It is so interesting how distance can give you the best perspective. It is the difference in the perspective
you have being right up on something, right in the middle of it and the perspective you have when you are days, weeks, months, years, and miles away from it. This can be true of the stressful job, the day to day challenges at a time in life, relationships, environments, even your country (as I am learning being abroad), so on and so forth. At a job I had once I was in a leadership position and there was a therapist who wanted to quit. I hated it because she was there well before me and I knew how much she meant to the practice, but she was ready to move on to something else. She said to me as she gave me her initial verbal resignation, “Jessica, my loyalty to this agency is keeping me stagnant.” It has been years and I have never forgotten that. It was such an insightful realization for her. I started to think about the areas of my life where loyalty has stifled my growth. It has definitely shown up in jobs, friendships, relationships, even my habits.
Since I have been abroad and alone here (much needed) I have had the chance to evaluate things differently. I’ve learned that if I really want to know something I have to remove myself to give myself a chance to have a different perspective. In the words of my friend Ashley, “I have to change up the energy.” I have had time to evaluate what serves me and what doesn’t. I have had the chance to evaluate which relationships serve me mentally, emotionally, and energetically and which ones make me feel uncomfortable, anxious, and drained. I have also had the time to evaluate my home environment and my work habits. I realize I have been loyal to some people and things just for the sake of the number of years I have known them and loyalty. I realize that at some point in my life people and things served a greater purpose simply because of where I was in my life at that time. As I have grown, shifted, done my own work, actively participated in therapy, learned what is important to me and what serves me, learned what grinds my gears and what drains me, I understand better where loyalty has kept me stagnant. I get to choose to continue to engage the way I have been or let it go in the name of growth, positive change, and forward movement. When I started talking about certain people and things in my therapy sessions my therapist told me that as I changed my views and feelings about people and things will change too. That is normal. It is growth and change. We get to decide if we are going to continue to stick with the things that are not in alignment with who we are anymore, or let those things go and cling more to those things that we are in alignment with to continue to grow and be great. I’m definitely choosing the latter. It takes courage indeed. Detaching from some things and people that have meant so much to me has proven to be extremely difficult and brings about feelings of grief and sadness that must be acknowledged and attended to in a very gentle way. All of that to say, choosing yourself, something new or different certainly isn’t always easy by any means.
giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. "loyal service"
The thing about loyalty with many is that it implies that you stick with someone through everything and anything even if it impacts you negatively directly or indirectly. Stick with those who stuck with you even if it hurts you. That's what “loyal” people do. That concept of loyalty in this way is actually VERY toxic. To remain loyal to someone who impacts you negatively is you choosing to engage with someone who is harming you whether it be mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically etc. Think about it, staying loyal to a job that makes you feel like you are not valued, disposable, and not part of a team does what to your mental health? A person at a job like this probably hates their job. The same goes for a friendship, romantic relationship, family relationship. You feel a way if a person is doing anything that adds positively to your life. When it comes to loyalty to people it can get really interesting because we have glorified loyalty. We are quick to say we are standing ten toes down with someone. But that only works in a healthy way when there is reciprocity of energy. It's easy to be loyal to a person you are in alignment with because there is a reciprocal transference of energy. Loyalty is healthy when all parties are contributing positively and healthily. We get to choose how we engage.
Be loyal but never let your loyalty make a fool out of you. Know when to let go.
Is loyalty keeping you stagnant? If so I hope you figure out what it is to choose forward movement. If you choose movement beware of the gaslight and guilt treatment. Those are the two most impactful tools used by those who don’t want to lose your loyalty and boy are they powerful. Because the last thing we want is someone to feel abandoned by us or upset with us for choosing ourselves we often give in. The "You think you're too good" or "You changed" and my favorite "I guess were were never real friends anyway" will get you. Those words will have you in your feelings feeling like you did something wrong. It also relieves them from all accountability or responsibility. But the truth is we get to choose ourselves every.single.time. We aren’t responsible for anyone else’s feelings but our own. So you may have to give them Summer Walker and Ari Lennox deuce (Unloyal)…
“I guess I’m unloyal, baby, We’ll call it what you want. I guess I’m untrue , Guess I’m unloyal baby, Oh so call me what you want.”
Meanwhile you are moving forward, growing, taking care of yourself, releasing the things that don't serve you, eating your fruits and veggies, drinking your water, being the best you, and welcoming all of the experiences and relationships that deserve your loyalty and are in alignment with your best self and your greater good. You only have one life, I hope you choose movement and growth. Salute!