Introduction to Dominance vs. Submission
Those are some loaded words, and many associate them with something rather negative, which can hold us back to step into our power and confidence.
Before looking at what the two words actually mean, let's see what some of the common perceptions are:
- Dominant state is often perceived as rather violent: screaming orders or maybe even bullying.
- While submissive state is perceived as weak: a state where one individual can do whatever they want with another individual. The submissive person can be seen as someone powerless, who has no say.
What is the less common definition of these two words:
Definition of dominance
- A state where the attention is focused out and where it matters what is being DONE from that place. It’s when the attention goes out, onto, and into someone else’s body. It allows space for the other person to express what is true to them, as the dominant person holds the safe space to discover and connect.
Definition of submission
- State when the attention is turned inward, and where one allows to FEEL and identify what holds true for her- or himself. In this state, one is able to identify what their desires are.
As these words are often perceived in a negative or constraining way, it can be hard to use any of them right.
Someone who is in a submissive state, actually has the power to identify for themselves what their desire is. By doing so, they are able to ask and speak what holds true to them and feel confident, as it is the truest they believe in.
Someone who is in a dominant state, is clear on what they want and then communicate that and holds an open space for the other person to go inside of them to see what is true for them. It is a state where you become curious about the other person. Where you try to see the world from their perspective and then together try to come to an agreement that both parties feel good with.
Why knowing this is important?
As you might have noticed, to be in a dominant state, you also need to be able to be in a submissive state.
The power lies within being able to balance the two. That way, we don’t feel like we are only there for others, and neither do we feel super selfish or self-centered.
People who have been raised as women tend to specifically struggle to move from a submissive role, to a more dominant one, due to social conditioning.
These people have been taught to have their attention inward and be aware of what they feel. Yet rarely do we take the time to become very clear on what we want and to communicate that.
Why are there still moments in which we are afraid to speak up or where we feel like we forgot everything we wanted to say that we rehearsed so many times in our heads. The heart starts racing and pounding and it seems like the throat closes up.
Welcome to The Freeze.
It’s when in moments we are in the spotlight, we don’t speak up or don’t voice our opinion.
So, how can we overcome those conditionings, to be able to speak up when it matters and where we don’t have to doubt what we believe in and of course, know what we believe in and desire?
This is where the dominant and submissive states of attention come in handy.
3 steps to get started to use both the dominant and submissive state:
Become very clear on what YOU desire (Submissive state of attention)
- If you want other people to do or give you something, well, then you need to be crystal clear what it is that you really want.
- A practice to get to this, is to write down everything you would love to do if you knew that there are zero consequences. Be as bold or wild as you want to be. What would get you beyond excited? Do this until you start glowing inside and feel ignited.
- After having felt what you want, really connect with that and start to voice it. You need to be 100% clear on what you believe in. That way you become a rooted and centered self.
- If we stay with only what we want however, we will most likely be perceived as ignorant which will not lead to the desired goal of influence. For that, we need to leave our ego aside and start to be fully with the other person, which leads to the next point.
Be fully present with the other person (Dominant state of attention)
- Get curious about what the other person is thinking and how they see the world. Dive into what they desire. Welcome a no and see it as an opportunity to better get to know the other person. Why is it a no? Ask questions, give the other person a chance to express themselves.
- Be careful, attention out doesn’t mean that you will be in control, power or influence. It’s not only about being with the other person and providing them with the space, but also to move them. It’s about combining attention out with instructions. That can be an invitation, playful suggestion, a correction, demand, request or direct order.
- The true power is to balance the two. On one hand, not to get lost in someone else’s needs by only putting attention onto another person, but on the other hand, also not getting too focused on our own feelings and thus maybe feeling like a victim.
To start practicing, we can highly recommend
- The book “Unbound: A Woman’s Guide to Power” by Kasia Urbaniak
- The course “Sex Homework Society” by Haneen Khan
- The free workshop “Know what you want and communicate that with confidence” by Anka Grzywacz and is hosted by Sassytribe on March 8th for International Women's Day (by signing up, you will also get access to the recording in case you can’t make it to the live event)
- Join a supportive group of people who want to discover themselves anew
It can be hard to identify our own desires, but it can change things not only in the bedroom but in all aspects of life. Having a supportive environment that also wants to make a change can be a great place to start practicing and encourages to make the changes you want to create for yourself.
About the author
This article has been written by Sassytribe, a global community of curious humans who want to uncover the wide varieties of female experiences and to provide a space for all people to have their voice be heard.
You want to learn more or get in touch with SassyTribe? Then visit their Instagram page HERE and write them a DM, or sign up for their book club and start to discover the variety of female experience with others.