Dominant Traits - Fear of Failure?
Fear of being inadequate to lead a submissive in the manner they deserve sounds downright paralyzing to me as this follower describes it. I don’t personally possess that fear of failure though I share the same concern for success, if that makes any sense. I always want what is best for my Muse and yet I am human and have self-centered wants and desires too. My concerns are not fear of inadequacy but rather fear of acting out of self-centered motivation, not in the best interest of my Muse. There is a definite difference. I cannot think of a time where I failed to act when I needed to, but did I always act out of selflessness and love? I continually question my motives to determine their purity.
I have every confidence in my abilities as a man, a Dominant, and a mentor, but perhaps just as importantly, I posses a well-understood awareness of my limitations. I do not practice Dominance beyond the limits of my ability…but I practice Dominance very confidently within them.
Where I get concerned and introspective is when I am guiding the life of my Muse in very deep and profound ways, leading her to important life decisions from which there can be no turning back. Here I admit not to fear and inaction, but to a genuine concern and tendency to pause. I always want to be sure that I am truly guiding from a place of knowledge and love rather than manipulating from a place of self-interest and desire. These are the times when I have to check my motives and really think about what it is I am doing and saying. Am I guiding for her best interest or manipulating for my personal gain? It sounds simple and obvious but the lines, I assure you, are far more blurry than one might imagine.
When a submissive truly puts their life and heart into the hands of a Dominant, it is indeed an awesome and perhaps even fearsome responsibility. And I do mean responsibility; a Dominant can literally hold that person in their hands and help shape them into something really quite exquisite or unwittingly destroy them. That is power. That is the essence of the power exchange. Its not simply about floggings, orgasms, or tying someone up. Those are mere metaphors and symbols for something far deeper. There is every reason to be concerned about making a mistake…but allowing oneself to be paralyzed to inaction based upon the fear of making mistakes is to achieve nothing. We all make mistakes…I have made them, large and small, both physical and emotional with my Muse. Being dominant is not synonymous with being omnipotent. A Dominant is a leader, not a God. A Dominant will make mistakes.
The biggest mistake I see of all by many Dominants is a failure to admit mistakes, to being fallible, human, something other than Godlike. Being a Dominant means being a leader. Leaders take measured risks to achieve greater rewards. Sometimes they fuck up along the way. Leaders will dust themselves off and those around them and lead them further into battle. If people believe that their leader is honest and genuinely has their best interests at heart, they will follow that leader to the ends of the earth. So it is with Dominance. We make mistakes, we admit them, we learn from them, we apologize, we make amends, we move on deeper into the fray.
Concern for the welfare of a submissive is admirable and crucial to anyone’s success as a Dominant. However, fear of failure is simply paralyzing and frankly not very Dom-like.
One could debate endlessly whether Dominants are born or grown. I personally think it is a little of both. Leaders often emerge in school age children pretty early on. Its not so much what they know as how they carry themselves and build trust bonds. If we are lucky, this tendency toward leadership carries forward throughout life. However, simply being a leader does not equate to dominance either. There is something more that seemingly must be acquired; lessons that only some experience and travel along the path of life seem to impart.
I know of some very capable and impressive young people who are leaders in their own right, but I know very few genuine young Dominants. There is a wisdom that accompanies most Dominants that only comes with not only years, but from actively observing and learning the lessons that life offers. Not just from their own mistakes and successes but from those of others as well. None of us shall ever live long enough to make all the mistakes necessary to gain wisdom on our own. We must observe the paths of others; emulate their successes and avoid their failures. This is to me the root of wisdom. What we do with those lessons for ourselves, and how we impart them to others, is perhaps the root of Dominance.
So, from all this I offer that a genuine concern for being the best one can possibly be as a Dominant for the benefit of a submissive is a healthy and practical line of thinking. However, fear of inadequacy or failure is paralyzing and frankly does not strike me as carrying some of the core principles and traits of a dominant person. Confidence (not cockiness) is an absolute necessity in a Dominant. People do not follow someone who is timid and unsure. Similarly, they do not follow someone who is all of that but tries to cover it up with bluster and bravado. A submissive can see through that in very short order…at least I hope they can for their sake. Leadership requires honest yet humble confidence. Fear of failure, while honest, is not confident.
To anyone contemplating a relationship based on Dominance and submission, I would encourage some honest introspection about where you fall along the continuum between Dominance and submission or if you are even on that continuum at all. Ask yourself honestly about your own motives for wanting to be a Dominant and assess your abilities and weaknesses. Desire alone to be Dominant will not make you one. A desire to be a leader will not make you one. How do people react to you in life? Do they tend to follow you, ignore you, or avoid you? Do people gravitate to you for advice, or do they tend to go elsewhere? Do you rise to the top in a group or move to the back row? This is a good opportunity for an in-depth personal inventory and to make some decisions about who you really are versus who you might want to be. Doing so will help point out what needs to be accomplished to get there.
I for one am not necessarily what many might consider to be a born leader. My path through school and my early career did not lead anyone to believe that I was cut from leadership cloth. However, today both in my personal and professional life I am viewed as a leader; in the vanilla world and in my D/s relationship. From that I infer that perhaps Dominance can be learned. The wisdom gained by actively living life, absorbing its lessons, and applying them judiciously and empathically can in fact grow a Dominant. Having strong mentors also helps. For better or for worse, today people do follow me. But to be worthy of being followed takes an honest assessment of the skills one has, and perhaps more importantly, the skills one lacks, along with a genuine desire and effort to acquire and master those missing skills. Such a self-awareness combined with hard work and confidence in one’s ability can in fact grow a Dominant. I believe that. I am living proof of that.
Am I afraid of failure? No, not at all. Am I concerned about making mistakes that could genuinely harm my submissive or lead her in a direction that could cause irreparable damage? You bet your ass I am. And for that reason, I think very carefully about everything I do as a Dominant when it comes to giving guidance or setting life altering direction for my Muse. To do anything less would be utterly irresponsible and possibly just plain greedy or manipulative. I neither want that for me as a Dominant or her as my submissive.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown