The Problem With Loyalty: A ReLearning

I'm a big fan of reading those articles that claim to tell you what kind of mate you are by your zodiac sign. I'm an even bigger fan of people reposting it with "so truuueee". Because, same. Lately; however, I've noticed a trend: every zodiac sign seems to be "the most loyal of the zodiac" and how Sway? Being the most of anything means that something or someone is not the most. Making it literally impossible that every sign is "the most" anything. But these are just semantics. All of this talk of loyalty has got me thinking: is it ever ok to be disloyal? 

The way loyalty is often described is in that ride or die type of way. Everyone walking around with their broken hearts in their hands going: "but I was loyal to our friendship/romantic relationship/business partnership, how could you?!". And far too often, loyalty to others means coming up short to yourself. We see it in sports: a player leaves a team in search of a trophy (come on, you knew it was coming!) and we all go, "how dare he put his desire to be a champion over loyalty to his billionaire sports team owner...HOW DARE HE?!". A woman leaves her man when he's sentenced to time in prison: "how dare her not want to spend her nights alone and cold while he's in prison for doing something illegal...HOW DARE SHE?!". We even see it in friendships: "how dare she not put up with my mess year after year while I fail to show up for her in the smallest ways when we're friends...HOW DARE SHE?!". At the crux of all of these examples is that a person, in order to have the chief trait of loyalty, should deny themselves of whatever will make them happy. We brava our grandmothers for denying themselves love, respect and their dreams to stick by our grandfather's side "in the good times and the bad" and wonder why you can't find a photo of her smiling. The oldest guy at your company who's been looked over for a promotion for the last 20 years gets a cake, some questionably home-cooked foods and a card signed by all of the employees who are half his age and making more than him with less experience and the badge of "our most loyal employee" at the end of his tenure. 

Why are we still pretending that loyalty is anything other than a ploy to keep "good" people taking up the slack for those who see the profit in putting themselves first? If you're in a one-way relationship of any kind---you aren't a golden child for sticking around to be mistreated more---you're willingly selling yourself short and branding it something self-righteous doesn't make it any less asinine. Standing by a man (or woman) who doesn't recognize your worth and act accordingly doesn't mean you are a helpless victim, it means you're compliant in your own pain---what are you going to do about it? I cringe at all the ways in which we rename bad decisions and then wear them like cloaks of comfort telling ourselves that we're just doing what is right. What is right about allowing people access to the best parts of you while getting nothing in return? What is right about being part of dysfunction and learning to see it as normal? What is right about wanting more for yourself but not going after it because it may mean that someone else is uncomfortable? Maybe the universe gives out karmic brownies for suffering and your access to the land overflowing with milk and honey will be easily granted the more you withhold goodness from yourself. Maybe. But it's more likely that you've convinced yourself that your loyalty to others outweighs your responsibility to yourself because it's easier to stay stuck than to live free.

Leave him/her/that/them right where they are and run fearlessly after the life/love/career you want---and if that means you're not the most loyal sign in the zodiac? So what. 

Tell me who you loyal to?

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Iman Milner3 Comments