Within a span of thirty six hours, by two different people in two different contexts, I was told I was loyal.
Neither was saying it to laud the more dignified facets of my character.
Both were comments filled with empathy, and just a squinch (real word) of sarcasm. Apparently, from their unpacking of the previous judgement, I am loyal to a point at which it is adverse for my personal well being. I have lapped the point of diminishing returns in some relationships, and have flown headlong into throwing time and energy into people in a way akin to Tom Hanks and Shelly Moore did their house in the movie “The Money Pit”.
I wasn’t sure how to absorb these critiques. On occasion I’ve been accused of being a little aloof towards people. I’ve been called out for having the male version of BRF (Here’s a primer for those who aren’t familiar).
I’ve had performance reviews that have said I was too abrasive, and that I needed to learn how to be right more “kindly”. I’ve been tagged as cynical, pessimistic, melancholy, and angry. Some of all of this is fair. I’ve been working on it since I was seventeen. I wage an internal battle with depression almost daily.
But enough about me. Just kidding. This post is all about me. I don’t even feel bad about it.
I digress. Thusly, when I have two trusted people in my life tell my I am too loyal, cognitive dissonance creeps in. Being loyal requires that I put trust somewhere, and in this case, it’s put in people. Being too loyal means that I have had to remove at least some cynicism, or distrust, or anger from my worldview in order to stick my neck out for others. Thats the kind of thing that love does, or so I’ve heard.
Does my loyalty make me a sucker? Do I set myself up for perpetual failure when I continue to stick to the people I’ve chosen to be in my circle? Is the loyalty I practice reciprocal? These are the questions I found myself asking, and not finding any comforting answers to.
Maybe this fault(?) is what makes it possible to be a pastor, or a person attempting to be empathetic in what seems to be a growing sea of anonymity and isolation. I don’t know. I’m just throwing all of this out there.
Who are you loyal to? What are your boundaries? This is a learning space for me, so I’m happy to hear your thoughts.
2 thoughts on “Sucker?”
That is some heavy stuff, man.
What’s going to cause a loyalty to form is some alignment of core between oneself and the object of loyalty. In the case of a person, that will be about the beliefs, causes, pursuits, understanding, and struggles that form the basis for their actions. This core has struck a resonant chord in you which enables you to ‘give or show firm, complete, and constant support of someone or something’. You find yourself able to stand with this person when you note that, regardless of short term struggles and incoming flak, the core is not faltering.
With trusted people calling you ‘loyal’ (with emphasis added), there is something to be looked at in two different places. How is the core holding up in those ‘trusted’ people and how is the core holding up in their target they are admonishing you about? One the one hand, those you trust (maybe advisors) have your loyalty, don’t they? But what you need to become aware of is; Is there a shift happening to their core? As to the person or thing where your loyalty is felt, perhaps misplaced, the same question applies; Is there a shift going on?
If struggles exist around a person or thing you are loyal to, you yourself can take hits because you take up that fight. The hits come from the outside view ‘by association’, in regards to others’ estimation of you, and sometimes as materially as whom or what you are being loyal to. It sounds like you know this bit.
Is the core steadfast or improving, or is it crumbling? That understanding leads to the next bit you have to then apply, and that is love.
The love you hold for person or thing bolsters your loyalty when the SCUDs are inbound; if recognized, give strength to them to hold true and keep going to put the struggle behind. The love you have for those that are trusted gives you patience towards them when they believe they know the right of it, and don’t, but do not yet see it. The love held will also bolster you when, identifying the cores are diverging and yours holds true, you have to make the hard choice.
Loyalty by definition leaves you open. To be ‘firm, complete, and constant’ leaves no room for ‘sometimes’. I don’t think there is any ‘too loyal’. You either are or you aren’t. So you are definitely hanging out there to be battered and embarrassed if one you are loyal to lets you down, that’s where all this other comes in. Is it worth it to suffer for someone else or something, or is it time to cut loose?
Well, that’s my bit anyway.
Yea, I’ve got RAF myself,
I’ve been told I look crabby, and I’ve been asked, “What are you smiling about?”
I’m like, ‘What? I’m just standing here!”