I’m fortunate in my wealth.
No, I’m not speaking of material wealth. Friends. Chosen family. Blood family. Partners. Lovers. Playmates. I want to believe they are always good. I remember my brother, in high school, abandoning his friends for a new group– because he knew they were the sort to get him into bad trouble. I always felt a sense of pride that he could be strong.
Because I am not quite that strong. Or maybe I am. But I’ve always had protectors around me to help me push away the toxic or leeching personalities from my life. The ones that will only pull me down in the mud with them- not in the fun way. I feel that I at least recognize this flaw. I accept the help when it is offered. Usually, only from those I trust. I do put my faith in a few. For better or for worse.
Human nature. Sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst.
Everyone believes who they want to believe. The person they care for, the person they love. Or the person who is most convenient. Perhaps the person’s story helps support the view they already want to believe.
No matter how good our intentions, it doesn’t change the fact that we might hurt someone by believing without question. I’ve seen the damage caused when the person believes their friend, not because they’ve asked any questions or looked at any evidence, but just because it’s their friend. And, of course we ought to support our friends, but– sometimes we should be the one to call our friend out.
It’s important, especially in this community, to make sure we aren’t believing the person we want to believe.
Because it suits our narrative. Because they’re a good person and how could they lie to us? Because we’d know if they did.
I’ve had people believe awful or infuriating accusations against me (some that took me by complete surprise, like a guy who claimed I followed him around like a puppy dog, when we had hardly spoken, except when I tried to repay him with a dinner after he’d done me a huge favor. Not evil, only annoying.). I’ve had people believe much worse about my friends, or people who weren’t my friends (especially at the time) but still deserved basic courtesies.
I kept thinking– Why do they just believe it? It feels stifling, as if one doesn’t have a voice to speak with, because nobody asks them and allows that voice to be heard. Of course, in some cases, it worked in my favor. Some believed me, but didn’t bother to ask the other side or get the facts from me. Just thought it best to comfort me. It felt nice, yes. I’m not sure it felt right.
It was almost worse when they believed me, simply because I was their friend.
I kept thinking, but what if I was the one lying? Would they even care? I know I have the potential to influence. It scares me that I could influence someone to believe what I wanted them to believe, like a gentle Siren.
I recognize there are people surrounding me with better powers of manipulation than I possess. It’s especially disturbing when I see that power in the hands of a small child, beyond the natural ability of any child to subtly persuade their adult captors, er parents, to do what they want.
I hope they use their power for good.