Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Sea of Thoughts: Self-consciousness

The thoughts swirl...

The idea of self-consciousness is fascinating to me.  I think this is because self-consciousness can be both extremely positive and extremely negative things depending upon how you look at it.

From a positive standpoint, self-consciousness can often resemble thoughtfulness.  If you are aware of your own behavior and how it affects others there are certain ways you might adapt your behavior to maintain harmony with others.  This is often the "be on your best behavior" thing... or simply trying to avoid swearing around children and the like.  You know how you would like to present yourself and what kind of an impact that might have.  I tend to file these under self-awareness... but I believe it becomes self-consciousness as soon as we attempt to modify our behavior because of it.  I don't think this is a bad thing and you probably find yourself obeying "better judgement" on a regular basis.

Unfortunately there seem to be more cases where self-consciousness can be viewed negatively than positively. 

There are tons of ways that self-consciousness motivates people to deceive, behave selfishly, display arrogance, and the like.  This tends to happen when we believe ourselves to matter more to others than we actually do.  In some cases, it is rational to believe this, such as courting/dating, job interviews, and the like.  We want to present a special and idealized form of ourselves... exaggerate the good, hide the bad.  I think this is rational in many ways, but it's also often far from our "true selves." 

In many cases where people are ruled by their self-consciousness it's because people decide that how others perceive them is more important than how they would choose to be in their absence.  That is to say, the motivation is external.

In other cases, self-consciousness comes from a more internal cause.  A lack of confidence... fear... a shaky sense of worth... these feelings can derail a person on the inside. 

D/s often uses self-consciousness as a weapon and I believe that how it is wielded affects the outcome.  A sub can reach a rather peaceful mental state where they simply thrive as they please their Domme.  They know what is expected of them and they can perform with confidence, knowing full well that good service will most likely be met with a positive reaction.  It seems fairly common for a Domme to willingly disturb this peace, pushing the sub into a state of emotional disarray.  Making them feel self-conscious is an easy means of doing this, taking a sub who isn't thinking of themselves... and forcing a sense of self in an unpleasant way.

I believe humiliation is the end result of forcing self-consciousness about external factors.  Exposing the sub to another, threatening to have them do something embarrassing in public, or looking at their set of kinks can lead the sub to fear the eyes of the outside world.

Looking internally, I feel that shame is what results from self-consciousness rooted from internal fears.  If a sub feels unworthy or worried about the quality of their service this forces them to view themselves from the outside looking in as their own harsh critic.  This can also happen each time the sub is ordered to do something they do not wish to do and they acknowledge their own helplessness.

As I finish this I'm feeling my own self-consciousness as I'm not sure if I should post it... but I know that writing is my best way of getting back to writing... so here goes.


  1. A person without self awareness would resemble an automaton, basically robotic, and I think and hope that there are few of them around. So move up to "self awareness that results in behavioral change", and you're describing that as self consciousness, right? Then you're saying that a Domme who messes with this self consciousness is purposely "pushing the sub into a state of emotional disarray". Then you go on to say that feelings of humiliation or shame within the sub result from this internal disarray.

    Okay, so just what is your point here? Are you saying that you are currently in this state yourself? Brought on by internal fears? Caused by your Domme putting you there? Or what? I'm a bit confused, fur.

    1. Hello, Lady Grey.

      What I had in mind when I started this post vs what it was by the time I finished ended up with a severe disconnect somewhere along the way.

      My initial impulse was to write about how self-consciousness occasionally governs our behaviors... Eg why I waited so long to really share anything personal on this blog or when/why people will use self-consciousness as an excuse to do or not do something.

      Somewhere in there that idea got horribly lost as I started thinking about how the internal vs external motivations differ in D/s-related play.

      The end result was a giant mess. Unfortunately I am currently numb and trying to force my heart to unblock. It didn't work out very well :/

  2. Giant mess? Nah, just a little one. :) I see how you ended up where you did.

    Perhaps, you should split this into two sections?

    It's a very interesting topic!

    1. Thank you, Misty.

      I think at times I have to stop trying to write something meaningful and just write. Shifting focal points tends to gum stuff up quite a bit. If I revisit this later at some point I will try to keep it separate.

  3. Long time lurker here...

    Perhaps re-framing self-consciousness as self-awareness might be helpful. Self awareness is understanding both how the external world sees you and how you see yourself is essential to discovering the real you. Hopefully then acceptance follows this understanding. I also find that being mindful in every task, whether it is writing or performing services for Madame, helps eliminate any negative self-thoughts that might otherwise creep into my consciousness.

    Thanks for all the great content in this blog over the past 6 years!

    1. Thank you very much, Mate.

      I tend to think of positive of self-consciousness as a form of awareness both of self and the external view of us. Something tgat I probably failed to do in the post was to really differentiate how the negative aspects of self-consciousness often involve a warped sense of self and skewed view of external perception.

      Eg If you find a hole in your shirt... assuming you aren't doing something where visible impression is of importance (first date, job interview, etc.) the idea that more than 0.1% of people you encounter will notice or care is false. While some can shrug it off, there are others that will obsess over it and go to great lengths because of it.

      From a vanilla perspective, the strong feelings can sometimes indicate an inflated sense of self importance. From a D/s perspective that skewed view can be forced to cause increased agitation in a sub.

      I have some real life crap going on that brought about the thoughts that les to this post.

      I hope this makes some sense.

      Take care.

  4. Thanks for a great blog. Hope you are doing well.

    1. Thank you. I am hanging in there. Not great but staying afloat.

      Take care.