Some of my suffering in life comes from the inability to let certain things go. When I find out first hand that someone is a liar, scammer, cheater, abuser, or harms people or animals, I feel compelled to scream it from the roof tops. I have a quirk in my character in that I have high exceptions of people and I expect them to be honest, fair, trustworthy, and to do the right thing even when no one is looking. I do NOT expect people to dress a certain way, or act a certain way, or have a certain amount of money, but I do expect them to be decent human beings.
I’ll be totally honest, my ranting about these people sometimes is, in a small part, retaliation for the harm they have done to me. But truth be told, my bigger reason is a deep desire to hopefully keep others from being harmed by these opportunists. I want to make sure everyone knows that this person is a repeated liar, scammer, or is abusive. I don’t necessarily want to assassinate their character, but instead, to warn others and keep them from harm, or at least let them make a decision based on facts before deciding to befriend or date this person. If they choose to move forward then I feel that they at least have the full picture of who this person really is and what to expect.
I try, and it’s not easy, to let everyone live the way they want. As long as it’s sane, safe, and consensual, it’s no business of mine. I try to remind myself of the power of words and of the harm that can be done through speech. Even the bible warns to not “wrong one another” (Lev. 25:17) through speech. In Judaism there are a few exceptions when tale-bearing is allowed, or even required.
“A person is also required to reveal information to protect a person from immediate, serious harm. For example, if a person hears that others are plotting to kill someone, he is required to reveal this information. That is another reason why the commandment not to go about as a tale-bearer is juxtaposed with “you shall not stand aside while your fellow’s blood is shed.”
In limited circumstances, one is also permitted to reveal information if someone is entering into a relationship that he would not enter if he knew certain information. For example, it may be permissible to tell a person that his prospective business partner is untrustworthy, or that a prospective spouse has a disease. This exception is subject to significant and complex limitations; however, if those limitations are satisfied, the person with the information is required to reveal it.”
Maybe I am justifying my behavior, but I feel that to warn others before they are betrayed is the right thing to do. But sometimes this sharing of information brings me suffering, why not just let it go and say nothing?
Can you imagine a world where people said nothing at all ever about other people? While I agree that judging, gossiping, and lying about people is never a good thing, I also believe there are times that people need to be warned about scammers. What if you were about to start dating a man who had beaten other women in the past, wouldn’t you want to know? Or you were about to become a business partner with a pathological liar and thief. Wouldn’t you want to know? Or if you are a single mom about to date a pedophile, hopefully you would definitely want to know about that, right? I feel there are times that people need to know the truth about others to keep them from harm and prevent them from wasting time. But what about my suffering?
What hurts me are the people that get REALLY angry because they don’t want to hear the truth about said person. Even though, in my mind, I am trying to help them and protect them from harm, surprisingly there are a significant number of people that either don’t care or don’t want to hear it and often they end up attacking me. Even if you showed them a video of that person kicking a puppy, they somehow blame me for even telling them about it and then point out my own flaws.
As much as I try to let this trait of high expectations go, I think about a world filled with scammers and liars doing that they do and no one caring enough to warn people – I can’t live in that kind of world.
My learning lesson in all this is still about letting go. As of today, it seems that I am unwilling to let go of warning others of liars, scammers and abusers. However, what I can let go of is people’s reaction. If they get mad and attack me, I can simply let that person’s reaction go. Their reaction is really none of my business and just a reflection of who they are and their life experiences. I can only take responsibility for even saying something in the first place, but their response is not my responsibility. For today, I won’t let that part of me go. Maybe in a day, a week, or a year, that may change, but for right now I will work on letting peoples reaction go. I can’t force anyone to see the world my way, nor do I want to. I just wish sometimes I didn’t have this big stupid heart that cares about others well-being, and didn’t have this strong disdain for the fake and the cruel. Now it Karma was just instant I wouldn’t have this problem.