D/s, when properly done, is a beautiful exchange of gifts between the participants. It's easy to focus on what the submissive is giving, and you often hear the phrase 'submission is a gift', but I have always felt that that was only part of the story. When I was in service, at least at the beginning, people would focus on my side of things, all that I did and gave, and they were concerned. Several people cautioned me to be careful, that it sounded like I was in danger of being taken advantage of.
What they didn't get, never having experienced it, is the countless numbers of gifts that I received in return. More difficult to quantify, because they didn't always involve action or tangible things, but very, very important to me. She was my rudder, she encouraged and disciplined, and pushed me in the right direction. She gave me a safe space to blossom, to be myself, a place where I could do and give and be fully seen. She gave a place to belong and a network of people who understood the dynamic because they lived it, too. She looked after me, had my back, and ultimately wanted to see me happy and thriving.
Then, of course, there is the gift of D/s and SM play.. not always easy to find that person with whom you click, who can take you to the places you so crave to go. I am always immensely grateful to the person who takes my hand and leads me there, to the amazing warm, safe place of submission. It's one of the only times when my brain shuts off, where I can let go of my anxiety, where I forget I even have a body. I can just be a mass of sensations and it's lovely.
When it's done right, D/s is a deeply beautiful thing.