Daddy has given me many tools to learn to love myself - specifically, my body. I'm pretty comfortable with my intellect, my drive, my ability to parent, and a whole host of other things. But when I look in the mirror, I often cringe.
Each morning, I take a picture of myself in the panties he's selected for me - or not, if he wants me pantiless - full frontal, no camera or angle tricks allowed. Then, I look in the mirror, stare into my eyes, and say, "I deserve happiness; I will find happiness. I am loved; I am worthy of love. I am a beautiful, vibrant woman." The first two sentences were given to me as a daily task very early in our relationship - when it was less about sex and kink and more about mending a shredded heart. The last is more recent. I used to mumble the words or avert my gaze. Now, I feel almost defiant when I say the words, as if I'm waiting for someone (myself, most likely) to contradict the words.
Just before Christmas, I stopped officially "dieting" and calorie counting. I still workout and strive to eat as healthfully as possible, but I don't make weight loss a goal. I'm trying, albeit at a snail's pace, to accept the body I have. He tells me all the time that he adores my body as it is, that I'm beautiful and sexy. (For the record, I stopped dieting because no matter what I did, I couldn't lose weight and I was too stressed out about it.)
Here's the thing, when I'm with him, I don't even think about my body. I don't worry about the roll of fat when I sit or bend over. I don't think about the dimples on my ass and thighs. All I notice is the feel of his skin on mine. I become more than the sum of my parts. When I picture myself in my mind's eye, I see a wanton, erotic being - loose limbs, soft skin. I don't see extra weight or additional padding.
When Daddy leaves, there's a residual effect for two or three days when I still see myself in that dewy glow of sex and love. But eventually that passes, and I see only the stark reality of what I really look like. Some days are better than others. Some days I see nothing but soft, rounded curves. Other days aren't so good, and I see every extra pound, every roll, every dimple, everything I hate.
Still, I try. I don't count calories, although Daddy now has a lot more control over what I eat. I workout because it's good for my stress levels and my body. And I take pictures of myself in different poses and lighting, trying desperately to see the beauty he sees. I want to love myself the way that he does. I desperately want to see what he sees.
In case you wonder what the hell this has to do with Dominance and submission (D/s), let me clue you in. A good Dominant in a loving relationship strives to build up the submissive, to help make them the best they can be. This isn't about changing someone to suit their needs (although, that can and does happen in some relationships). This is about loving someone and lifting them up, not bringing them down.
The idea is often that by bad-mouthing themselves, a submissive is not pleasing their Dominant. By not loving themselves or seeing their own beauty, they're doubting the word of their Dominant. And that's never acceptable.