Thoughts on Correction
Far from being the weak doormats their detractors might label them, submissives are often feisty and willful. They tend to have strong minds of their own and have a tendency to act on them, sometimes without regard for the rules, protocols and desires of their Dominant. More often than not the infraction is a matter of self-will and self-seeking rather than a spiteful disregard for their Dominant. It is usually a case of getting wrapped up in the moment and forgetting themselves and their commitment and devotion. More often than not when a submissive deviates from the desires of their Dominant and it is pointed out, they are shocked to have made the mistake, ashamed of having let their self-will overtake their devotion, and deeply regretful for having done so.
The fact that submissives have a tendency to beat themselves up over their own mistakes should be taken into account when addressing a failing or misstep; the focus being more on correction rather than punishment. That said, infractions should not be overlooked entirely either. A submissive looks to their Dominant for direction, leadership, structure, authority, as well as devotion, honor and love. While it may not always be appropriate to severely punish for an infraction when the submissive clearly recognizes the error of their ways, it is crucial that a Dominant be consistent in adherence to standards and rules and that infractions not be permitted to go by unnoticed or unaddressed in some fair and reasonable manner. Failure to do so will only serve to confuse a submissive and leave them feeling unsure of where their boundaries are. It will also serve to undermine in very subtle ways the authority and legitimacy of the power exchange.
A submissive craves being under the firm hand of a competent and consistent leader. They do not want to be permitted to run amok and do not want to serve a doormat. Though they may test the boundaries from time to time, at heart they do not want to be given the room to “top from the bottom” by being permitted to bend the rules or break them without notice or consequence. At the same time they desire to serve a Master who is consistent, fair, and reasonable. From that comes respect.
All too often, Dominants feel the need to operate with a heavy hand as though respect and devotion can come from fear and blind obedience. They do not. A prudent and competent Dominant will be consistent in the application of their rules and the expectation that they be followed, but will be circumspect in how they deal with infractions. Willful disregard of protocols, rules, and desires must necessarily be met with swift and solid response. Inadvertent infractions or regrettable lapses of judgement should also be addressed just as swiftly but the response should be measured with an eye toward pointing out the regrettable error and establishing that it is neither acceptable nor should be repeated. It is a reminder and a warning of sorts, a correction of errant ways, not retribution or punishment. However, should the inadvertent actions continue, a sign that there may either be a lack of clarity over the rules or lack of respect for their adherence, clearly either the rules need to be clarified or punishment may be warranted.
The bottom line is that a Dominant should be firm and consistent but not cruel and impulsive. Punishing out of anger or frustration is neither productive or conducive to building respect or future obedience. When a submissive is already aware of the error of their ways and regretful of their actions, a measured and restrained response by a Dominant speaks louder than a harsh abrasive one. Sometimes it’s what is not said and what is not done that speaks louder and garners greater respect. The best leaders are not only firm and consistent but also compassionate.
Address errors, disobedience and other matters of concern swiftly and relevantly but always exercise the sort of self-control that is expected from a Dominant who is masterful of themselves and those around them. Doing so will not only gain further respect and deeper devotion from a submissive, it will also serve as a stronger reminder against future infractions and a deeper incentive for a submissive to want to please their Master and never fail them.
Be firm, be consistent, be compassionate. Devotion and obedience will surely follow.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image © Ken Marcus