Loyalty is high on my values list. I consider myself a loyal person. I wear that definition with pride. When asked who and what I am…..loyal is always a word I use as a descriptor. I am friends still with my very 1st best friend and many others from my childhood days…..married 21 years……I show up when I say I will for milestones in the lives of others because being loyal is a verb. It requires action, not just words.
As the year winds down and the calendar points us to a reflective and planful place it’s natural to consider the relationships in your life and make some decisions around with whom and how you enter the New Year. So while thinking of this for my own self I had to revisit the definition of loyalty.
1. giving or showing firm and constant support or
allegiance to a person or institution.
1. the quality of being loyal to someone or something
After pondering over this definition and careful consideration of how many times this quality and value has served me, I have to be honest with myself on how many times it has done me in as well. See, there is something missing from the definition…….
Loyalty has an expiration date. Like anything else that spoils…..
If left out for too long it will and should go bad.
Yep, I said it. And it is tough to face. If you are like me and value tradition, and things being done because they “are the right thing to do” it may be tough for you as well. The cloak of loyalty you’ve been wearing could be toxic to your mental health.
Not one to give up easily I am not hanging up my loyalty coat of arms. Oh no. In preparation for the New Year I am washing it out with the added definition in the rinse cycle.
For years I have shrugged off the comments: You've changed. Go ‘head with your bougie self.
All things said in jest, but with just enough salt to sting a wound. And then there are the actions…..can’t keep their word. No calls unless in need of something. No response to good things in your life but full action when bad things are going on elsewhere. Finding yourself in places and mental spaces that you would not be in…ever….except for loyalty.
But how do you shake off a relationship that your very being tells you to be loyal to? Family strings? Time invested? Something you’ve always done….well….because you are loyal?
And I don’t mean one bad moment, or crazy night….I mean a habitual interaction….you know, the one where you can predict how it’s going to go even when your heart is hopeful it will be like before……waaaay before…..
I don’t write this thinking I have the answer. In fact, I know I don’t. But I am suggesting that if any of this rings true for you, take a minute to digest the idea that the unfettered loyalty freely given to some, the loyalty you are so proud to share, may in fact be expired. What was good for you once, is toxic, and doing you harm. Perhaps you cannot give it up completely, but examine it, and know exactly what it is. Your energy, love and loyalty should be a treasured gift that is exchanged back and forth often in your relationships. If it’s not, you may have to check the expiration date on that relationship. Why are you allowing that to happen? Is it any good for you? Giving yourself permission to redirect your energy will allow you to be even more present in the relationships that are good for you.....sustaining, and helping you grow.
The only loyalty that should never expire is that which you give yourself. Real talk!