitely the head of our household and always has been, he never chooses to ask for my submission in an unreasonable way. In fact, I have always tried to do things that I know please him, way before I had ever heard of spanking, DD or TTWD. I find it pleasurable, especially if I do things I know he likes and is not expecting. It makes him feel cherished. I would consider it rude to ignore him and continue on the computer if he spoke to me, or if I continued to watch the TV when he wanted something.

    But a long, and happy marriage, means you BOTH need to work hard to make it that way. You cannot afford to be complacent or to take each other for granted.

    I love your use of "May I?" One of my favourite ways of answering Dan, or anyone, when disagreeing with them over something, is to say "You may be right." It is so easy to think you are right all the time, and this can lead to arguments. But sometimes your man can be wrong. So this covers all outcomes.

    I look forward to your next three posts. It is always helpful to hear the views and opinions of others in DD/TTWD. Thank you.

    Hugs
    Ami

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    1. Hi, Ami,

      Your comment here concerned me a good deal, enough that I wrote a separate post to address your concerns, in case others had these concerns as well. Please see this post here: http://ashrewtamed.blogspot.com/2015/07/to-whom-should-you-submit.html

      No, I definitely do not think that the man is always right! I'm wondering how you got that impression, and assume it's because I was addressing the different ways Submissives could cultivate their own submission. As I've explained in the post above, we are the only ones we have control over, so my goal here is to challenge others who desire submission to push themselves to work on their own submission. So often, we focus on what the Hoh should be doing. Submission encourages dominance. So it follows that cultivating our own submission will bring about a more fulfilling dynamic.

      I'm very sorry your daughter had such an awful experience. I quite agree that domineering is not the same as dominating. I have tried to explain this in other posts; at the end of the day, there's only so much I can offer here in my little corner of blogland.

      I agree that we both need to work at our marriage. A one-sided-relationship is not sustainable.

      Thanks for the reminder that some of what I have written can be misunderstood; a post on safe dynamics is long overdue.

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  8. Indeed, this is what we need to do with bot hour husband and God to grow deeply in our submission.

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  9. Hi:) I've been reading on and off for awhile. I'm reading through all the challenge post and I like this and thought it was really helpful. One thing though I have a hard time taking criticism from my HO because his criticism is so harsh sometimes to the point of being a ass. Any suggestions on how to take that?

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    1. This is tricky, but yes, I'll give you my perspective.

      Sometimes dominant men do not use a gentle touch. They can be blunt to the point of being hurtful. I think the best thing to do is ask yourself if you're taking things too personally, or being too sensitive. If not, and he's really just being mean or hurtful, communicate that honestly and bluntly, without retaliation. He's more likely to hear you if you're matter-of-fact and not emotional. Also, about how it affects you, not what he's saying. It's the classic "I" phase response (address your reaction, not his response).

      Example:

      "That hurts my feelings."

      "That makes me feel inferior/belittled/not appreciated."

      And when he DOES offer criticism kindly, thank him. "Thank you for trying to help me with x, y, z."

      If neither of these work, and he's still being too critical, try not saying anything at all. Sometimes quiet speaks most clearly.

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    2. I'm a sensitive person so I might be taking it personally. However I don't cry or anything like some sensitive people. I just snap at him to hide my feelings of being hurt. Which leads to me getting in trouble. So the suggestion you gave me sound like a much better way of dealing with things. Thank you.

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    3. It's not an easy thing to do. I find it much easier to obey Jason when he asks me to do something (i.e. "I want you in bed at ten because you're really tired") than if I feel hurt. It's when I'm hurt that my natural instinct is to lash out. But you'll feel better about yourself if you can stop yourself from retaliating, and he's more likely to think before he speaks.

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  10. Critism... man.that is a very touchy subject in this house. On both our sides. He is actually working on not being critical. Because he knows he can take Critism to a low level of belittling.
    But now I am wondering if maybe I was just being too sensitive.
    But the little things you do are pretty amazing. Once again,this is proof the little things matter. You are quite an inspiration.

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    1. Here, it's often a combination of both his being critical and my being too sensitive (both seem to go with the territory of being dominant and submissive, at least in our experience).

      I"m glad you found this helpful! :)

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  11. i love your blog. i have learned so much. wish i had known this stuff earlier in my life and before 2 failed marriages. i think 2nd one could have worked if he had put me over his knee! anyway, thanks for blogging.

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    1. Aww, thank you! I really appreciate it. Sometimes I think a lot of heartache could have been saved here if Jason had put me over his knee sooner!

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