Do you trust everything you read? You shouldn't. I suggest you not listen to everything I have to say. Why? Some if it might not be right or true for you and if that's the case then what you read isn't for you. It could even be based on fiction instead of reality. I've recently read a few books that are supposedly guides for learning what BDSM and submission are, but they don't read that way. They read as directions for the ONLY way to have a BDSM or D/s relationship.
If there's one thing I try to convey through my writing is that there is no one way to live in a D/s relationship or just one way to take part in BDSM. So, books and articles like this frustrate me. Today I'd like to talk about how you can understand more of what you read and apply only what will work for your situation while discarding the rest - without being overly critical from one person's point of view.
It's important to do more than just read what someone has said on a topic that interests you. Practice active reading and comprehension. A lot of what we do when we read something is automatic, so let's do it a bit slower for a time so that you can see what you really need to see when you are reading something about BDSM or D/s dynamics.
Before You Start Reading
Think about what you want to know. Why are you reading it? Is it for education, understanding or pleasure? What do you want to know after you've read it?
Ask yourself whether the resource meets your needs, and try to work out if it will give you the right amount of knowledge. For websites, take a look at design and layout. Does the site convey educational knowledge or something else? Read the about page. If you think that the resource isn't ideal, don't waste time reading it.
Remember that this also applies to content that you subscribe to, such as journals or magazines, and web-based RSS and social media news feeds – don't be afraid to prune these resources if you are not getting value from some publishers. That includes Submissive Guide. If you feel it isn't helpful to you any more than there is no reason to keep following me.
When you're reading a document or book in detail, it helps if you practice 'active reading' by highlighting and underlining key information, and taking notes as you progress. (Mind Maps are great for this). This emphasizes information in your mind and helps you to review important points later. If you spent any time in college you probably understand what highlighting does for reviewing key points.
Doing this also helps you keep your mind focused on the material, and stops you thinking about other things.
Apply What You Read
Every time you read something you have the choice to apply what you read or to discard it. When you choose to apply it, you can also adjust your thinking to make it work for you and your situation. For example, when you watch the news, do you apply more weight and value to things that happen locally or impact you more directly than those things that are too far away or not related to you at all? Your mind applies the same filters to anything you read.
So when you read something about submission or BDSM here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
Assumptions - Someone who uses assumptions (should always be naked vs sometimes are naked) probably is writing based on their own personal opinion and will not write for the masses. Reading what they write and then not using the filters and active reading methods could lead you down a path that doesn't work for you or your situation.
Their Way is the Only Way - This is similar to using assumptions but most often these writings are written like guidebooks or manuals for BDSM or D/s that share one way of participating. They leave no room for other interpretations and in fact, often consider other interpretations to be the wrong way and not just another way to experience the lifestyle.
Close the Book
In rare occasions, the text you are reading is just not worth continuing and it is in your best interest and sanity to stop reading it. I know when I've found something like it when I am constantly shaking my head in disagreement or disbelief. I'm also very frustrated by obvious grammar and spelling errors even though I'm not perfect at it myself - especially in published works.
Also, if you feel that what the person is saying doesn't align with your beliefs or thinking at all, you might want to just stop reading it. While it's nice to read opposing views, don't force yourself if you are offended or uncomfortable with it. Just move on.
Reading about BDSM and submission when you are new is exciting and as long as you keep in mind these suggestions and tips for reading actively and engage in filtering. And if you do find a really good essay, book or other media, make sure you try to share it!