March/April 2001
Trust: The Foundation
by miria hunter

Trust, for some, is such a little thing, merely given lip service and never a second thought. But in the world of D/s trust is the foundation upon which everything else is built. There are many definitions of trust, but Miriam Websterís Dictionary says it well: assured reliance on the character, strength, or truth of someone or something. In order for a submissive to be able to give of themselves to a Dominant, there has to be unconditional trust in all aspects of the relationship. Basic trust is something we tend to give easily to most people. But the trust that goes deeper, the kind that means you would trust your very life (for REAL) to someone, is not a trust that can be built in just days or weeks. This much deeper level of trust can often take years to establish, and honesty is its foundation.

Before you can be honest with others, you must learn how to be honest with yourself. How many times have you done things you did not like, enjoy or even want to do but instead lied to yourself and realized you were acting just to please someone else? Are you being honest with yourself when you respond this way? Are you being honest with your partner? Your first step should be self-discovery. The first person you have to learn to be honest with is you! Once you learn self-honesty, you will find that honesty with others comes easier, like second nature. Self-honesty does not come easy when you first enter this lifestyle. There will be many things that tempt, intrigue, and even scare you. When you first begin, you wonít know what you really want, but that will come in time with learning more about yourself. Also take stock in yourself with honesty. What are your good and your bad points? Learn to enhance your attributes but never hide the faults from someone. Some of us have faults that we really canít change, but most can be altered in some way or another.

Suppose you have found that special someone online. Youíre chatting for hours on-end. You are so sure this one is THE one you have been waiting your whole life for. I have seen more than one submissive build their whole life around someone they have only talked to online and on the phone. Regrettably, most of these relationships have never worked out further than the first or second meeting. Why? Because, one member was not totally honest with the other. Maybe one sent a 10-year-old picture and had since lost all their hair. Or one said, ďYes, I love doing all those things you enjoy.Ē There are so many white lies that people tell! Who hasnít? Looks shouldnít matter, but they can when the picture you hold of someone you love is not who they really are. I had a wonderful friend online who was single and childless. We talked for months, with Master and me helping her through some very difficult times: a car accident ending with her having to have a hysterectomy, an ex-boyfriend who was stalking her, to name only a few. The end result? She remains a bored housewife with 2 young girls.
When talking online, little lies can be so easy to say, after all no one can see your face to determine if you are telling the truth or not. Itís easy to type in 120 pounds when the reality is at least 170, or that you are unmarried, or any of numerous lies I have heard. So what if you are a waitress or a cashier or a Vice president? All are honorable professions. The hardest part is telling someone else the truth. When you tell the truth, no matter how ugly or hard, you will find your circle of friends to be unique: people who truly know the real you and care about you, even with this knowledge. Around these people, you wonít have to worry if you will be found out and lose what you are building. If you donít like something about yourself, change it in real life, and NOT in words only.

Itís easy enough to agree to things that you donít want to do in order to please someone else. I am guilty myself of doing this in the past and then hating myself later. That self-loathing was also slowly and unconsciously transferred to the person I was trying to please. This resentment was not fair to them, I agree. But the human mind and heart are not always fair. I still have a habit of saying, ďWhatever makes you happy!Ē I have learned, however, to only say that if all options will work for me as well. Now, when I do have a preference, I clearly state it. Being honest about what you want and need is only the first step in building the foundation of trust you will need if you truly want to live this lifestyle. But this first step truly establishes the foundation for everything else that will follow.

Integrity is an extremely important aspect of establishing trust. The person you are with has to know that your values are true, and not merely something created to match theirs. In return, you will need to know that you can count on them to adhere to their code of values. When you are being tied up is NOT the time to start worrying if they do or donít have the integrity needed to keep you safe. You need to know beforehand that they wonít breach any negotiated limits and will listen to, and abide by your safe words. The same constraints apply to them if you are the one doing the binding. Both Dominants and submissives need to trust in the other, to speak honestly if things are going to fast, to slow, or to intense. Not doing so can literally have life and death consequences, be it yours or someone elseís. Are you willing to risk anotherís or even your own life just to try and impress someone? If you are, you seriously need to consider why you would place yourself in such jeopardy. No justification is ever good enough for endangering someone else. During a scene, integrity is what can mean the difference between safety and blind vulnerability.

In most relationships, the Dom provides a formal structure that the sub must adhere to. If the relationship is long distance, the Dom only has the subs word that they are adhering to boundaries, and truly performing tasks established by the Dom. The Dom must trust in the subís word that they are doing as they are directed. Sometimes, it is so tempting to merely say, ďYes, I did or didnít do something,Ē when in reality you are telling a lie to make your life a little easier. The sub also has to trust that the Dom will fulfill their responsibilities to the sub. If the Dom does not fulfill these responsibilities, the sub may slowly start to rebel, often not realizing what they are doing until it is too late. The decisions and choices you make with respect to unsupervised obedience will be your own. Though others may offer opinions or ideas, in the end, it is you who decides the extent and validity of your performance. You are the one responsible for your own actions, and you should accept responsibility by admitting to them. Remember, itís easier to make choices that do not later require apologies and forgiveness. You may offer, or be offered an apology and you might even accept. But in the back of your mind, you will always remember the incident, and the truth you knew that was betrayed. Having this lingering uncertainty can be one of many ways the foundation of trust can start to crumble.

I have seen too many people try to justify dishonesty by stating that itís just better the other person not know, or that they didnít need to know. Keeping secrets and white lies are still dishonest and can rapidly destroy trust. Secrets are very hard to keep hidden from others. Someday, somehow they always have a way of coming to light and you will be found out. The only person you are protecting by lying or hiding things is yourself. What to you may seem a small incident, may to the other party seem to be a big issue, merely because you attempted to hide it. Secrets and hiding makes others ask questions. ďIf it was so small, why did they hide it? There must be more that I donít know!Ē We tend to hide those things that cause us embarrassment, skirt things that we find uncomfortable, and generally make terrible choices. Many times, lying seems to be the easiest choice in the beginning of a relationship. But, in the end, honesty always turns out to be best.

Being reliable is also is an absolute must. If you say you are going to do something, then by all means, do it. Donít make excuses, or lie. Your Dom/sub counts on you to be reliable as well.

In order to be respected, you must be respectable: in other words, worth anotherís respect. If you are continuously dishonest, you demonstrate a lack of respect to those around you, as well as for yourself. Respect is something that is earned from others by your actions. Respect can just as easily be lost by your actions as well. Act respectable, be respectable, and you will earn the respect you need in this lifestyle.

Honesty, integrity, respectability, reliability, and responsibility all lead to absolute trust. Remember, the first gift in submission is trust. But trust must be created from honesty and respect. The loss of either of these can do irreversible damage to a relationship. D/s requires absolute trust in all aspects, from all parties participating. When doubt arises, it slowly erodes the foundation of trust. Even if one corrects their ways after a trust is broken, it is very slow to be rebuilt the second time, if at all. The gift of total trust is not to be taken lightly. Please treat it with the care it deserves. After all, once a foundation starts to crumble, the whole structure will soon fall.

© Rick's miria