There is a special place in my heart for the ones who were with me at my lowest and still loved me when I wasn’t very lovable.
Obviously the words ‘love’, ’loyalty’ and ‘the right thing’ conjure up a million different thoughts and feelings which are subjective to each of us. And since subjectivity is key, this is written only from my perspective, through my eyes, my experiences and I am sharing my own lessons and conclusions.
I must start by saying that I think when you find the perfect balance of all of these things in one person then, dear God above, hold onto them with both hands and never let them go. This person will not always agree with you, but they will always tell you the truth, in a way that is kind and gentle because they care about you and want to keep you in their lives. You can count on them being true to themselves and they expect nothing less than the truth from you too. You will grow a relationship where there is space for both of you to thrive and no one person is drowned out by the self righteousness of the other. They are loyal to themselves and to you, while both loving themselves and loving you at the same time, equally.
They leave room for disagreements, arguments, differing perspectives and opinions while managing to hold on to the love and respect they have for you over and above everything else. This is loyalty. This is ‘the right thing’ … it’s something I try so hard to strive for in all my relationships, and this is what keeps my circle small, but real, beautiful, bountiful, fruitful and amazing! These people are my tribe, these people are my people, these people have my heart, my love and my loyalty …
This is the real deal, this surpasses space, time and distance and no matter where you are in your life or in the world your people will find a way to touch base, make contact, keep connected and show you they care. This is the type of love and loyalty great novels are based on. This is the type of relationship I am trying to nurture between my kids – it’s a lifetime connection that will see them through every situation in their lives. It’s the most important thing.
If you’re behaving like a royal prick your person will call you on it! And that is awesome. There is space in your relationship for you to be an asshat, have an off day or be a complete bitching baby, but also space for you to say sorry, lick your wounds and be completely confident in the fact that they haven’t judged you or stopped loving you. They consider love and loyalty TO BE ‘the right thing’ as opposed to a separate entity. Unfortunately, many relationships come a cropper because of the simple fact that people DO separate these and don’t see each of these as part of the same concept.
I have experienced my own family and friends putting ‘the right thing’ on a pedestal and following that path as a separate entity, giving up all the love and loyalty in their hearts to a huge big black gaping empty hole which you filled with ‘the right thing’ and ‘the right people’; meanwhile becoming blind to the fact that ‘the right people’ are giving you false love and false loyalty. ‘The right people’ need their egos stroked, they want you around for what you have or what you do for them instead of who you are. ‘The right people’ do not love you. If it suits them they will find more sheep, other sheep, to follow them and do to you what you have done the to the ones you ‘left behind’*
Of course you will act completely surprised when you find yourself on the outside of the lives of those you ‘love’, of those you chose to not communicate with, of those you give no space to be themselves, of those who don’t fit into the boxes you make for them, of those you choose to ‘leave behind’*.
*’Left behind’ meaning completely screwed over BTW, this is not a religious inference, although the deep spirited betrayal may feel like a religious right of passage for sure!
Sadly, so many people demand love and loyalty as if it’s their right because they are family, married into family, cousins or people you’ve known since you were little, with little or no effort on their part to treat you with respect or understanding. They don’t see you as your own whole person who, like everyone, grows, changes and evolves, but try to keep you in the small little box they keep just for you based on their lack of knowledge of who you are, how they ‘think’ you are or who you used to be.
If you are feeling prickly at about this stage of this blog then perhaps you’re someone who needs to have read this. But there is still hope … Because at the end of the day, those who possess the real deal, true love, loyalty and ‘the right thing’, will still have love in their heart for you, but they will need you to acknowledge and own your bullshit, they need to hear you say ‘I’m sorry’ (more than once or twice if necessary) and then, please, stop being an ass, so everyone can move on. It won’t be easy for them to trust you again, life is not a movie, but your actions will speak volumes. Keep on being emotionally available, supportive and present. Stop compromising yourself to impress the wrong people. Don’t expect to manage to be friend with those who have hurt anyone in your tribe, splitting your priorities like that is simply choosing one loyalty over another because you can’t be loyal to opposing sides, that’s not how it works.
For me ‘love’, ‘loyalty’ and ‘the right thing’ simply means to make space for someone in your life whom you want there, and yes, even family who’d ‘be there anyway’; then to treat them accordingly, make them a part if your tribe, let them feel like they are your people. Make the effort. Call, and not just on a birthday. Like a picture on their Facebook timeline. Send a random ‘What’s App’ message or photo just because you’re thinking of them. Comment on the beautiful artwork they have created, achievement at the office or new something or other they worked hard to get. Care.
Be loving and loyal. Do the right thing.
The tallest oak in the forest was once a little nut that held it’s ground.