How Loyal Is Too Loyal? Sometimes, You Have To Put Yourself First

Honesty, loyalty, friendship, and wealth are all basic human instincts and desires. Each is individually viable, however when the elements become synergistic they increasingly amount to greed and avarice.

This shows that the human appetite for success and happiness can most certainly be viewed as a gift and a curse with its lush desires.

After all, the drive for success and appetency to achieve can propel a person to accomplish unimaginable accolades and skills.

Conversely, however, this drive can have a negative impact on a person who uses people to get ahead, causing an array of destruction, and worse on, bringing others tumbling down the rabbit hole right along with them. So, how loyal is too loyal?


Merriam-Webster defines this concept as a feeling of strong support for someone or something. Most of us can at least relate to the someone aspect of this definition. We look for loyalty everywhere, at work, in our families, in our friends, even from our pets.

We even often use it as a measure of these relationships and hold the most loyal people to the highest esteem. However, is there a standard unit that we can use to assess this measurement?

Does loyalty mean that your co-worker clocked you in at work before you arrived so that you wouldn't be written up for tardiness? Does it mean that your family member came to bond you of jail for your latest DUI?

Maybe it means that your best friend squealed on your boyfriend when he tried to make a pass at her? Or that your dog attacked the burglar that broke in to your home and potentially saved your life? All of these instances can be considered 'loyalty' per se, so the question that remains is; “how in debt are we to repay these loyal acts?”


We all know that a person can love someone without necessarily being loyal to him or her. If you don't think this is true, let me explain it to you. Love and loyalty differ.

Consider a man who cheats on his wife, but never wants her to discover it. It is evident that he loves her and his family, however he simply cannot remain faithful and loyal.

How about a friend whom you've grown up with and who later befriends someone that you don't particularly care for. Your friend loves you obviously, but is it loyal to be cronies with someone you hate? In my opinion, it's the most difficult position in the world to love someone, and not trust him or her.

The intensity magnifies the closer that person is to you. Consider a mother who neglects her child, perhaps. The child blindly continues to love the mother, but at some point of cognition, no longer trusts her. Sadly, in most cases, the child grasps the hope that the mother will one day remedy all of the pain.


Now that we've drawn our own conclusions about the variations between loyalty and love, we can face the real issue here. Where do we draw the lines with our loved ones?

There are some who would argue that there are no lines to draw, and these people have my downright applause. If you would sacrifice your life for another, in spite of all indiscretions that they may have caused you, consider yourself a sacrificial lamb.

Most of us do not live in that completely selfless realm however, and I will be the first to admit. I watched "The Counselor” last weekend and Brad Pitt spoke some of the truest words I have ever heard.

He stated: "If you're looking for a friend that would die for you, you have no friends."

I was immensely shocked by the brutal honesty of the sentence. There are not many people in this world that would risk their lives for you, and the sooner you discover that, the better.

I personally measure my loyalty to someone based on the reciprocity I will receive. Again, the lambs would argue that you are to remain loyal to someone in spite of their afflictions to you. Though this sounds good, I refuse to keep delving in to crazyland with you.

I don't know if any of you have watched the show, The First 48, but it's overwhelmingly entertaining to me to see what criminals tell on one another when faced with jail time.

Regardless of the circumstances, most of the detainees give up the information with little effort from the police. It's a game of survival.

Ask yourself this, “How loyal are you?” Would you assume the blame for a crime that someone else committed to protect your loyalty? Would you decline a promotion because you knew that your favorite co-worker really wanted it?

How about give away all of your money to save your friend's home that was in foreclosure? Would you pull a John Q for a surgery you couldn't afford on the dog that saved your life?

All of these questions are based on subjective opinions. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of loyalty, you should always consider the consequences of your actions and depict how they would influence your own life. It's also possible that your loyal acts won't even change their circumstances.

Consequently, your loyalty has become your slavery. So, how loyal are you? Only you can decipher the answer, but I can tell you that I personally am loyal enough to those deemed deserving, and not a fool to those that aren't.

Top Photo Credit: Banksy