Updated: May 10, 2020
Loyalty. A profound word with blurred boundaries - and quite subjective.
What does loyalty mean to you?... It's not straight forward, is it?
Looking for a clear definition I came across some well sounding terms: devotion, support, allegiance, trust, reliability and putting others first. Sound good, but how do they actually show up in our daily life?
I kept searching for something more tangible, when I found a summary that resonated instantly…
faithfulness to commitments
Today, I want to share something very close to my heart. Something, which I am convinced has made me a better person, has enabled meaningful connections and fond memories, but something that seems to be starting to inhibit my growth, limiting my breathing space: LOYALTY.
Ever had the feeling that your loyalty is not being responded to, not reciprocated, nor appreciated, a waste of your energy? Honourable, but hard work, almost restricting.
The connection of trust and commitment is so impactful that retailers have spent great efforts into the research and development of loyalty programmes – with profitable returns. Studies show that a great number of purchase decisions are influenced by loyalty/rewards programmes. Shoppers are more likely to be a returning customer and spend more money with a brand they trust.
Translating these findings into our personal lives, we are referring to trust and faithfulness. These are two fundamental human needs to feel safe and as we know, safety is the one thing our subconscious mind is always monitoring in order to try and ensure our survival.
In short: The faithfulness of commitments is built on trust that we have previously made a choice based on relevance to contribute to our long-term survival, which has then become universally valid in our subconscious mind and therefore does not need to be challenged (a.k.a. Buying the same brand of 4-health-star rated nut mix from the same aisle at the same supermarket each week).
This habit, in turn, frees up brain power enabling us to focus on other vital processes, such as foraging (for more treats), reproduction and rest. So far so good - this was the logical part.
But what happens, if we add emotions into the pool of our natural striving for control and safety? You guessed it: this post is not about your supermarket rewards card! Most of our daily choices are based on habits, driven by our biological survival instinct. Therefore, we choose what we know.
In my recent personal experience, I found one of my deepest core values challenged as part of my transformation to becoming a business owner. As a generally reflective person I had an idea that this journey not only involved changes in my work environment, but that the professional advancement goes hand in hand with increased self-awareness and personal development. Still, I felt hit by a truck when some valued friendships changed suddenly.
The question on how to deal with this issue resulted in some deep reflections about the way I view myself, the kind of person I am committed to be. In my desire to stay true to myself, I experienced it as emotionally challenging to consider and anticipate the end of long-term friendships.
I thought of myself as selfish and not living up to my core qualities as I considered following my intuition and trust the driving forces that have so far supported me on my journey of positive change. While being fully aware of the need to let go of connections that are holding me back, I took my concerns into a personal coaching session.
As I was talking my situation through, I learned the most valuable lesson about LOYALTY:
Loyalty is not hanging in there for the sake of it,
loyalty is honouring the connection.
Loyalty towards others can only be practiced when we practice loyalty towards ourselves. This insight allowed me to not only move forward but also to cherish and appreciate where I have come from. Understanding the ability of letting go of former meaningful connections as an act of self-care, allowed me to embrace life changes as part of a greater entity. 'Self-loyalty' or 'loyalty to oneself' can be described as valuing yourself enough to prioritise your own energy in order to strive for your ambitions. Hence, self-loyalty is crucial for us to progress towards what we are personally longing for, while giving ourselves the space to value the people and experiences we were fortunate enough to encounter on the way. While being grateful for their significance as part of our development into the person we are today.
Based on this reflection, I was not only able to wish people well moving on with my life, but foremost, to respect myself in that decision. Enabling myself to proceed full steam ahead towards reaching my goals!
Being faithful to our commitments goes beyond maintaining a habit. It includes embracing our decisions as part of our true nature, fully, with heart and soul. Making mistakes and reviewing our choices is an essential part of the journey.
Be brave to love yourself first!
Then, wish others well on their path while staying true to yourself.
Let go of what is not supporting you in order to pursue your dreams and achieve your goals.
How to say goodbye gracefully.
My tip: Set some time aside for a mindfulness practice and spend an hour in an
undisturbed setting to remind yourself of all positive memories and qualities you
have been fortunate enough to experience with that person. Then wish them well on their path, visualising the parting of ways and how you are both on the track that is uniquely right for you, individually.
How are you dealing with letting go and what technique do you find most helpful?
Reply below in the comments!