It is an imperfect synonym to the word “allegiance”. I know every person on this planet, is loyal to someone or something. It is imprinted in our DNA. We are evolutionary wired to show allegiance to our kin and our environment’s rules and customs. We are born with that need. The social structure of any population pushes us to believe in someone, in something. There are no exceptions.
We, collectively, pledge allegiance to a cause, a custom, a person, an institution, a religion, a region, an ethnic group, a country and so much more. We do not necessarily say it out loud. We usually pledge allegiance subconsciously. Our actions always betray us because they speak volumes. We stand by certain people and ideas. We defend them. We do not let them get disparaged or insulted in public or in our presence. We fight to defend their honor. We stand by our friends and family, our partner, local sports team, religion, country, social group, school, employer, etc. That is what we do. We carry that loyalty gene.
Oddly enough, most loyalties start out naturally and are rarely questioned. Who has ever questioned why they are loyal to their sibling, parent, partner, local sports team, religion, country? We subconsciously do not question anything when it comes to core values. The more we see a value as inherent or natural, the less we question it. To put it plainly, we are just loyal. Voila.
Loyalty is an immensely sought out quality. We are wary of people with shifting alliances and allegiances. We don’t trust them. We believe they could betray us, and no one likes that feeling. I hear often people describing others as loyal and it makes me smile, because it pleases me to see that people still believe in loyalty.
Nowadays, in an ever-changing world, we emigrate, we change jobs constantly, we settle in new countries, adopt new customs and ways of thinking. Moreover, we have more choices than ever in any conceivable topic. I even see fights between android and apple users! People fight over something they didn’t even invent, let alone own, out of alleged loyalty. Those are called first world problems anyway. Let’s just say that in a constantly evolving world, sticking by one or a few things, can be interpreted as a sign of loyalty. Perhaps, the word loyalty itself and what it represents, are heavily misunderstood. Perhaps, the word has been thrown out so much that its meaning has been diluted. Loyalty is about allegiance, yet, it comes with something people forget: loyalty is often tested and the worst personality trait is blind loyalty.
As I said before, loyalty is tested, often. People will let you down. They will betray you and some loyalties will be broken, strengthened or, simply abandoned. I don’t comprehend how people can stay loyal to the catholic church after all the scandals, for example. I do not understand how people can still be loyal to corporations that intentionally hid their shortcomings for profit and killed people (see Boeing in the past 2 years). In both cases, loyalties are tested. Can they withstand the stress? Or are people going to jump ship and stop being loyal to both entities?
If they stay loyal, despite the massive evidence that people hurt others and tried to cover it up, then it means those same people are being loyal unquestioningly and uncritically. No matter what a person or an institution would do, certain people will stay loyal to that institution. That is called blind loyalty and it is a state of mind that is one step away from worshipping someone or something. Blind loyalty means you don’t question things, you ignore facts or new facts presented to you. I find that to be a horrible personality trait and I wouldn’t want to follow or be friends with someone who is incapable of questioning another human being’s behaviour or any institution’s behavior or an ideal that has led people down the wrong path.
Imagine a situation where reason and objective thinking are suspended in order to remain loyal to someone who committed a deeply hurtful act with the intent to wound. If you are blindly loyal to someone or something, then you have lost the meaning of loyalty. In the end, blind loyalty isn’t loyalty; it’s just fanaticism and lunacy, a combination that is more deadly than cancer.
I pledge allegiance to a few people and a few ideals I consider noble and worthy. I choose them, they don’t choose me. My loyalty isn’t automatic. It must be earned. As broke as I might be, my loyalty isn’t for sale and it cannot be exchanged for something else! I either believe in you or I don’t. I either believe in a cause, or I don’t. I like to keep things simple. If you give your loyalty easily, anyone could end up getting it and the more you open yourself to people abusing your loyalty.
I believe earning my loyalty is quite simple: actions and just be yourself. Words can go a long way but actions are definitely better and concrete. I like palpable things; I am not much into the abstract. The only way to prove anything is with actions and by being yourself! Besides, no one owes you their loyalty. You might think they do, but they really don’t. Nothing is automatic in this world despite what we would like to believe. I understand thinking and expecting loyalty from your family and friends, yet sometimes, unfortunately it isn’t there. It is usually the exception, not the rule with family loyalty. I would argue the moment you think you are entitled to loyalty; you have already decreased its value significantly.
I would say not everyone, or everything deserve your loyalty. Furthermore, if you have high standards when it comes to giving your loyalty, expect the same treatment from others. You must earn people’s loyalty as much as they must earn yours. Loyalty is the rarest of commodities and should be treated as such!
Please make sure you are loyal to something or someone you truly believe in. Do not be afraid to stop being loyal to those who do not deserve it. Some loyalties are hard to break and might even be unbreakable, as hard as it might sound. Please keep in mind that if you are loyal to someone or something, your loyalty will be tested, in due time. It comes with the territory.
Yet, being loyal to someone or something that is worth it…No better feeling exists.
Loyalty is a rare commodity. Treat it as such.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day.