Despite a long life of dealing on intimate terms with submissives, I will confess: in some respects, they remain “A mystery, inside a riddle, wrapped in an enigma.” One thing I have given a fair bit of thought to is: what motivates a submissive? What makes them step up and live their submission with such fanatical determination? What causes them to go at their tasks and duties and protocols with such kamikaze intensity? There are the obvious things, of course. Submissives, in my experience, tend to be inherent “people pleasers,” so that is a strong motivator. There is also the soothing, calming peace that passes all understanding that they find in living their submission like they mean it. There is that ineffable devotion to their Dominant, a level of devotion that one sees very rarely among vanilla couples.
But there’s one motivator that doesn’t often get talked about, a motivator that many might find surprising: pride.
It seems counter to the stereotypical image of a submissive as demure, Geisha-like, with downcast eyes and whispered “As you wish, Master.” But pride is a thing with submissives; scratch the surface and you’ll discover that submissives are the proudest people you’ll ever meet. Pride in their ability to please and serve their Dominant; pride in their determination to step up and handle their business; pride in the quiet, understated recognition that “I am one hell of a kick-ass sub!!” Often, a part of that is a competitive streak, and the person they often compete with — and triumph over — is themselves. All in all, submissives are some tough, proud little sumbitches.
Now, what is this ramble in aid of?
Submissives: you are right to feel proud. Of your commitment to your submission, of the effort you bring to the work (and let’s be honest, it often is hard work), and of the hundred and one ways you surpass your former best efforts. But — beware the disease of perfectionism. Your pride can inspire you to push limits and do things you didn’t think possible, but if you find yourself on that endless squirrel wheel where you are obsessively thinking “I can do a little better, I can push a little harder, I can be a little more on point, I can please Him a little more, I can be perfect,” then you need to gear it back and unplug that mindset with the swiftness. Your justifiable feeling of pride can send you down the rabbit hole to burnout and misery. Goal: be the very best submissive you can be. Not: be the perfect submissive.
Dominants: recognize that pride is a big part of what motivates your submissive, even if — especially if — it’s something they don’t articulate. And of course you are proud of them as well; if you’re not, then what the hell are the two of you doing together? So you need to be sure to express your pride in them, in every aspect of their being in which they excel. And even more importantly, you need to give them permission to be proud of themselves. Our society, for any number of reasons (very few of them healthy), tends to quash pride, to privilege modesty and self-effacement. “Pride goeth before a fall,” after all. So you need to let them know “Please be proud of yourself for X, because I am very proud of you.” And when you say it, you damn well better mean it.
Sigh, raising my hand…. 🙋♀️
I still struggle mightily with the disease of perfectionism.
The words I need to hear when my I get into this nasty spin cycle:
“You are perfect for me. I decide. I am in control here. You do not get to question me. Do you understand me little one? I chose you. I get up every morning and choose you all over again.“
“Now go get the paper and pen. I am going to help you remember you are perfect for me. ”