This is a guest post by an unknown author. It was found and marked as part of the public domain.

Self-esteem relates to how you feel about yourself, whether you like yourself. Being submissive is not about being a "doormat" or a "lesser person". But the sad thing is, many go through life feeling less than what they truly are.

Where does our self-esteem come from? Growing up we were given messages about who we are. These messages are given to us by our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, teachers, ministers, radio and TV, and other areas of the media.

Some of these messages were NOT good. Ever hear:  "fatso" "four eyes" "skinny minny" "dumbo" "You'll never amount to anything" "You're useless, just like your father" "Crybaby - boys don't cry" "It's not ok for girls to get angry"? Plus, it is the sexy, the charmed, the beautiful, we see in advertisements that make us believe we are less than perfect. Now add to this equation, those who were abused physically, verbally, emotionally, psychologically. No wonder so many submissives have a poor image of themselves.

Whether dominant or submissive, we have been shaped by our pasts. Unfortunately, many of us take the messages we heard in our childhood, into our adult lives and still believe these terrible things about ourselves. If we grew up in unhealthy families we did not learn how to communicate our feelings. We did not see healthy intimacy, parenthood, or communication modeled. This makes for a near impossibility of having a good D/s relationship, let alone any other kinds of relationships.

If a submissive has low self-esteem, it will hinder a D/s relationship. If a submissive does not find a "healthy and real" Dominant, she/he will not be fulfilled and actually be very miserable in her/his submission and existence. However, with the right Dominant, she/he will flourish and grow and become the woman/man she/he always wanted to become. And remember, the Dominant needs to be healthy also in order to help her/him accomplish this. If the submissive believes things like this:  I should never ask my Dom/me for any kind of help; I should not use my safeword; I cannot disagree with my Dom/me; I should not have any limits; I must always be perfect; I must be "super submissive"; I am worthless if I make a mistake; it will more than likely result in stress and physical ills (headaches, stomach aches, high blood pressure). As a submissive one desires to please their Dominant, but not to the extent of sacrificing their own person. You can serve your Dominant but not give up your identity. A good Dominant would never expect this either!

Now, don't misunderstand me! This does not mean a submissive should not be the best submissive she/he can be. But, she/he needs to allow herself to be human and she/he needs to maintain balance in her/his life and in all that she/he does. Submissives will make mistakes. And, a submissive can discuss limits, concerns, worries, in a very respectful manner. Look for a Dominant who understands all of this, otherwise, you may just keep hearing the unhealthy messages repeated over and over again.

Now then.. how does one improve their self-esteem? What things can YOU do to change the way you feel about yourself? There are a couple of great ways... One is called Self-Talk, another Self-Affirmations and another Self-Love. Let's discuss Self-Talk first.

Self-Talk is internal conversations you have with yourself. These dialogues can affect your thoughts and behaviors. When you give yourself positive messages such as: "Everything will work out. I know I can do the job", you give yourself to succeed and chances are you will. When your self-talk is negative -"I know I'll have a terrible time, I am not smart enough to do this," you are giving up on yourself and you most likely will not succeed.

Positive self-talk takes discipline and practice. Whenever you notice that you are giving yourself a negative message, change it and say a positive message. You will feel so much better about yourself and have far less stress.

The second tool you can use is Affirmations. These are positive input you give yourself each day to remind yourself that you ARE a good person, that you DO have abilities and possibilities. Write these out and look at yourself in the mirror each morning and repeat them to yourself. Giving yourself these messages will help you to believe them.. to believe in yourself and who and what you are!

Here are some examples you can use!

  • I am a wonderful submissive
  • The more I have, the more I have to give
  • All things are now working together for good in my life
  • I have a wonderful job
  • It is Ok for me to have fun and enjoy myself
  • Every day, in every way I am getting better and better and better
  • I give thanks for my life
  • I am whole and complete in myself
  • I love and accept myself just as I am
  • The more I love myself, the more love I have to give to others
  • I am an excellent communicator
  • I am beautiful inside and out
  • I am a good person
  • I have a lot to offer the world

Now, these are just a few examples... and you can add to them to suit areas you need to build your self-esteem in. The important thing is to look in the mirror every day and repeat these things to yourself. What happens after a period of time, is that you will begin to BELIEVE what you are telling yourself... just as you learned to believe those horrible things people said to you in the past. But POSITIVE things.. not NEGATIVE!

It may seem strange saying these things at first because you've been lead, through one means or another, to believe just the opposite. Try it.. it really works!

Lastly, and certainly not least is Self-Love. This is acknowledging and praising yourself verbally. Here are some examples:

  • Self-Love is having confidence in your ability.
  • Self-Love is giving yourself pleasure without guilt.
  • Self-Love is loving your body and seeing only its good qualities.
  • Self-Love is giving yourself what you want and a feeling you deserve.
  • Self-Love is letting others in instead of submitting to loneliness.
  • Self-Love is seeing your own spirituality.
  • Self-Love is taking credit for what you did.
  • Self-Love is surrounding yourself with beauty.
  • Self-Love is rewarding yourself for a job well done.
  • Self-Love is trusting yourself.
  • Self-Love is nourishing yourself with good food and good ideas.
  • Self-Love is seeing yourself as equal to others.
  • Self-Love is forgiving yourself.
  • Self-Love is letting in affection.
  • Self-Love is developing your own creative desires.
  • Self-Love is really talking to yourself lovingly and gently.
  • Self-Love turning all of your negative thoughts into positive affirmations (see affirmations above)

These are just a few tools you can use to make yourself more of who you are... to bring out the real you! And if you are pleasing to yourself, you will also be pleasing to your Dominant!

It is a long road to repairing damages of the past, but it can be done... just ask me! ~laughs~ And one thing I'd like to leave you with here is this:

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.