I was posed a question yesterday that has intrigued me ever since I heard it uttered: What is loyalty? And the follow-up question: How does one measure loyalty?
The word loyalty basically means a strong feeling of support or allegiance, as per the Google definition that pops up when you search the word. That really doesn’t carry as much weight as the word itself. You can support or have allegiance to anyone you love or care about. But when the word itself rears its ugly head, it takes on a whole new meaning and can warp the way one is looked at or treated.
“What do you mean you talk to that person? You are not loyal to me.”
“Why did you go to that bar? You have to be loyal and not be around those people.”
“Where were you last night? Your loyalty is in question.”
Now, wait a second. So you are saying that by talking to one person or being around a group of people or going somewhere without someone’s consent or prior permission that you can not be loyal? So I don’t support you if I also support someone else? That doesn’t seem to make too much sense when it is worded with the proper definition. It calls someone’s personality and heart into question and I don’t like that very much.
It is almost like a grade school concept. If you are friends with her, you aren’t friends with me. Doesn’t that sound silly? If you go and spend your money there and also spend it here, you are not loyal to me. Am I making sense or do I sound like a crazy person?
I like to think that I am loyal to all the people in my life that truly deserve it, whether they do or do not know each other, or get along, or even work together. If I speak the truth about something that is happening, which is within my moral compass, does that suddenly make me disloyal? Does that somehow strip away part of my morality? It certainly should not.
And measuring loyalty. Does someone have MORE loyalty to one person than to another? If I am friends with two people who do not get along and one person tells me I am not loyal enough to them because I am loyal to the other person, is that really true? As I type this, the word further confuses me.
If my mother does not approve of one of my friends, does that make me more loyal to my friend than my mother? Really, people, think about that for a minute. My mother has disapproved of many a friend in my lifetime but the answer is simple: the loyalty to my mother does not lessen because I choose to be loyal to a friend. There really isn’t a weight to be placed on either end. I am a good person who loves my mother and loves my friends. That is the long and the short of it.
I think the most important thing about loyalty is that you HAVE it. You treat those you are loyal to with the support, love and respect that they deserve. That is what you are measured by. How you love and support not who. People who are disloyal are usually disloyal all around to everyone in their life. It isn’t about the trees in this situation, it’s about the forest.
Be a good person and be loyal to those you love. And if those you are loyal to can’t understand why you are loyal to someone else then they don’t support you very much, do they?
See what I did there?